Remiss: lacking care or attention to duty; negligent. That is the definition that Google gave me. It is fitting. I have been remiss in tending to my blog lately. It is partly because I haven’t really had much to blog about, but it is mostly because my schedule has been wonky lately. Thursday afternoons are my blogging time. It is the last thing I do before going home on my last day of the workweek. But this is the fourth Thursday in a row that I haven’t been there. Medical appointments and meetings have taken precedence on Thursdays. I haven’t altered the rest of my schedule to accommodate this activity. Nor have I made time after office hours to make it a priority. So yes, I have been remiss.
I wonder how many of us have been remiss about things in our lives. If we are honest with ourselves, I would guess it is most of us. We many not be remiss on everything. I have been mindful about keeping every appointment, making every meeting, and meeting family needs and deadlines. Most of us are diligent about getting to work on time. We are sure to provide dinner and clean clothes. We carefully arrange schedules to be at the stadium for the Friday Night Lights. We assure that a whol lot of other things get done on time. But I think that we are all probably remiss at something once in a while. We forget to pick things up at the cleaners or turn in the library books. We neglect to do the, dishes or take out the trash. We miss a blog post. We miss so many things really.
Unfortunately one of the easiest things for many of us to be remiss at is the things of faith. Oh, we might go to church on Sunday. Some may even make time, like I do, for reading God’s word and for prayer. And though I know a lot of people whose life is an expression of their faith, I know just as many who don’t mirror Jesus Christ Monday through Saturday. For those latter people, faith only requires attendance in worship service every once in a while. As long as they can check that box off once every month or two, they are good, at least in their minds. There is no need to do anything else.
Friends, this is not how Chrsitianity works. It is not how church is supposed to work. Faith is not a consumer commodity. It is not something that we can use up without giving back. The book of James is one of the best examples of what true Christian faith is supposed to look like. In James 2:14-17 we are told, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” It continues in verse 20:22 by saying, “You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works.”
There is a lot of bad theology around this Scripture passage. A lot of people take it to mean they have to work their way into heaven. That is just not right. God’s grace alone is what gets us into heaven. Without grace not one of us is worthy of God’s eternal kingdom. There is no way any of us can work our way into heaven. That said, works are necessary for people of faith. Christianity is not a passive faith. We don’t get to be remiss about living the life of a Christian. Good works are our natural response to the Holy Spirit residing in us. If we are truly Christians – if we have really accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – it will be seen in how we act in our Monday through Saturday lives. Our actions will look an awful lot like the actions of Jesus. We will love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind and we will love our neighbors as ourselves. That looks like doing whatever we can to make sure that people are fed, clothed, visitied, and cared for. It looks like taking care of the needs of those who don’t have as much as we do. It looks like standing up for the rights of the little guy and of the oppressed. It looks like standing up for human rights and ensuring that each human being has the chance to live a full and meaningful life, no matter what they look like or what they believe. Our actions need to be careful and diligent and directed toward love and life.
I am working through my remissiveness with this blog post. May we all also make an effort to work through the remissiveness of our faith. There is a whole world that is depending on it. That’s all I have to say today.