by Dave Jans
22 See, his faith was at work along with his actions. In fact, his faith was made complete by his faithful actions. James 2:22
Fridays are my day alone. Every Friday, Ashleigh heads to work, I get Wesley on a bus and take Luke to daycare, and I have the rest of the day to myself. The day is full of possibilities after that. If I get to do what I want I have an opportunity to catch up on reading, binge a show on Netflix, or adventure through Hyrule on the Switch completely uninterrupted ... if I get to do what I want.
Most Fridays don't turn out that way though. Most Fridays, I have a list of things I need to get accomplished: cleaning around the house, shopping that needs to be done, and home improvement projects. There are always lots of things that need my attention, and I know they do because of the list that Ashleigh makes for me before she leaves for work in the morning. We sit down with our coffee, go over the priority of the items, and set expectations for what can reasonably be expected to get done. I usually get to a fair amount of the items on the list, but recently I accomplished almost none of the items I committed to.
It was a rough week beforehand, and I was not feeling the Honey-Do list. All I wanted to do was to rest and shut my brain down for a while, but I also wanted to do these important tasks that Ashleigh and I discussed. My intention was to do a few of the items, but to get some rest as well, so I told Ash that I would get to the house cleaning items, but the rest would have to be pushed off to another day. She agreed and left for the day.
I intended to get to the list, but first I was going to eat breakfast and watch an episode of West Wing. That episode turned to three, but I still had the rest of the day, so I didn't worry. I took my cereal bowl to the dishwasher, put it in, and closed the door, looking over the dishes in the sink and on the counter.
I intended to get to the list, but I was still so worn out from the week, so I went to take a nap for a quick 30 minutes. That turned into a two-hour nap, but I still had time to get to things and the tasks weren't huge, so I didn't worry. I got up and threw the covers up on my bed, not making it fully. I'd get to that later.
I intended to get to the list, but it was time for lunch. I made a sandwich and sat down to eat. While I was eating, I scrolled through Facebook to catch up on what my friends were doing. I scrolled for an hour, a bit more than I intended, but I still had a bit of time to do what I needed to do. I took my dishes to the sink and started to load the dishwasher, but an alarm went off. I forgot that I needed to pick up Wesley early for an appointment, so I stopped loading and went to get him.
I returned home hours later, now with Luke in tow as well, and began the evening routine of dinner, baths, and bedtime. After the boys were settled and sleeping, I went to the kitchen to start on the dishes. That's when Ash came home. She was understandably upset with me, asking why I didn't get to anything I had committed to do. I tried to explain that I had intended to work on the list, but I was just worn out from a rough week and got off track. Ashleigh, surprisingly calm considering how disappointed she was, simply said, "I understand all of that, but you said that you would do these things and I trusted you."
When it came down to it, my intentions didn't help at all. Without actions to match, they were useless.
We've all been there at some point. We've promised what we couldn't deliver. We've fallen short on our word. All of us know what it means to have good intentions, but fail at putting those intentions to work, and God knows that we tend to do the same with our faith life.
This Sunday, we'll continue in our study of the book of James and talk about how God is calling us to move beyond the intention to follow Jesus and into the active, dynamic life that actually following leads us to. I hope to see you on Sunday!