Following the advice of James
By Gil Hanke
We know our moto: “You must be doers of the word and not only hearers.” (James 1:22 CEB). Another key verse is “Those who hear but don’t do the word are like those who look at their faces in a mirror. They look at themselves, walk away, and immediately forget what they are like” (James 1:23-24 CEB).
In our world and work today, we are surrounded by noise. It comes at us from all sides, at all times, in multiple formats, at levels that disrupt our souls. The noise is angry and insulting, assaulting, and insists it is the only truth.
Does the noise drown out the voice of God? Does it bring only confusion? What are we to do?
If we talk about the noise, complain about the noise, get upset by the noise, we are only adding to the noise. In that state, we actually can forget who we are…. and whose we are.
James would suggest we “do” the word, so I suggest the following:
- Put yourself to doing. Serve others, volunteer at a shelter, visit a nursing home or folks who are homebound, call members of your church who don’t attend regularly, call people who are ill and not able to attend worship, offer a ride, read to a child, help with the Cub Scouts who meet at your church. Put yourself on a high-service diet.
- Restrict your noise intake; put yourself on a low-noise diet. Watch the news; but not four times a day, read emails pushed to you, but only from positive, respectful persons and only for a few minutes a day.
- Seek silence: for prayer, devotional time, searching the Scriptures. Enjoy nature. Take a walk.
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on UM Men