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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Be Doers of the Word
 

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  February 5, 2016 --

In the Letter of James we read “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only”. The admonition was given originally because there were people in the early Church who felt that they were saved because they had heard the gospel preached and believed what they heard. James is warning them that they were fooling themselves if they thought their belief was enough to save them. In the sixth chapter of Luke, Jesus says “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do what I say?” In the Epistle to the Romans Paul says “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but is those who do what the law demands who will be declared righteous.”

Going back to the Letter of James, he says “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Note that we are told to _be_ doers of the word, meaning that we should go beyond the occasional good deed and should transform our very nature into someone who _is_ a doer of good deeds. We need to work at it until it becomes second nature to us. A corollary to this is that we should make it easier for others to become “doers of the word”, including especially our own children. Do you remember the Overseer’s charge in the fourth degree: “What a child sees makes the most lasting impression.” The more our children and friends observe us living our faith in doing good, the more they are impelled to imitate us.

I have a friend, Jim Bradley, who writes a blog entitled “Under the Castor Oil Tree”. In it he has written that what we “be” is much more important that what we “believe”. He says “Instead of ‘being Christian’ because of what we ‘believe’, why don’t we ‘be Christians’ by how we ‘BE’ in the world?

“Compassion, welcome, love, hope, generosity, openness, engagement, trust, healing, feeding, comforting--those are the way to ‘be’ in the world that would qualify as ‘being a Christian’.” he declared.

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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