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Gary Hansen inspires us to have our eyes wide open for opportunities to be instruments of hope and to let our words of faith be woven with works of faith.

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” — James 2:14, NIV

It was later in the evening, and I was crying! I was not sad, and I was not overly happy. Along with 10 others from Michigan, I was sitting in a circle in a hotel in São Leopoldo, Brazil. In the middle of a devotion and a reflection on the workday, I looked into the faces of the other sweaty and tired servants, and I started to cry.

We knew this was a holy moment — a God moment. Each of us, for several days, had been on a mission trip (using much of our own money) and sweating our way through building a Habitat for Humanity house in unbearable heat. Little did we know that seeds of hope were being planted in us.

We already knew each other’s stories. We knew in our hearts and minds that faith had taken root within and among us, but now we knew for sure what it felt like to act upon our faith and to live out the good news. The combination of all this made me cry. It was one of the most powerful God moments that I have witnessed.

The second chapter of James reminds us how our faith comes alive by helping others (James 2:14). A life-changing experience can happen using a wheelbarrow or a shovel or a hammer — work done because of Jesus. Days and weeks become priceless when safe and affordable homes grow out of mission trips, when they are woven into our faith experiences.

Together, can we agree to have our eyes wide open for opportunities to be instruments of hope? Together, can we agree to let our words of faith be woven with works of faith?

Dear God, give us the opportunity to do what we believe. Give us open eyes to see Your hand in our lives. Make us thankful for the miracle moments where everything You desire comes together in us. Amen.

1. When have you had a holy moment when faith and works were one?
2. What works or actions seem to fit your skills and gifts?
3. What other parts of the Letter of James speak to you?
4. How have you seen Habitat create opportunities for other woven moments? What other service opportunities have resulted in holy moments for you?

By Gary L. Hansen, retired bishop of the North/West Lower Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, located in Lansing, Michigan.

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