“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” James 2:14
This morning I woke up with lots of thoughts swimming through my head about the situation we are experiencing with the missionary family who moved into our apartment in August. As we came into an agreement with them about their stay, it was agreed that our place would be a “stopping off point” for them to wait on God's next assignment. Unfortunately these past few months with this family has not been as blessed as we had hoped it to be, and actually it has been difficult to deal with this family who have given us very mixed signals about their true faithfulness to God. From what we have been able to observe of them during their stay, they have not seemed to be fruitful for God's kingdom at all. Now, here is the point that I wrestle with my thoughts because I know there are times in each of our lives that God grows us from within because the fruit He is producing is not apparent on the outside, and I would hate to condemn the works which God is doing in the lives of believers if this is a time for this family to re-group and re-charge for their next calling. But, at the same time I also struggle with the fact that I see no effort from them that they are working physically towards any options other than those that would satisfy where they would like to see their lives go – especially the husband who has chosen his hobby as the family's only means of income instead of looking for any work to support the needs of his family.
“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8
And, although I do think it is an admirable life that prays and waits on God to provide for all ones needs as this family is doing in seeking God about the next place for them to stay on their journey with Him, I also think that just hanging out and trusting while being inactive is not what God means when He asks us to be faithful. What makes these thoughts of mine all the more difficult to come to grips with is the fact that while this missionary family has been pietious in their praying and waiting on the Lord, our family has not only been gracious to their presence on our farm, but we have also been doing all of the things that God has set before us each day and working tirelessly in keeping up with the them (working on our hobby farm, campaigning per God's call in my life, harvesting and winterizing, missing out on family time as my husband was working long hours on a work project, being diligent home schooling parents for our children, blogging daily, and ministering to the needs of others in our sphere of influence as God has shown us their material and spiritual needs...all while we watch this family camp out in our apartment just barely doing enough work to cover the utilities we have asked them to cover.
Unfortunately these are the circumstances that I have been wrestling with God about. And as always, God, in His faithfulness, used scriptures this morning to speak to my churning thoughts and emotions from these circumstances as to shine His perfect light, the light I had been searching for in trying to find peace and wisdom as our time with this family continues and we prayerfully petition Him to redeem what He desires to redeem and to rebuke what He desires to rebuke to bring Him glory above all that we can say and do.
“But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
Each one of us needs to live a life that does not leave room for idleness, we need to continue to minister even in the quiet times of our lives and continue to reach out and be living and breathing examples of Jesus to the world whatever community we have been put into in order to show God's faithfulness through a living and breathing humble and steadfast spirit – one that acts in that manner and does not just talk about it. God is not a vending machine who dispenses things into our waiting laps, yes at times He does surprise us in providing for our means when we have done nothing to move ourselves towards that end, but in the process of waiting we are called to keep searching and looking for where He would have us go and what He would have us do in the in between times. Faith requires works and if there are no works to be shown as light and life that blesses our fellow man and witnesses for Jesus our Lord and Savior, then what we call faith is not faith at all but only a universal belief that even the demons are aware of, and that is God wills and what He wills happens.
“But someone will say, 'You have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?...For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:14-19, 26
To have faith means to step out with that belief, knowing that your steps in this world will not land in the wrong place if you are seeking and placing one foot into the darkness at a time and trusting in God beyond what you have set in your own heart or mind as the will He has for you into the future and the manner in which you have the capability to keep going forward to be a witness of His strength, light, and glory.