"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." [James 2:14-18]
There are some I know who don't like to read the Book of James (James and Jude were half brothers to Christ) because it rankles them in the comfort of their faith. If we proclaim our (personal) faith loudly enough, perhaps no one will notice us not supporting nor engaging in church ministries.
On the other hand, when we do our works, it is best that the left hand not know what the right hand is doing...which is another way of saying that if our good works are to be published (not necessarily in the Mason County Journal) let it be done by others; not us.
Those in Christ will do good works, and do them by spiritual reflex. When the doctor taps your knee with his little mallet, and your leg involuntarily jerks; why is that? It happens because the electrical signal from the stimulated nerve goes to the spinal cord and comes right back to the muscle with a command; jerk. There is a signal that goes to the brain informing it that the knee has been tapped and that the leg has reacted, but while the brain is informed of what's going on it is not engaged.
There's a spiritual lesson here. When God's people see a need, they are so in tune with Christ that they reflexively react to the need. They do His works without having to think about whether or not to be engaged...to be involved. This is not a mindless reaction, it is action because His children have the Mind of Christ. "Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus also." [Philippians 2:5].
I need to go now. My wife is calling and she has a list....
God Bless! e.c.