“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
(Please read James 1:27)
How religious are we, really, when measured against the description in our text? Isn’t it possible for “religious” people to be rather diligent in holding to the form of religion while avoiding involvement in the substance of it? Whether this standoffish attitude is prompted by stinginess or by genuine skepticism as to the validity of appeals for help, it is nevertheless apparent that compassion plays little if any part in a life of continual noninvolvement. And a lack of compassion suggests a lack of love. As John puts it, in 1 John 3:17, “But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (NASB).
Sometimes people are tempted to mask lack of involvement by “talking a good game,” that is, putting our mouths where our money should be. This ploy is as empty of good results as it was in New Testament times, when James was inspired to ask, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” (2:15-16).
Jesus asks for our involvement in giving – giving of our money, yes, but giving also of our time, talents and abilities. In short, he wants us to give ourselves as the Macedonians did (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). Now that is involvement.
If you’re not really involved in your religion, please ask God’s help in getting that way, starting today!