Read James 1:19-27
Are you like me? Did you stock up on supplies and food when the pandemic first hit? Did you fill your pantry with non-perishable foods and paper products? Did you search for cleaning supplies so you could have a stockpile at the ready should you need it? We can be just like this with God’s Word. We listen and hear God’s Word in so many different ways — radio broadcasts, weekly sermons at church, books to read, music and podcasts. When we listen to all of these things, it is like we are stockpiling God’s Word. We are saving it up for some emergency.
Verse 22 urges us not to just stockpile what we hear and learn. Don’t hoard it. It instructs us to use it. Learn from what we hear and put it into practice. Just like stockpiling food and supplies, they are no good unless we use them to feed our families and clean our homes and work spaces.
When we load up on the essentials, but leave them on the shelf, they do no good. It’s like preparing a meal without eating it. It’s like threading a needle, but not actually sewing. It’s like inhaling, but not exhaling. What good does it do us to be filled with knowledge, but not use it?
This reminds me of when we were expecting our first child. Months in advance, we prepared a nursery. We had the crib put together and made up with special sheets and blankets. We read books about life with a newborn and received advice from many people about how to deal with the many changes that were headed our way. We chose to listen to most of the advice and nodded politely when we heard the same advice over and over. With all of these “how-to’s” swarming in our heads, we felt prepared…for the most part. Then, our daughter arrived. Our stockpile of information was quickly employed as we navigated these new waters.
It is the same with the knowledge we have of God. We can stockpile it, but it is not useful unless we use it. As Christians, we are meant to use the instruction we receive to demonstrate God’s love — caring for others, meeting the needs of our neighbors, and loving those who are sometimes hard to love. So go ahead and read and listen to God’s Word, then ask God to show you how you can put His Word into practice. What is something practical you could do today that would demonstrate God’s love?