By Mary Ellen Barrett
“Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls,
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” ~James 1:21-22
Do you have a bucket list? I do. I think most people have a list in the back of their heads about things they would like to do or see before the end of their lives. What’s funny about those lists is that they often contain things we would never really do unless faced with our mortality. In many cases, the bucket list is comprised of items that people have dreamed of doing but somehow never made room for it in their lives, and then when life seems to be winding down suddenly, there was an imperative. The bucket list is all about action, about doing things.
Doers of the Word
In today’s second reading, St. James writes about action as well, and the exhortation to do so comes directly from the teaching of Jesus, as we read in Matthew’s Gospel:
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like the wise man who built his house on rock. Everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand” (Matthew 7:24-26).
We are called upon not just to listen but to act. To treat God’s Word as if it’s been on our bucket list our whole lives and set out each day to live it in the best way possible. James tells us to persevere in the Word, not just to read it, sigh deeply, close the book and assume we are done, but to use the Bible as a plan of action. To read deeply and then ask God to show us how these words apply to us and our lives and how He wants us to live it each day. The whole of James’ writing is practical advice about living a life in Christ through action. Sometimes the action is prayer, and other times it is going out and accomplishing something—similar to checking off items on that bucket list. Still, instead of racking up experiences and expenses, you are building the kingdom of God.
Time in the Word
Reading the Bible, either via a book, online, an app, or even a podcast, is gaining popularity. In addition, there seems to be an influx of groups, both in-person and virtual, studying the Bible. It has become almost trendy, so now is a perfect time to become “doers of the Word.”
As women in the Lord’s vineyard, can we make a firm commitment to be “doers of the Word?” It all begins with having a relationship with Jesus Christ, which of course, means prayer and reflection. These help us develop a relationship with Christ that transforms every aspect of our life until we begin to mirror His Word—filled with love, mercy, and goodness.
Lord, thank you for your words and teachings given to us through the Scriptures. Help me immerse myself, not only in the words but also in the mission you are calling me to through them.
Call to Action
How can you commit to being a “doer of the Word?” Pick one passage in Scripture to reflect on for the coming week. Ask God to show you how He is calling you to bring this Word to others.
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