Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
HEALING OF BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT – MEDICAL MISSION SUNDAY.James 5: 1 – 11
Verse 5: 11 “We call them happy because they endured. You have heard of Job’s patience, and you know how the Lord provided for him in the end. For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion.”
The letter of James is filled with practical advice about how to put our faith into action. He emphasizes that faith without action is dead. James helps believers think about how their faith is related to the way they talk, the way they spend their money, and the way they relate to the world around them.
The devotion portion under reference - i.e. James 5: 1 – 11 can be mainly divided into two parts. In the first part verses 1 – 6, the author is warning the rich oppressors to be more generous in their approach to others. Throughout this book, James has been critical of the rich, and he speaks about the misery that will come upon them. In the flash of a moment, all their accumulated wealth will vanish. He warns the rich about hoarding, exploiting, and failing to pay their employees as they should. Money and materialism and possessions are fleeting. We need to be wise and above all, be generous; for generosity inoculates us against materialism.
In the second part i.e. verses 7 -11, James turns toward the poverty-stricken masses and tells them to show patience in suffering and stand firm. As an example of suffering and patience, James quotes from the Old Testament the example of Job and mentions Job’s perseverance and endurance. He mentions the mercy and compassionate nature of God (v.11). Job, despite losing everything, his possessions, health, family, and children, kept his faith and refused to “Curse God and die”, as his wife suggested. In the end, compassionate God restored his possessions, health, and family, giving him ten more children.
During His public ministry, we see a compassionate and merciful Jesus all through. Jesus healed hundreds of people (Mathew 4:23-24) during his public ministry. His ministry on earth involved preaching, teaching and healing. He fed those who were hungry physically and spiritually. It is the responsibility of the called-out community, the Church, to continue this ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing. We live in a world of sick, poor, hungry, oppressed, and persecuted. The church needs to be an agent of healing and transformation in all these areas. A few years ago, it was reported that a particular church member kept Bibles in the front door of many Hindu families in one of the cities in North India, which led to serious communal tension in that locality for a while. This is not the way to preach the Gospel. We need to take care of the basic physical needs of people first, if necessary, and then tell them that we are doing this as an expression of God’s love. Medicine, psychology, and spirituality have interdependent roles in the healing process. When scientific healing and faith healing are integrated into the lives of people, they are made whole. Holistic healing should be the aim of the Church i.e. physical, mental, and spiritual healing.
Let us examine ourselves and see whether we are putting our faith into action. Many times, we have failed to witness and share the love that Christ has given us. Are we able to give a holistic healing touch to the people around us who are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually? Are we the embodiment of the mercy and compassion shown by Jesus?
Heavenly Father, help us to be generous, patient, and share our possessions; thereby becoming the agents of transformation, healing, and making a difference in the lives of others in God’s way for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God at all levels, Amen.
Thought for the Day
Are we a blessing to others? The life that lived for others is a blessed life.
The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island, NY