James 2:15-17 says, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace, be you warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
Jesus understood that if the Christian community wants to have the authority to speak truth into the lives of the people around them, to give moral vision to their culture, and to ultimately shape civil justice, it must not grasp at the reins of power and prominence. Rather, we must serve. We must live lives marked by mercy. Jesus said, “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”
Biblical service is a function of mercy. The Hebrew word often used for service in the Old Testament is ‘sharath’ – meaning to minister or to treat with affection. In the New Testament the Greek word ‘diakoneo’ is often used. It literally means to care for or to offer relief. In both cases, the emphasis is on the interpersonal dimension rather than the institutional dimension.
Biblical service is far more concerned about taking care of souls than about taking care of business.
I want to honor the great people I am privileged to rub shoulders with at the Tupelo Children’s Mansion. Though we must function and thrive as a business, as God instructs, and though I am surrounded by great administration, the purpose of Tupelo Children’s Mansion is all about caring for children. The concern for their spiritual, physical, mental, social, and financial needs is met on a personal and daily basis.
Yes, James, “Faith without works is dead.” And Tupelo Children’s Mansion is alive and fulfilling true religion with those who sponsor and are taking the journey with us. God Bless my fellow workers and those who support and pray for this ministry. May 2011 bring you great blessing!