Scripture: James 1:16-27
Key verse: (22) “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves”
Reflection: I will never forget the afternoon I visited a man named Dwight for the first time. We lived in Raleigh, and I had gotten to know Dwight’s wife, Marilyn, at church, but had never met him since he was no longer able to attend on Sundays. That afternoon, as I sat in their modest living room, I learned all about his remarkable life – his service in WWII, his love of music, his medical practice, and his service to the church, among many other things. This was the conversational pattern: I would ask Dwight a question, he would answer, and then Marilyn would fill in the details: not only had he served in WWII, but had been honored with a purple heart. He didn’t just “tinker around at the keyboard”, but was a concert pianist! And he didn’t just practice medicine – he had been recognized many times over the years for his deep compassion and his habit of quietly finding a way to treat those who couldn’t always compensate him.
Dwight was an accomplished man. But what was most remarkable to me was his humility. As Marilyn gently sung his praises, he’d “downgrade” the accolades with a shrug and say, “I have always wanted to please God in my living.” And it was clear that his desire was genuine – not a dressed up piety to pull off the shelf when the minister came calling.
When the writer of James says, “be doers of the word, and not just hearers,” it is an invitation to consider how we might please God in our living – not to earn God’s love, but to let it come alive (James 2:17). The joy of ministry is that I get to witness people “doing” the word – and not just hearing it – all week-long, and mostly in quiet ways. They deliver meals and pass cards around a room to be signed for someone who is grieving. They spend Thursday evenings rehearsing worship music for Sunday. They stoop down to speak gently to small children. They pick up bulletins for those who can’t get to church. They make copies and phone calls. They look out for visitors. They decorate. They ring bells. They visit. They pray.
Who has made God’s love come alive for you? How might you do likewise for someone else?
Prayer: Dear God, in all of my living, help me to share your love with those I meet. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].