CREDOS: Beyond words — I

The Bible’s book of James presents an interesting challenge: “Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, ‘Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ!

Be filled with the Holy Spirit!’ and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup — where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” (James 2:14-17, The Message).

Nancy is a Christian who knew this Bible passage. She even went to a Christian college. She remembers a campus joke she and her friends had about the verse. “We know-it-all students used the verse to tease other students who came into our dorm hall and asked for help. ‘Anybody wanna give me a ride to work?’ ‘No, but be warmed, be filled, go in peace.’ ‘Can someone lend me some money?’ ‘No, but be warmed, be filled.’

We seemed to delight in showing our friends that we could quote the Bible, but we weren’t all that interested in lifting a finger to help them.”

Then Nancy had an experience that reminded her vividly of James’s illustration. It started as a simple prayer request. Nancy is on a prayer team at her church. This team prays for all of

the requests written down on little white cards her church uses to track addresses, visitor information, and congregational prayer requests. The requests get divided up among the staff and others. —