Key Word:- COURAGE
Title:- Bigmouth Bildad
James 2:14-17 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Poet, philosopher, essayist and atheistic thinker, T.E. Hulme was born today in 1883. A pugnacious individual (it is rumoured he was kicked out of one of his schools for using a knuckle duster!) he roamed and wrote, until he was killed in action whilst serving as an artillery officer in WWI. One commentator writes of his poetry, saying that it had the ability to “bring the moon and stars back down to earth.” I like that.
You will have heard the saying that some Christians are “So heavenly minded that they are of no earthly use!” It isn’t of course true but you get the drift don’t you? I remember the time in fundamentalism when the term ‘Social Gospel’ was not only frowned upon but openly criticized. We Christians, after all, are charged with a message which upon serious deliberation, will set the eternal destiny of the individual. We are into the salvation of souls! No one would disagree with that and friends, as I write it, I tremble. What a commission! However, the seeming import and absolute conclusion of such a commission some would say is, that we should not focus on the body, for the body is not eternal and therefore, any focus on this passing tent is an eternal waste, it is simply food for maggots. Mmmm.
It was Bildad, one of Job’s friends, one of his comforters, who, when Job was in the deepest of distress, tried to turn his eyes to heaven and open Job's understanding to his own sinfulness. Bildad says: “ How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? If even the moon does not shine, And the stars are not pure in His sight, How much less man, who is a maggot, And a son of man, who is a worm?” Job 25:4-6
Yes Bildad, all this is true. However, let us now allow Job to respond in most majestic imagery. Job takes Bildad beyond the moon and stars and better than James T Kirk, with far-reaching phrase goes where ‘no man has gone before’. However, before that, he responds to Bildad with these down to earth questions “How have you helped him who is without power? How have you saved the arm that has no strength? How have you counselled one who has no wisdom?” Job 26:2-3. Job says “Hey Bildad bigmouth, show me your faith by your works!”
Dear friends, in all our systematizing of Theology, in all our imaginative unpacking of prophetic discourse, in all our irrelevant rules and regulations, in all our glorious gatherings, in all our heaven gazing and watchful waiting, let us be careful to always bring the moon and stars, back down to earth because God says “show me your stuff; show the world your stuff, because faith without works IS DEAD!”
Addendum | It has been a wee while since I first wrote these words and the pendulum has now swung so far in the opposite direction of my commentary that I need to clarify my words. We have, I am afraid, now produced simply a social Gospel. We have found it easier than the dangerous proclamation of the truth of God's word and have been duped by the vain hope that non-Christians will like us and listen to us if we take care of them when they are drunk and feed them when they are hungry. As the church continues to be an emaciated irrelevance in word but not in deed, as our building close, our old people die and our youth runaway, we fail to repent of sin and fail to wake up to this stupidity we have to willingly taken to our hearts. Secondly, may I say, MOST of our good works, really needs to be focused on the taking care of Christians. Family first. Now some of you will not like that, however, I believe that the New Testament Scriptures talk of our good works mostly in the context of taking care of our brothers and out sisters IN THE FAITH. Preach the Word, love the brethren.
Listen:- Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Matthew 25:34-36
Pray:- Lord, the need is so great. Yet you have called the crowds to follow You, hear Your words and caress the gates of Your kingdom and come in. Then You say to us “Give them something to eat!” Lord help us, give us fullness of faith and a dozen baskets to gather up the left overs. Amen.