Faith in Action

In January of this year I attended the 25th United Methodist Women’s Legislative Event in Austin, Texas. It was not my first time attending this event but it was the first time actually seeing a small portion of what it takes to coordinate such an event. It was the first time I received an overwhelming feeling of the importance and true meaning of Social Action in the church. The collaboration, partnership and teamwork between the UMW, the Texas Impact staff and other ministry partners and sponsors in and for a faith based environment epitomized faith in action.

As stated on the UMW website John Wesley often preached about works of piety and mercy as inseparable. Charity is a gift, but social action helps change systems that keep people oppressed and dispossessed. As United Methodist Women, we believe that these are inseparable.

This annual event is the ultimate social action project. The true definition of a social action projects go beyond volunteering. A social action project is a multi-faceted process in which individuals or groups address an issue they care about, learn about the issue, identify potential solutions to solve or eliminate the issue and then take action to create a positive change.

The more I thought about the event the more I wanted to spread the importance and value of social action, the importance of this and other similar events and programs….. especially within the church. As I pondered this I began to read and research which brought me to James 2:14-26 (MSG). The MSG translation entitles this passage “Faith in Action” and I believe places the role of Social Action in a context that those living in the world today can relate and relate to their day to day lives. In this translation the writer refers to “God-talk without God-acts as being outrageous nonsense”.

Faith is not only believing in spite of the situation but obeying in spite of the consequences or potential outcomes. In the New Testament Paul tells the Ephesians that we are saved by faith… but here James comes along and says that it’s not just faith but faith and works. This is one of the ultimate tests to separate the real Christians from the fake Christians. Both Paul and James speak of works and faith, however, they both use the word works differently and focus on a different aspect of faith. Paul tells us how to be a believer while James focuses on how to behave like a believer.

Real faith is not just something you say, feel, believe or think…… real faith is something you do. The average person will say that faith is a noun….as they are taught in school but I say to you it’s a verb…. an action word. Our faith is demonstrated by our actions and our actions are often governed by our faith.

So your saying what does this have to do with the annual UMW Legislative Event? Or Social Action in the church? The answer is simple…… everything and nothing. Participating in the annual UMW Legislative Event, any other social action project or any event within the community is but one way for us to believe in God and at the same time know that it is not enough. Faith is a commitment involving the whole person…… mind, body and soul. There is a part of us that understands the truth, another part that desires the truth and then there is that part of us that acts upon the truth. We all know that talk is cheap and there comes a time that we all must put our money where our mouth is. So as you go out and say…. “I believe in Jesus!” ……..I say to you…..prove it! Real faith always produces change…….

Darlene R. Alfred

This entry was posted on Monday, March 11th, 2013 at 4:50 am and is filed under Doers Of The Word. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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