January 26: The Giving and Receiving

Read James 5:13-20

Have you ever been that person? The one who was down but had no one with whom to share his feelings? The one who was ill but had no one to pray or care for her? The one who was ecstatic about life but lacked a person with whom to share the electricity? The one who was wandering off track but has no “GPS person” in his life to bring the course correction?

If you have been that person, you know how dangerous, lonely, and discouraging life can be. God never intended your life to be that way. He has designed us for community . . . especially as Jesus followers.  Life is better together. Ours are to be lives lived not only in harmony with one another, but also ones that genuinely care for one another, weeping and rejoicing together (Rom. 10:15, 16).

When I live life like that, my trouble is not only voiced, but it becomes someone else’s concern. The other person helps to bear a burden that was all too weighty when I was carrying it alone (Gal. 6:2). They direct me to my divine source of help. They demonstrate support. They help me find solutions!

When I live life like that, my joy is neither contained nor is it merely a celebration between me and my Father. Others join me in the festivity of giving praise to God. They sing happy hallelujahs with me!

When I live life like that, my sin is no longer something I conceal in shame. Instead, I confess it to God and to a caring brother or sister who lovingly prays for my healing and holds me accountable in areas of powerful struggle. They are interested in my rescue, not my ridicule!

But I also dare not forget that living life like that requires that I am not only on the receiving end. I am the one bearing a brother’s burden. I am the one sharing in a sister’s joy. I am the one pointing a person towards righteous living.

Not only do I have the opportunity to experience the blessing on the receiving end of a providential relationship, but I am also called to the responsibility of being the one giving that blessing to others.


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