The mouse held his head and retreated to the farmyard, yelling to all his friends for help, “There is a mousetrap in the house!”
The chicken raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this distresses you, but I cannot be bothered by it.”
The mouse turned and ran to the pen to tell the pig, “There is a mousetrap in the house, Mr. Pig. I need your help.”
“I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse,” said the pig sympathetically, “but there is nothing I can do about it; rest assured that you are in my prayers.”
The mouse ran to the field and told the cow, who replied, “Like Wow, Mr. Mouse, a rat trap? Am I in danger?” he mocked.
The mouse returned to the house, disheartened to face the mousetrap alone. However, the mouse heard the loud snap of the trap. He ran to the kitchen and found the farmer’s wife reaching for the trap, but in the darkness, she did not see that the snare caught the tail of a venomous snake who bit her hand.
The farmer rushed his wife to the hospital. However, she returned home with a fever. To bring her temperature down, he decided to make chicken soup. The mouse followed him to the hen house and grimaced as he watched him lop the head off the chicken.
Nevertheless, the wife’s sickness continued. Soon, friends and neighbors came to visit her. The farmer felt obligated to feed his guest. Therefore, he butchered the pig – who promised to pray for the mouse.
Still, the farmer’s wife did not recover, and she died. Many people came to her funeral. The farmer did not expect so much company. When the town butcher arrived, he asked him to kill his cow to feed their friends.
The mouse shook his head as he packed his bags and left the farm. He wondered if things would have turned out differently if his friends had helped him in the beginning.
As the adage says, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
James 2:14-16 says, “What use is it, my brethren if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?”
In his sermon, “Faith Always Bears Fruit,” (linked here) theologian, Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III says about the above passage in James, “It’s a concrete example of showing tangible love, care, and concern for a Christian Brother or Sister in distress, in need. And you say, ‘I’ll pray for you, brother,’ and you do nothing to help him. He (James) says, ‘You know what that is? – It’s useless.’ Faith must be lived out. Practical love is the invariable fruit of real faith.”
Jewish Christians at that time embraced the gospel truth that salvation did not come from good works, but from Jesus’ gracious work on the cross. Thus, they chose to sit back and look out for their needs. However, that demonstrated that they also chose not to abide by God’s word that commands us to “Love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Likewise, we must understand that we have nothing of our accord. James 1:16-17 says, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
Thus, to become a giving person is to act Christ-like. Luke 6:36, says, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” He blessed you with time and finances, and now he’s asking you to give to others, as an act of thanksgiving.
What’s more, when we do not to act benevolently (whether its time, finances or service) we are removing an opportunity for God to bless us. Luke 6:38 continues, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Thus, every time you give, you are storing up treasure in heaven with eternal rewards.
Remember that faith is always validating its foundation of salvation with mercy.
*Note: all Bible passages derived from the NASB.