We know that we can't save ourselves by doing good things. Ultimately, no matter how hard we try, we'll never be perfect, and we can't earn our way into Heaven. It's just like Earthly law - if you get got caught stealing, you go to jail, no matter how many times you didn't steal that car! So it is with God.
But last night we talked about the other side of the coin. As Christians, it's not enough to just rest on our Savior, lay back, and wait for Heaven to come to us. We have responsibilities! And as James said, if you have real, living faith, it will propel you to good deeds. But what does that look like?
We got some powerful answers. Of course, Jesus's Golden Rule: "Do unto other as you would have them do unto you." If I was hungry or cold or afraid, I would want you to help me, even if I didn't really know you. If I'm really in need, I don't have the luxury of being picky about who I ask. So when we turn it around, we see that whenever we see need, Jesus commands us to help -- no matter who is the one who needs us.
There were others, too. After Peter getting out of the boat to walk on water with Jesus, someone said "A good deed coming from faith is when you step out to do something you know is impossible, but you feel God telling you to do it anyway." What is God calling you to do that you know you absolutely cannot do?
And most humbling to me was the story of Moses leading Israel through the desert. His journey started so well: the amazing display of force and glory in Egypt and leading an entire nation of slaves into freedom. They walked across the Red Sea on dry land, received divine law in the Ten Commandments at Sinai. But for forty years after all that, they wandered through the desert. The glow wore off and the people complained. They were hungry, they were thirsty, they were tired. They were sick of walking and sick of the desert, to the point where many wanted to go back to the "good old days" of brutal slavery!
But for forty years, Moses faithfully led them, corralled them, managed them, all with God's help, so that they could enter the Promised Land. And at the end of that time, he didn't even get to go in. He gave his whole life, laboring for people who resented him, trying to prepare them for this grand gift God would give them, and he never even got to see it. He did this on faith, because he loved God.
What is God calling you to work for? How will you serve?