A few years ago, while picking up our then seven-year-old from school he handed me a coupon he had received for being a good citizen. He explained that he had done something nice and this was given to him. While I was telling him how proud I was of him, he interrupted me saying, “But I don‘t deserve it. Mommy does” He said, “This is for people who always do nice. I did one thing; Mommy is always doing nice things for me.” When his mother came home, he gave her his award. She didn‘t need the coupon, but she did need to know that she was appreciated.
Most of us would have been content to simply recognize that someone else deserved recognition. Some may have even offered some verbal praise. It was important to him that he actually give. Of course he learned that from his mother. Even at such a early age he had learned the importance of compassion and goodness towards everyone by watching his mother. He had learned that he was part of a much bigger picture than what he saw when he looked in the mirror.
It is easy to fall short when we are focused more on our self than the big picture. This is also true in deeper aspects of life. James 2:15-16 says, “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?” Thoughts and words are not enough. Faith has to be put into action. We must respond to the needs around us with more than words.
We are surrounded by people with many and great needs. To meet those needs we must look beyond ourselves. We have been blessed in many ways, and if our faith is real it will motivate us beyond words and into action. The other aspect of living out our faith in visible ways is that others learn to do the same by watching and experiencing it from us. God still feeds the hungry, helps the hopeless and teaches others how to be compassionate through us.