James 2:14–17 (CSB) — 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.
Galatians 5:6 (CSB) — 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.
Luke 10:25–37 (CSB) — 25 Then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the law?” he asked him. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and “your neighbor as yourself.” 28 “You’ve answered correctly,” he told him. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus took up the question and said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. 34 He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”
My beloved brothers and sisters, what would happen if the Church – with all of her buildings and massive wealth – began to serve the poor, displaced, and sick in our communities with the gifts that God had given her?
Is it right that Wal-Mart allows the homeless to sleep in their cars overnight in their parking lots because it knows they will spend money there in the morning, but many churches erect barriers to prevent people from using their parking lots? Where are our burning hearts to go out and seek those whose lives have been shattered – knowing that we might get nothing from them in return – so that we can display in tangible terms the magnificent glory of Christ’s love?
These are but a few examples of the kinds of people in our communities that need Christians with burning hearts of faith to show them Christ’s love.
How would you wish to be treated if you fell on hard economic times and became homeless? What miracle would you pray for if you made bad decisions in your life and ended up on the street?
Leviticus 19:18 (CSB) — 18 Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.
Matthew 22:35–40 (CSB) — 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”