Pay it Forward

By: Bruce Olenchuk

James 2:14, 17

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

I watched a movie called Pay It Forward. The premise of the movie is the question, “What can you do to change the world?” A 12-year old boy in the movie is given a school assignment to figure out how he can change the world. His solution is to do something significant for three people, then ask them to “pay it forward” to three more people. They would then ask those people to do the same and so on; a pyramid scheme for spreading good deeds. The movie goes on to show how “paying it forward” can impact many lives. That is what James is telling us in today’s scripture; faith without deeds is hollow. He is saying that we must put our faith into action.

As a manager for a large company, I am told that I should not get involved in my employees’ lives. As a Christian, I find that very difficult. As I learn more about my employees’ life situations I can’t help but get involved. Sometimes all that is required is a sympathetic ear. I listened and prayed with an employee who was feeling overwhelmed with taking care of his chronically ill wife, two children, household duties and job responsibilities. Sometimes it requires action. A young employee told me that he had just purchased a home for his family but the carpet in the home seemed to be causing his young children to get sick. They needed to replace the carpet with wood floors but they didn’t have the money. I offered to help with the cost of the new flooring so that the family could live there safely.

Faith put into action. As James goes on to say in verse 18, Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.


TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Do I get actively involved in helping my friends, family and coworkers, or do I merely wish them well?