Be a Doer not Hearer only
The text for today is this James 1:22-27 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
James is concluding his section with what is in essence, the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as ye would have them do to you,” and “love they neighbour.” Luke also speaks to this idea in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Do not tire of doing good works, and do not fret as your bucket of good works can never run dry, for as fast as you ladle out blessings to others God is pouring in a fresh new supply right back in.
King David wrote of this interesting predicament in the Shepherds Psalm (23rd) that “my cup runneth over,” so he had personally experienced the blessing that comes back from blessing others. The big question is, How about you and I, are we paddling or swimming in the vast overflow of God’s blessing? Are we all ladling out to those about us as we walk this pilgrim road together, sharing blessings?
A very old English story goes something like this, and this edition is called “Stone Soup.” A traveller entered a town and the whole area was gripped in a lasting famine and all were suffering terribly. He called the Town Council, and got their support to feed the Town with soup. The huge caldron was brought out of storage, cleaned and set up in the town square, filled with water from the well and the fire lit. The traveller then took a smooth magic stone from his pocket and dropped it in to the hot water promising that it would make wonderful soup. After a moment or two he tasted it, declared it good, but needed a wee bit of salt, did anyone have some salt left, which was offered and some carefully added? Nice but needed a touch of something else.
Maybe a carrot or two, these were supplied from meagre supplies, and then added. So vegetable by vegetable, each person unknowingly added their unique tiny portion which had limited use on its own, but collectively it made wonderful soup. After a short time it was declared perfect and the towns folk were requested to go home, and get your bowls and spoons and we are going to feast like Kings.
The traveller ladled out more and more and the people ate and ate and were well filled, what was left was ladled out and the people took it home. Down at the bottom, the traveller secretly scooped his stone out and pocketed it, now being well fed, he happily moved on to the next village. A problem was solved by collective involvement and the soup blessing was far greater than the sum of the individual parts added. My cup runneth over.
Back to the start, are you, am I a doer and not a hearer only? We read Scripture, hear Sermons, read books, watch Christian TV, watch DVD Sermons and all these challenges us, the Spirit prompts us, but all we often do is sit and go back to sleep, or do we arouse, get up, get going, change track and respond and thus become a doer of the Christian walk and not just a sit around hearer, who is totally unaffected by the blessing pouring about them, that all could be ours, all these opportunities lost to our eternal detriment.
Scripture talks about Early and Latter Rain, and this is an agriculture terms and the people knew that failure of either was nil or miniscule crop. Bountiful rains meant a bountiful crop. Jesus gets us to see this as Holy Spirit Outpouring, early rain to get us sprouting, that is from sinner to repentance. Latter Rain is to bring a believer to a harvestable bountiful crop (Fruit of the Spirit) all ready for Heaven and Eternity.
As the Holy Spirit flows around us, James asks us to consider what we allow the Holy Spirit to do in our lives, come in and change or is this the ole “water off a ducks back,” and one travels through life unaffected by grace and spiritual growth. How sad to be in the body of Christ, but not part of Jesus Christ because one is just a hearer, but there is no effectual doing and transformation happening in the life and the beliefs of an individual. A vibrant victorious conquering Christian Life is just there for the taking, just put on the Armour of God as Paul admonishes. This is for personal protection and yet it is a means of driving back Satan, sin and hearer only behaviour.
When the word of God is received and obeyed, your light will shine forth in good works. (James 1:22-27) Let us all right now chose to be a doer of the Word of God, being Action Christians.