But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith without works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.
I’ve spent a lot of my life learning about and “becoming aware of” issues. I’ve read a lot of books, written letters to the editor, and attended a few protests. But I’ve tended to stop short of actually doing what I think the Bible calls “works,” because that would probably involve risk and discomfort and maybe even people not liking me, and I probably wouldn’t make a difference anyway. How could any of my works live up to the impossible standards set by Abraham?
I was surprised and excited (and I’ll admit, scared) when many MoTA members thought a logical consequence of reading Half the Sky would be to volunteer at Our Mother’s House, a drop-in center for prostituted mothers. It took me awhile to decide if I could really step through that door. Why would these women need me there? How could I make any difference?
When I finally went through the door, I realized it wasn’t about doing something spectacular in the eyes of God. It was just about being present to other people. And it was our spiritual community that helped me take that little step through the door. Having the support of others who are doing works with faith, who have taken those risks before, gave me the courage to step beyond faith and ideas and actually do something.
What risks are we prepared to take to help our faith come alive through works?