June 29, 2021
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 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?” (James 2:16, NIV).
Doctors are really good diagnosticians, but not always at home. My wife is an incredible home manager and a servant to many people she loves, including outsiders in trouble. Last week she drove 400 miles to help my son and his wife pack up to move, then she returned with their 12-year-old dog, Slate. When they reached home, the dog developed severe polyuria and polydipsia—leading to incontinence, mopping and Lysol. Yesterday I came into the kitchen to find her crying. I diagnosed her tears as emotional strain caused by a woman she was helping in prison ministry, now multiplied by the huge work of caring for my son’s sick dog. I diagnosed, “I’m so sorry you are having to deal with Slate on top of everything else.” Wrong; she wasn’t crying for herself but for the dog’s suffering. I said, “It doesn’t help to cry.” For which I got the look. I then recovered, “It’s good that you love the dog enough to cry for him. Let’s do something about it.” We spent the rest of the day ordering a portable outdoor fence, tracking down a doghouse, picking up doggie diapers and setting up a vet visit for Monday. At the end of the day, my servant wife was tired, but her floors were dry, and her tears were gone.
First comes the heart. The heart is most important, for all action flows from it, both good and bad. There is no action of any value without the heart, and there is no action of eternal value unless the heart has been transformed by Jesus. We know this as Christians.
But this follows: concerns that cling to the heart without moving forward into action rarely stop the tears. Action must follow concerns, or the concerns are futile. When our heart drives us to our knees, we should always ask the One to whom we plea, “Now, where should my feet move as you answer my prayer?”
Is your heart breaking for a neighbor who does not know Christ? What prayer have you raised for opportunities to introduce her to Him? What dinner have you served to open up the conversation?
Is there a missionary for whom you pray but do not support with funding?
Do you care for the hungry in your city? At which soup kitchen do you serve?
Do you grieve for immigrant children on our side of the border? What action are you taking to help find them a home?
Is your friend’s husband dying and you weep for her but have not carried her a meal, or sat and prayed with her?
There would have been no doggie diapers without my wife’s heart for Slate, and our floors would still be wet had her tears not driven us to the pet store.
What specific heart-felt need has not moved your feet to action?
What action should your heart compel you toward this week?
Let me not pray without following Your will with action.