My wife and I are participating in a group study of Dr. John R.W. Stott’s “New Issues Facing Christians Today”. It’s a very challenging and, personally speaking, very convicting book. I won’t get into the meat of the study, but I wanted to share something from the book. Stott argues that many well-intentioned Christians “prattle, plan and pray” but ignore the real need. He tells of a homeless woman whom a parish priest promised to pray for as a brush-off, and who wrote the following poem:
“I was hungry and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health
I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of your God
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me
You seem so holy, so close to God – but I am still very hungry and lonely and cold
I was convicted because she could have very easily been writing that poem for me.
Matthew 25:35-36 says, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
I am reminded that as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. As the church, we are not only to hear the word, but to act on it. By “doing” we are following God’s will out of love and gratitude for our salvation.