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Daily Reformation, James 1:21-27
From the Reformer
James then teaches us that religion is not to be estimated by the pomp of ceremonies; but that there are important duties to which the servants of God ought to attend.
To visit in necessity is to extend a helping hand to alleviate such as are in distress. And as there are many others whom the Lord bids us to succor, in mentioning widows and orphans, he states a part for the whole. There is then no doubt but that under one particular thing he recommends to us every act of love, as though he had said, “Let him who would be deemed religious, prove himself to be such by self denial and by mercy and benevolence towards his neighbors.”
—John Calvin, Commentary on the Catholic Epistles
Pulling It Together
He was a quiet man, hardly noticed. He was not a preacher and held no office of importance in the church. Yet, were it not for him, some very important things would be left undone. The pastor of his church was aware of the needs of people who made their needs known or who had some other person make their needs known to him. He was also aware of the needs of some others because he was keen enough to notice. But in this medium-sized church, that meant some people would fall beneath the pastoral radar. However, they were not missed by Phil’s radar. He noticed the common, uncomplaining people and quietly met their needs. His was a pure religion, proven by practical expressions of his love for God—and God’s children. His ministry is the call of all Christians.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers