14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
After all is said and done, more is said than done. (Aesop c 550 bc)
I recently heard the Aesop line used by the University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach, Auriemma as he was being interviewed after one of the Huskies games in this relatively new season. He’s a man who knows what he is talking about. In his 28th season as head coach, his teams have won 847 games while losing only 133. Over the years, his teams have won 8 national championships and are favored to win a 9th this year. He took over a team that had never had a winning season and, after finishing 12-15 his first year, has never had a losing season since.
As a former girls’ basketball coach myself, I have followed the Huskies since 1992, the first year that a local Massachusetts girl played at UConn. I found that to be successful, a team has to have faith in its coach and his teaching and training philosophy. But even more, each team member has to act on that faith. And, not just in game situations, but in practice and in life outside of basketball.
As Christians, we have a tendency to become complacent with our relationship with God when nothing is going wrong. We’re quick to remember to look to God when areas of our lives are spinning out of control and we don’t have any answers. But not so much in the everyday things when things are going okay.
I like the examples in James’ epistle. If we know about someone’s need and just talk about it (or even pray about it), but do nothing, our faith is useless. God wants our faith to be strong enough to do something about the needs that we see. Belief by itself isn’t true belief. Even demons believe there is one God and they shudder because of it. True belief requires a response. Think of Abraham’s action in being willing to sacrifice his long-awaited son. This action was credited to him as righteousness. Rahab was a prostitute, yet was considered righteous when she gave lodging and help to the spies of God’s chosen people.
So, to finish up with the sports theme, when you see a need, definitely pray, talk about it if you must, but then just do it. By exercising your faith, a need will be met and you will become stronger yourself.