Date: Friday, August 22
Scripture: James 1:19-26
Verse: But there are those who study the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continue to do it. They don’t listen and then forget, but they put it into practice in their lives. They will be blessed in whatever they do. (James 1:25)
Billy Sunday was a popular professional baseball player in the late 1800s. Known for his speed, he played in the outfield for the Chicago White Stockings, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and the Philadelphia Phillies from 1883 to 1890. In 1890, he left baseball to enter into full-time ministry, and soon became the most famous evangelist in the United States — the Billy Graham of the turn of the century. You may have never heard of Billy Sunday before, but you know some of his work. For example, he is credited with this quote which has been adapted a bit through the years, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”
Sunday’s quote gets at the heart of today’s reading. Worship isn’t worth much if it isn’t lived out. James uses the image of a mirror as a description of worship. We come to the gathering and look at ourselves but quickly forget what we see, and go back to our old ways of living Monday morning. The goal of our worship is not to be something that only occupies an hour on Sunday, but affects the rest of our lives as well. Those who worship well, James tells us, “put [what they hear] into practice in their lives.”
Worship is not an end in and of itself. Rather it is a means toward the end of a new life of discipleship in Jesus Christ. We are not called simply to be church attenders, but rather to be changed by who we worship. Then we are called to share that new life with the world around us — through what we do as a group in the community, and how we live as individuals in our families, at work, in school, and wherever we find ourselves.
Coming to the garage is only part of what we are called to do. Like Billy Sunday, we also have to hit the road as changed people.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep changing me into the person you made me to be. Amen.
Action: As James says, “put it into practice” in your life today!
Respond: How is worship like a mirror?
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