As a Church Pastor, one of the ‘jobs’ I loved to do was ‘School Assemblies’. To have a school hall full of children enthusiastically joining in with what I had prepared for them on that given day, was so encouraging, and the kids were always their usual brilliant selves!
When I had finished the ‘assembly’, usually the Head or one of the other Teachers would lead the School in a song before they all went back to their lessons and one of the favourite songs (sung with great enthusiasm and gusto) was…….
When I needed a neighbour, were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour, were you there?
And the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter, were you there?
The rest of the verses didn’t vary much: I was hungry and thirsty. I was cold, I was naked. When I needed a shelter. When I needed a healer. All of these asking, “Were you there, were you there?” finishing with, “And the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter, were you there?
Though this may not be a song that is sung regularly in our Churches, the words are an incredible challenge.
In Acts 10:37-38 Luke says,
You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him.
Luke sees fit to draw our attention to the truth that Jesus (full of the Holy Spirit) went around doing good! Echoes of the song from my assembly resonate with the life of Jesus and what He expects of us as we follow him.
Someone once said, “People won’t care what you know until they know that you care”, and during this time of ‘lockdown’ we have seen and heard of countless acts of individuals, families, communities, and churches each day ‘doing good’ to bring help, encouragement and hope to those in need at this most challenging of times.
As James 2:17 reminds us
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless…
One of the greatest encouragements recently for me, has been the ongoing ‘donations’ to the local Foodbank from the inmates of the prison. I have been ‘bowled over’ by their acts of kindness. The guys who regularly give, will never meet those who receive what has been given, but they want to show that their faith and their actions work in unison.
When help was needed, ‘they were most certainly there’!!!!!
May we all prove our faith, not by our words or even trying to win an argument, but by showing people how much we care, by our actions.