“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can his faith save him?” James 2: 14

My mom got me this beautiful pen. It is marbled pink with gold trim, and looks extremely fancy. However, I must confess – I rarely use it (sorry Mom!).

Truth be told, I can barely write with it. It’s so bulky and heavy I can’t seem to use it for more than five minutes. At that point, my hand begins to cramp up and my arm almost goes limp.

The pen kind of reminds me of how we Christians can sometimes be (yes, I’m including myself here!). On the surface we’re polished and poised. We may use all that impressive Christian lingo and make sure our butts are firmly planted in those church pews each Sunday.

But the reality is, despite appearances, we can be useless.

We fail to notice our elderly neighbor because we’re too distracted with our own busy lives. We fail to pull ourselves away from the TV or computer to spend time playing with our own kids. We fail to notice the need for volunteers in many ministries within our own church (I’m in children’s ministry, and sadly, I see that one a lot). We don’t inconvenience ourselves to help others. Rather, our tunnel vision of having others serve us renders us useless.

I’m certainly guilty of it. As a homeschooling mom, I often get wrapped up in the schedule we must keep and tasks we must complete. I fail to savor the time I get to spend with my precious girls. While I’m doing “my job” as a mom, I’m useless in the area of strengthening a bond with my daughters.

The scriptures teem with references on how we should live out our faith to help those in need, and just as many (if not more) opportunities to take action around us. You can become a small group leader for a group of second-graders in your church, feed the broken and hurting in a homeless shelter on a regular basis, or visit the lonely and often forgotten elderly in a local nursing home.

I want to be a useful utensil for the kingdom – chewed up, missing eraser, and sharpened to a nub.