Lovewell: A Theology - Day 22

Day 22
James 1:27
27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

End Statement #4-Crosswalk will be a community that lives beyond herself by caring and advocating for the powerless, oppressed and abandoned.

This quote from James should probably be read by every Christian a few times each week to remember what we are called to do and be in the community. We are not just houses of worship, but we should be houses of healing, hope, and compassion as well. Without these things, we are kind of making a community for ourselves rather than being a blessings to others.

In fact, this end statement probably came from this particular text as well. The idea that religion will always be part worship but even a greater part compassion is biblically sound and should be inspiring for each of us. Everything that we do in worship should have the ultimate purpose of being a catalyst in people’s lives to reach out, to work down, and to create opportunities for sharing one’s resources with those who have less than we do.

Interestingly, I was at a conference listening to some pastors who had really leaned into this understanding deeply with their churches. For them, outreach wasn’t an add on, but the whole point. In fact, one of them had stopped their weekend services in order to do more compassion and mercy ministries in their community. However, they learned pretty quickly that without the driving force of their worship service, people were less inclined and inspired to do the work that they found so important. I found this fascinating and it has informed my philosophy of ministry ever since.

You have to have a balance of worship and compassion in the ministries that you run and serve. Without worship, there is no catalyst to do good works, but without good works, the heart of worship remains unfulfilled.

But when there is a balance between worship and compassion, everything is possible. We know that God is interested in a religion and a relationship with his people that is not just empty songs and great sounding platitudes. God is interested in the kind of religion that makes an impact in the world in powerful and important ways. This happens through people’s willingness to sacrifice and serve as much as it happens through the inspiration of word and song in our weekly worship services.

There is a last phrase in this text as well, our “refusing to let the world corrupt you.” What does that mean?

I believe that to mean many things, but first and foremost, for us in church, it means that we are not to simply do church as a consumer pursuit. We don’t simply entertain, keep people busy, and allow that to be all we do through church. Church is to be a conduit for the gospel into the world, and if it is not, we are just part of a club that has some membership dues and weird traditions. And no one wants that.

It should not be news to us that God wants us to be engaged in ministries of compassion and mercy in the world. In fact, we should be anxious when we are not serving the widow and the orphan and the greater community at large.

If you are a part of a Crosswalk church and have never served the community in one of our many outreach opportunities, I want to suggest that you do so as soon as possible. You may love the worship, but without the work of our hands in compassion and mercy, our worship remains unfulfilled.

  1. How can you serve your fellow human today? 
  2. Do you have access to outreach opportunities? 
  3. What can you do in order to help someone who has less than you today? 
  4. What do you love to do to help others? 
  5. How can you build a ministry centered around this love and passion that you have? 

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