“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18, AV)
It might have been about 6 months to a year after the Lord saved me as I read a Gideon Bible in a Minneapolis hotel room. I was supervising the installation of an electronic control system on a multi-million-dollar printing press. The management shut down the printing operation for three days while we installed the equipment and the extensive wiring. I double checked all the wiring to make sure it matched the equipment manufacturers drawings. To install the new control system, we had to uninstall the old system completely and rewire some of the machine components.
Everything was going well and according to schedule. I had the manufacturer’s field service engineer come in to start up the new control. So, he came in looked at things briefly and turned on the breaker to the equipment. We called this, in the business, the “smoke test,” and that that is what happened. The electronics were shorted out. The new control system was, what we called fried. The circuit boards were ruined.
Now throughout the time I had the machine, the plant manager kept asking about twice a day, when he would have the machine back since they had production to run. I told him that we would have the machine back on line that day. Unfortunately, I gave this estimate before the new electronic control system burned up. Well, as soon as he heard what happened, it hit the fan. No, I am not going to say what. He, the lead salesman, the general manager one after another were down on the floor of the plant at separate times asking me what was I going to do to fix things? How long would it be until they could get back on line? What was wrong? How could I let this happen? It was going crazy.
Well, I quickly determined to uninstall the new system and reinstall the old. Of course, that meant reinstalling the old equipment and putting the wiring back where it was. I estimated it would take about two to three hours if everything went correctly. However, as I was trying to get this work done in the most expeditious time, I was constantly interrupted by the plant manager, plant superintendent, sales managers, you name it with questions, and demands to work faster.
Watching all of this one of the employees came to me and asked me, “How are you staying so calm in the midst of all this?” I only had one answer. “It was by God’s grace.” He said, “I know. You have God in your life.” Well, we got the machine back in operation in two hours. Moreover, we discovered that the problem was that the new control system was wired incorrectly at the factory.
The main point of this story is that my calm demeanor in the midst of the chaos was because of God’s grace alone, and others noticed. It was a witness not of words but of deeds. This is what James is writing about here. We can demonstrate true faith by what we do. In fact, true faith makes a difference in our lives and this difference is seen by others. It validates our faith in Christ in the eyes of others.