No one can be saved by doing good works. On the other hand, the apostle James taught that faith without works is useless (2:20). To illustrate, he pointed out that faith alone won’t feed a hungry person. Only faith that takes action will (vv.15-16).

How timely this message is! Right now much of our world is suffering a bellyache from not enough food, while countless others have a bellyache from too much.

Tragically, we who have enough to eat often “bellyache” about our food being too done, too tough, too sweet, too cold, or too bland. Then we complain about the dirty dishes that our food creates. A poem from one of my cookbooks turns such ingratitude on its head. Pauline Davis wrote:

Thank God for dirty dishes, they have a story to tell.
While others may be hungry, we are eating very well.
With home, health, and happiness, I shouldn’t want to fuss.
By this great stack of evidence, God’s been very good to us!

Oh, that we might be grateful, for gratitude is vital to a working faith. People without gratitude seldom care about having a working faith. But believers who are deeply thankful for God’s blessings long to share those blessings with others.

Make sure your faith is useful, not useless. And don’t neglect the needy, both spiritually and physically, around the world—and around the corner!