This week I posted a short piece on Instagram and Facebook titled “Becoming Part of the Solution.”
I had taken a photo of a couple refrigerators out in the woods where I walk and wrote that my first reaction to such dumping is anger. But on this day, I had another thought. “How can I be part of the solution?”
About 10 minutes after I posted the piece, I got a call from my nephew. He had been dirt bike riding in the hills behind his house, which is high desert sage brush, and came across discarded appliances, tires, and other garbage. He made a quick call to the local landfill to negotiate an affordable dump fee, and after soliciting the help of a friend began the site cleanup. Four loads later, the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trails were clear.
That is a good deed.
A few weeks ago, I learned of another person who is trying to reduce the feral cat population in my town by transporting these animals to a clinic in Reno where a vet offers to spay and neuter them for $25 on a certain day of the week. I was impressed by her willingness to take action rather than simply talk about a problem.
Neither of these people profess Christ, but what they do is certainly sacrificial. They gave of their time and money. I was told the “cat lady” leaves town at 4 a.m. each Tuesday morning to take the felines to the vet in Reno, a two-hour trip.
So, I ask as followers of Jesus Christ shouldn’t we be ready to take part in problem solving when there is a problem? Yet I often hear Christians opt out. They say they aren’t “called” to it.
James tells us that we should put our faith into action. This is how Eugene Peterson, author of the commentary Bible titled “The Message,” words James 2:19-24.
“Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?
Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?”
There are lots of needs in society today. We read about them in newspapers or news websites or hear about them on television. Often the best we can do to be part of the solution is pray. At other times, however, we are like the Good Samaritan who came across the man who had been robbed and beaten giving us opportunity to act. At those times we can choose to be used by God to be part of the solution.
[NOTE: The Bible tells us to do good works but this is not for our salvation from eternal destruction (Matthew 25:46, Revelation 20:15) due to the sins we have committed (Romans 6:23). Salvation is a free gift from God, we don’t “work” for it.
How are we saved? The following information is from Got Questions (gotquestions.org).
How did God provide salvation?
Because the just penalty for sin is infinite and eternal, only God could pay the penalty, because only He is infinite and eternal. But God, in His divine nature, could not die. So God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. God took on human flesh, lived among us, and taught us.
When the people rejected Him and His message, and sought to kill Him, He willingly sacrificed Himself for us, allowing Himself to be crucified (John 10:15). Because Jesus Christ was human, He could die; and because Jesus Christ was God, His death had an eternal and infinite value.
Jesus’ death on the cross was the perfect and complete payment for our sin (1 John 2:2). He took the consequences we deserved. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead demonstrated that His death was indeed the perfectly sufficient sacrifice for sin.
How can I be saved? What do I need to do?
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). God has already done all the work. All you must do is receive, in faith, the salvation God offers (Ephesians 2:8-9). Fully trust in Jesus alone as the payment for your sins. Believe in Him, and you will not perish (John 3:16). God is offering you salvation as a gift. All you have to do is accept it. Jesus is the way of salvation (John 14:6).