Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. –James 1: 22
A small book sits on an end table in our house entitled If I Really Wanted to Make a Difference… Each page finishes the sentence with ideas like, “I would say I’m sorry,” or “I would read to a child,” or other similar anecdotes. It’s a daily reminder that the simple things in life are what often make the biggest difference. One day, the cover caught my attention and I read it a little differently. That day, my eyes read the words with a period at the end. “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would.” The change this made in my own mind, though plain and simple, was deep.
James gives us a similar charge: “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:23-25).
Typically, we all have daily opportunities to make a positive difference in the life of another person. We know what we ought to do, but we pass up opportunities right and left. Maybe we’re too busy or distracted by “more important things.” Perhaps inconvenience prevents us from acting. Really, there are uncounted excuses that can keep us from doing anything. But James was serious about conveying the importance of doing what is right. Later on in chapter 4, verse 17, he wrote very clearly, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
James is saying that inactivity can amount to sin. Ouch. If you are like me, so many times I’ve passed on the opportunity to do good and in doing nothing, have sinned. That stings, doesn’t it?
Today can be different. Each of us can make a difference in the life of someone else. So, when you see the opportunity arise, seize it.
Today is a great day to start making a difference. What are some actions you can take today to impact the lives of others you interact with?