A brief sermon on faith and works
|Many of us have prayed and asked God to do things for us. Often we expect them to happen instantly and miraculously but God doesn't necessarily work that way. He'll work a miracle if it is in His will to do so and if there is no human method of getting the job done but sometimes he expects us to step out on faith. James discusses how faith works when he says "My friends what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? Can that faith save you?Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don't have enough to eat. What good is there in saying to them, "God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!" - if you don't give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith, if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead," James 2: 14-17.
Often when we are praying for things we miss out on getting them because we expect God to simply dump them in our laps, Jesus said "I assure you that if you have faith as big as a mustard seed you could say to this hill "Go from here to there!" and it will go. You could do anything," Matthew 17: 20.
What Jesus did not say was that these things would happen if we were willing to put some effort into helping them happen. God wants us to be involved in things. If we need money to pay for an item that we want really badly then God will provide the money. However, it may be in small portions that we are expected to save. God will deposit the money but we have to write the checks!
I like the illustration I heard once. A man was caught in a flood and managed to get to a tree. He climbed up in the tree and prayed that God would save him. In a while, somebody came by in a rowboat and asked him to get in. He refused. He stated that God would save him. Next, a bass boat came by and he again refused to go with them. At last, a helicopter came by and dropped a rescue harness. Again he refused because God would save him. So he drowned. He asked God why God had not saved him and God said "I sent a rowboat, a bass boat, and a helicopter. You refused my help."
Folks God is willing to help those who are willing to help themselves. We must do things His way and within his will.