14 My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? 15 Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. 16 What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? 17 In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.
As I read this scripture, I can’t help but think about young people. Little people, kids who hear the sounds of worship and are willing to shake their tiny tushes or raise their precious voices to the congregation without any reservation. I think of youth who see the troubles of our planet and say, “Let’s go pick up trash and then plant a garden!” I think of the honesty of children’s words that speak about life’s inequities, and how easily they do offer help. This is often without hearing the adults say, “That won’t work.”
No, this scripture is not about kids or even the nature of youth. But internally, it is about hearing God’s call and not just stopping there. Kids may be impulsive, but they are also keenly aware of acting on one’s faith. Often youth boldly react based on someone’s truth or need. Surely, there is a delicate balance between our words and our actions. But most importantly, people don’t start out letting their adult, “more mature” world curb their enthusiasm; but perhaps, we just let ourselves grow that way.
So I wish to return to the bravery of youth….
The other day, I was in another church when someone came to the back door looking for food from the food pantry. The other person I was with said that the pantry was only open on another day. Now this was in fact the church that I grew up in, and I paused for a brief moment. I knew I could have done something, but in a flash the hungry person was gone. I was left with the nagging feeling that I had just “talked the talk, but not walked the walk.” I felt that a younger, bolder me, would have reacted differently. Internally I knew my words had fallen short.
In our adult world, we know that sometimes the world stifles our enthusiasm, or maybe we let that happen. Yet, our Christian values and God’s call on our lives tell us to act differently. We are told to react on the faith of our words. May our children’s actions remind us to live boldly and may we bravely follow their lead.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
How have you needed to act on your faith in bold ways? How about when you were younger? How do you balance the needs of others with your daily life choices? Talk to someone older or younger about your different reactions to God’s call on your life.
Prayer: Creator God, today, and everyday, let me walk in your faith by “talking the talk and walking the walk!” Help me to bravely react according to my faith in you. Amen.