Lenten Reflections

Go! for Lent: James 2:11-21

February 20, 2016
Sandra Squires, United Thank Offering Board President, Diocese of Nebraska

I love this passage from James which asks important questions about faith, James 2:14-16 :  “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works?  Can faith save you?  If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?”

From my mother, I inherited the gift and blessing of faith in Jesus, which gave me an important Christian foundation.  As a teen and in my youth group, Sunday School and catechism classes, we discussed the topics of faith and good works, and it was important to us to figure out where we stacked up according to James 2:17: “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”  In other words, I read this to mean we need to GO but also to DO in faith. 

As teens we talked about our interpretation of the questions raised in James:   Does faith come first, leading us to do good deeds?  What happens if I am a good person, do good works, but have no faith in Jesus?  Does doing good works inspire a person to have faith in Jesus and become a Christian? 

As an adult, I am still blessed with the gift of faith, and I am rather amazed that I engaged in actual theological struggles as a teen, and how that has formed my adult beliefs and behavior.   Now I am a part of the United Thank Offering Board, and UTO is much about the command to GO out into the world helping where we can through prayer and grants.  Our commitment is to GO, is preceded by our belief about giving with gratitude.  UTO teaches a theology of thanksgiving, so our UTO Board charge is to give in gratitude and GO through much prayer and action through our grants. 

Tagged in: Lent