On a recent Wednesday morning, I sat at my friend’s dining room table surrounded by a handful of other women. We nibbled on breakfast casseroles and baked goods while chatting about every topic under the sun.
It was our annual Bible study brunch to celebrate our new semester study and excitement swirled throughout the room.
I was elated to reconnect with friends and dive into scripture.
Just minutes into the brunch, my cell phone buzzed. I glanced at the name and number on the screen.
“Hmmm, she doesn’t usually call,” I whispered to a nearby friend. “I better take this.”
With cell phone in hand, I meandered into the adjoining room.
“Hi, Holly!” I chirped into the receiver.
“So sorry to bother you,” Holly’s wobbly voice sounded on the other end of the phone. “I didn’t know who else to call. I need to get to work, and my car won’t start. I think the battery is dead. Can you jump it?”
I paused before I responded.
Holly and I were merely acquaintances who had begun to bond over shared interests like good books, daytime hikes, and bike rides. On a recent walk, Holly opened up about this challenging season in her life. Fresh off a divorce, she was learning to navigate the world in a new way.
While I wanted to help, I felt torn.
I’d been looking forward to this Bible study brunch for weeks. I couldn’t wait to spend time with good friends and dig into God’s word. By helping Holly, I would miss most of the morning’s study.
As I wrestled with my answer, I ruminated on our differences. While faith plays a pivotal part in my life, Holly held little interest in the gospel message. “You do you,” Holly voiced when the conversation wandered into matters of my faith.
Yet, she seemed fascinated by the ways I actually lived out my beliefs. In fact, I often felt like she placed my words and actions under a careful microscope; like she was determining if my conduct reflected a faith worth exploring.
As such, the decision to jump her car seemed weighty.
I remembered a sermon message in which the pastor warned about Christian hoarders. He explained that these believers continually fill their time and mind with studying the Bible and developing fellowship with fellow Christians while never using this knowledge to put their faith in action.
I wondered if I had transformed into a hoarder of the gospel message.
Words from the New Testament swirled through my head, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22, NIV).
Was I ingesting the Word of God for the purpose of stockpiling that knowledge in my heart?
Or, was I consuming the Word with the end goal of pouring out the Good News onto others? And in this situation, how would Holly see the gospel message if I chose to hear and not do?
“I’ll be there in a few minutes to help,” I uttered to Holly on the phone. Then, I packed up my belongings and headed over to her house.
Jumping Holly’s car proved to be complicated and took longer than expected. I missed the majority of the Bible study.
Holly and I didn’t have any major conversations or spiritual breakthroughs that day. She didn’t express any changes in her heart.
Yet, I think she observed what faith lived out looks like. It looks like clutching a jumper cable and extending a hand.