I was in town last week and popped into a shop to buy some milk but got distracted by an enormous display stand full of Easter eggs. I checked my watch to see if we were in even in February yet. I wondered what others made of the display? Then I moved on to buy… what? My mind had gone blank! All those eggs had completely distracted me and I’d forgotten my purpose for being in the shop in the first place.
I wonder if this is what James is getting at in the Bible reading this week? James is advocating activist Christianity but he’s not saying we need to simply do more and more. His message is far more important: if we are going to be active and doing things then it is important to know the purpose otherwise we could become distracted by what we do, rather than why we do it. Remember, James was Jesus’ own half-brother, a sceptic at the outset but a major Christian leader by the end. He knew why he believed what he believed and he knew why he did what he did.
‘Absence of doing’ may sound great to begin with but absence isn’t what James advocates. He points to purpose. Our purpose this year? It’s Isaiah 43:19: Going Deeper, and is about knowing God’s Truth, Living in God’s Timing and Trusting God.
That’s quite a purpose to aspire to!