But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. ”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:18
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. … Matthew 5:13-16
The early church made itself known by two things- how they loved one another, and how they loved the culture they were in. Christians often picked up abandoned infants who had been left by parents to die on the street. Infanticide was not completely frowned upon by the Roman culture. Christians showed their love by rescuing these abandoned infants.
As decades and centuries passed, Christians showed their love of the culture by establishing institutions for the most desperate and marginalized parts of society. Schools, hospitals, “poor houses”, and inns for weary travelers were established in the name of Christ. Indeed, the early church was distinguished by the fact that wherever Christian communities were established, they made that community better for them having been there.
Christians have a rich legacy in the world for having established civilizing institutions, based upon their understanding that love is best expressed in actions, not mere belief. Many of those institutions survive today. So many schools, hospitals, and relief organizations have their origins in Christian benevolence.
Yet today, many people do not see this legacy. They take for granted the works of generations past. Why? Because often times, in the current world, the Church is no longer acting like the Church. People often see the Church, and Christians, as judgmental critics of current world events.
This space is too small to develop this theme like it should be discussed. In future blogs, I will be discussing this a bit more. My incredible daughter has also talked with me about us both addressing this issue further by jointly writing about it. We are considering this idea, so stay tuned!
Prayer: Lord, give us the wisdom and courage to be able to love those around us well, Amen