But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. – James 2:18 (ESV)
James encouraged the church to demonstrate its faith. He shared that it had to be more than lip service. James wanted to see the church actually engaged in service. He wanted to see them doing “good works.” The church is to serve as an example of good works, especially its leadership.
Look at the activism of the likes of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Adam Clayton Powell and other clergy. Look at the martyrs of Christianity from the First Century church through today. Consider the impact of individuals like William Penn and Mother Theresa. The church has a long-standing history of showing its faith.
I am in the midst of reading Faith and Politics by former Senator John Danforth of Missouri. Danforth is also an ordained Episcopalian priest. I give Danforth credit that he never allowed his faith to dictate or dilute his service as a U.S. senator. However, Danforth admits in Faith and Politics that the line between the two can never be certain or clear. I love the quote below by Danforth as a means of understanding the fine line of faith and public service.
Most of all, faith brings recognition that our quest never leads us to certainty. We are always uncertain, always in doubt that our way is God’s way. That self-doubt makes it possible to be reconciled to one another. It is a faith that makes the reconciling work of politics possible. – John Danforth
Perhaps, if we consider the Word of God as our guide, we will recognize that true faith requires us to depend on God. We would definitely have to say so in regards to the political arena as well. Social change and public policy may not be entirely left up to the Religious Right or the Moral Majority. We have an agenda that predates any political platform or public policy. God desires us to become a faithful force that brings about social change through good works based on the Good Book.
When we fully trust God, we will lay our burdens at His feet. He wants His people living examples of what He has to offer all people. He wants the church active and engaged. We serve Him best when we serve others with the spiritual gifts that He has bestowed upon us through His Spirit.
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. – Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)