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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Is Love Without Works Dead?

Updated on September 18, 2016

The land of my glorious youth

Why is barren land called barren? I see life.
Why is barren land called barren? I see life. | Source

Maybe a sermon is a one way street. How sad to miss the folks going in a different direction

Can you have a talent that is hidden? That is a remarkable question. It makes the thinker pause for a moment. Have you ever heard someone say; “She is a remarkable painter she simply has never painted”. And there is a sister statement we probably never have heard; “She must be a remarkable painter she paints all the time, she simply has never let anyone see her work”. No these are not quite the same as the question of; if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound? But these get us going on the question that is truly asked by all spiritual people.

There is a wonderful notion that probably has its origins in the Bible. If you were to light a candle for light in the night and then cover it so that it may not be seen of what good is it at all? If we ask enough of these riddle type questions we find something in common with them. A good thing is really not a good thing unless it is good to someone. Be careful here. I just had a loving thought. No one is around to share it with. But it is good because I am someone and it was good to me.

Lest we move too quickly let us remember the wonderful notion that if we do something good in order to receive a benefit from it, perhaps it is not good at all. He who does good for others in secret is perhaps the best of us all. But don’t rush to judgment there.

It is my fervent desire that those who read this or other sermons of mine recognize that many of the notions that I discuss have a Biblical basis. And it is important to me that many recognize that much of what I write about has some basis in other beliefs. Within these twin desires I hope to communicate a commonality of man and not a conformity. We should be able to see that our troubles are not only our troubles but others have similar troubles. And we certainly hope that we also see more clearly that we all share the same goodness in our hearts when we free that goodness into the world.

I use the song below based on a simple line from it. “what have I ever done to deserve even one”.

A man with a life without action? I doubt it!

I reckon I don't believe God is without action. He had a hand in making our wonderful natural world.

In a land where you can see a storm coming from 100 miles away.
In a land where you can see a storm coming from 100 miles away. | Source

Do not break my love, but give me the freedom to let it happen

Please let your gift be that your love grows

There is a space and place in our minds and even in our hearts that we all go some time. We will leave self-pity out of this for now. That horrible deep dark and hopefully momentary focus on how bad we are. This is so uncomfortable and painful. “I am not good enough for anything”. It would be easy if we were to say that this state of mind and heart is to be avoided at all cost. But that would be a lie. This ugly and painful position is essential to us. It is that pain from which we grow in the spirit. It is that slippery rock that we recognize we must take steps to get off of lest we fall into the abyss. Perhaps in fear and trembling we rise into an action that is truly our only hope of escaping the morose view of self. The pit of despair will not let us out until we do something to get out.

So we recognize that sometimes trying to force goodness into our perspective will not work as a mental exercise to free us into love. Some action must be taken to move us into a different angle with which to view the same thing. Once the proper perspective is a achieved we must be steadfast in the journey, so as to let that perspective grow.

Sorry but I had to give some respect to those who give the ultimate act


Excuse me for all that just to make the point that we see that taking action is what “treats” the negative. And so it is that we may get well from a particular malady. But that does not make us well and the best that we can be. Shall we say it is a band aid or an antibiotic? The heart patient does not get sent home with a pill to take alone. Lifestyle must change to avoid another attack.

If I could just never disappoint my my loved ones and God

So we are ready for the positive. What lifestyle does that require? Fear, doubt, insecurity, lack of confidence seem to be our worst enemies in the striving for love with works. But are they really? Speaking for myself alone I suggest that they may just be my greatest ally. As we discussed above we saw that action is the best treatment for just about any malady or danger. The danger of losing our love may be the greatest danger of all. So what works are there to do in order to keep our love alive and not dead? Could it be that a preacher man can tell you what works you must to in order for your love to thrive? I suggest, certainly not. Could even a Holy Book tell us specifically what must be done? We think not. Oh for sure we can get guidance from Holy writings that we believe are inspired.

Here is where it gets really good. I am sure that in my life I learned more from my father than all my 18 years of school study. Why? Well because my father was a good man, and in so being he did good things. A physician by trade, back with house calls and trading treatment for what could be given. Chickens and eggs and yard work and fruit. And so very often nothing at all. My dad was trained Jesuit and later became an agnostic of religion and believing in a Supreme Being. What this gets to is leading by example and attraction rather than promotion.

Have no fear

In a billion years the earth will still be here through the acts of nature.
In a billion years the earth will still be here through the acts of nature. | Source

Please be a bridge by your hand out as an act.

Please Lord always let my actions speak louder than my words.

If you have never read the short Epistle of James – don’t delay it is cool on this subject. Bummer there for some as he kind of debunks the notion that speaking is action. You know what I mean, part of that empty gong concept. It also does not settle too well for those who like to throw scripture around like a police baton. One of the best things about James is the relative anonymity. Folks love to argue about just who this James was, which leads us to understand that we really don’t know. Which gives us the freedom of just looking at the words without prejudgment due to authorship or for that matter that it is in the Bible.

Did anyone ever tell you to do as they say not as they do? That is just downright laughable. I do have this recurring picture of myself in a recliner, swilling beer, watching TV and belching as I scream at my son to do his homework. hihihi

This is really neat. There is a double whammy here when we do good in the name of love. Oh sure somebody gets the benefit of our good work, but many many get to see our example of doing good work in love. (hard to rectify with the above mentioned doing good in secret – but I am sure you can rectify that issue)

Hey let us wrap this up! Just last week I told my wife that I love her. Nothing remarkable there and she responded in kind. I commented that we had not been saying that lately. She looked at me with some consternation. And so I commented that I reckon we don’t need to, as I do not have enough fingers and toes to count all the loving things we have done for each other lately. Our love is not rock solid, it is fluid and growing each day.

So contrary to what you think we were getting at here. Love and Faith are not really dead without works. Or maybe they are, but only God knows just when the work is to be done, and He will let us know in love.


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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence, always a pleasure to have you comment. I was just thinking about this the other day when I had to ask my wife if something was wrong. Her action was a scowl on her face. She changed to a smile. Such a little action can definitely show our love.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 13 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      James is one of my favorites! Action without love doesn't work, but love always leads to action, even if it's just the 'action' of moving the mouth to say the words.


    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dianna, again I apologize for the lateness in response. You remind me of my mom calling me in at the back porch. Close to dinner time my sphere was limited to the sound of her voice -- or else. Back then we roamed blocks and blocks from home in search of the butterflies or who knows what. A funny part was taking a bath in the laundry room sink before I could enter the main house. What I am talking about is an example of her providing for my needs. Can I do the same for everyone I meet? Well she taught me to at least try.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hari, I must apologize for the late response. It seems my friends at HP had a glitch and I did not get my auto notice. It seems as though we must accept the seasons. A time will come for everything. Often they will come within a single day.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 14 months ago

      I have to say that my parents' example of love was my best teacher for life. They lived what they believed and their actions showed it more than words could ever tell. I enjoyed your sharing and thoughts on this topic.

    • shprd74 profile image

      Hari Prasad S 14 months ago from Bangalore

      Great sermon, Eric.

      My thoughts after reading it...

      Can your read the writing?

      that which is within your sighting.

      Carry that which is burning within,

      and never be wary of your path chosen.

      Every route varies,

      yet, leads to one almighty.

      Get enlightened, thence,

      brighten, your surroundings.

      - Hari

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Just where in the heck do my 25 or so Hummingbirds go when it is 100?

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 14 months ago from San Diego California

      No birds flying here in Chulajuana. Closet is a chilly 85. It's not hell on Earth, it's just Purgatory.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Now with our seasonals coming into bloom, like certain palm trees and mesquites and don't even mention "fall" crab grass. And then if you will whip up the thermometer to 103 and then throw a constant wind of 35: I do not even care if you are allergic. You have now gotten allergies. Where is that 25 lb sledge hammer I use on my head this time of year?

      I take it as an act of kindness if people just do not flip me off during these episodic portions of hell on earth.

      I would love to write more but my buddy down in Chula Jauna invited me to come hang out in his closet. Kind of cramped but under 89 degrees.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 14 months ago from San Diego California

      Did you peek into my window from across the lake using your telescope in Spring Valley in order to formulate that image of yelling at your kid to do his homework while swilling beer in a wife-beater t-shirt while watching the Chargers lose again? On a Sunday afternoon, no less?

      I hope the driving dust of the Santa Ana has not blown you off the map over there. I almost dried out and was carried away by the wind yesterday, but my customers kept me hydrated with their loving bottles of water until I could finish the route and get home to wash the grit off my skin.

      Acts of love, or did they simply not want me to drop dead on their property? I don't know and I don't care, I'll take it either way.

      Your words are always complex and powerful. Great sermon.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Denise, I am sorry to have missed your visit. I have these pesky problems of a mother-in-law dying and cancer. I think I am distracted. I really like your comment on saying I love you but being a jerk. Does it make a liar out of the "lover"? It seems that way to me. Speaking without acting seems hypocritical at best. Thank you for giving that idea to me and others.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John, my internal clock is readying itself to come over to SE Asia, pretty much your part of our globe. We are going for family reasons so we can be with failing grandma/mom, good friend. We have ulterior motives besides love in and of itself. Our own feelings. We worry, stress and are anxious. So by going we relieve that.

      I don't think I have done any good for anyone that did not have the ulterior motive of feeling good.

      I worry for your friend and your feelings that the situation is not optimum. But I thank you for helping my fellow person.

      I do figure that this is why we pray.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I am late reading this, Eric, but I always seem to read your sermons at the time they are needed. My wife and I have been helping an elderly friend since her husband passed away two weeks ago. She has been staying with us rather than her family who have mostly had little to do with her. We had promised her deceased husband we would care for her.

      Now the family has emerged saying that we have only been helping her for ulterior motives etc. She has given into the pressure and moved out to stay with her daughter in law, and we feel our kindness wasn't appreciated by anyone.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 14 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I never tire of hearing my husband say, "I love you," in fact, the more often, the better! To me, love without works is empty indeed. If my husband says, "I love you," and then turns around and ignores me for the rest of the day, I will not believe him the next time he says it to me. Without his positive actions toward me, my family members, and our household, his expressions of love would be a lie. To me, love, faith, and works, go hand in hand.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Manatita, let us be gentle and forward looking so that as is the heavenly plan we grow together and never apart.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, sometimes I admit to running from something. Perhaps real honesty the most. But in your writing you cause me to run to you. Perhaps it is your spiritual honesty. Don't care! I thank you.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda, my darling sister. I am blessed to have you in my life. And therefor I have gratitude to all in your life that were or are a part of making you who you are.

      But try as I might I cannot console you. Death to this body to me is like when my son and I found a butterfly trapped in our screen room. I captured it in joined cupped hands and moved quickly to set it free. Perhaps it had a purpose to teach my son and I. But it fulfilled that purpose and was flying off to heaven.

      Your family touched you and continue to. They touched me by touching you.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 14 months ago from london

      Interesting ending. Nice take on James. Some things to ponder here. Much Love, my Friend.

    • profile image

      Threekeys 14 months ago

      I am sorry to hear of your wife's and your's challenging news about your mother-in-law. I cannot imagine how you both must be feeling...

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Rich, to my understanding neurologists seem quite certain that we have at least several more "senses" than what we commonly recognize. Some even say 15 or more. We are far more than what we know.

      We must always strive to do better.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 14 months ago from The Caribbean

      "Our love is . . . growing each day." That is what matters, and the more it grows the better we learn to express it.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Eric - So much good stuff here my head (and heart) are spinning.

      Your question in the 2nd paragraph is indeed in the Bible. Matthew 5:15 says "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."

      And your next paragraph was established by coach John Wooden: "The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching."

      Truer words were never spoken.

      "No man is an island" is a mantra I have clung to in all that I (attempt) to say and do. I sincerely believe that our Heavenly Father placed us here to love and support each other.

      Example--My next door neighbor is dying from Alzheimers. I help her husband take care of her. Why would I do that? Not for money (there is none), not for acclaim or fanfare (ditto), and not even because some might think it will give me a road to Heaven (that's not how it works!). It's simply because I love these people; they have a need and I have the time and ability to help. Period.

      And as I reflect on the remainder of this hub, I think about my dad who was so loving and selfless. When he married my mom he became an instant dad to three other children, and loved and treated them as his own flesh and blood. I think about my sister-inlaw (wife of my brother and also my Godmother) who we laid to rest today. Believe it or not she selected the scripture readings and the hymns that would be sung today--and they were all focused on giving encouragement and love back to us! That is the type of person she was--always the servant, always giving to and loving others.

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 14 months ago from The Ekklesia

      I also find blessing in things I don't understand. What some mean for bad God will use for good.

      You know if animals can know that people are sick and want to stay with them why should it be strange for us humans to also be able to know something that we "technically" shouldn't know.

      I pray for you, your wife and her mother that any and all things that are about to happen only draw everyone closer and more loving. May even bad things that may happen be turned for the good.

      Eric it is a blessing from God when we are able to see the loving hearts of other people, God has allowed us to see the heart by their words and deeds what a privilege to see God's work in action.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Rich, something funny is afloat. I just had to come by and check that you were not spam. You spam??? I think HP had some issues for a bit and are trying a fix.

      Rich I found a blessing out of a person who is an utter annoyance and harmful to some inquiring about us crazy Christians. I watched your interchange with her and learned as I went. So she is of some use.

      That idea of taking action at the right time -- the "yets". Hit me hard last night. My wife was hit with real sadness. She was a mess last night. In fact her aging mom had been diagnosed with cancer -- my wife had no way of knowing except for her feelings. I am a buffoon, I set out to make her feel better in my love. She clearly needed me to shut up and just do nothing but be there. Thank God I am still a work in progress.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Boy o Boy Bill you and I are blessed with better halfs, that is for sure. I need to up my game as I still feel I have no right to have her in my life.

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 14 months ago from The Ekklesia


      I enjoyed reading your posting.

      Your comment: “I just had a loving thought. No one is around to share it with. But it is good because I am someone and it was good to me,” reminds me of something I heard a Catholic Priest say once. “The thought is the Father of the Action”. I searched for who said that first to no avail, but realized that who said it first or who actually said wrote something is not the point. (Note your James comment) It sounds about right to me. Your thoughts that were good to you may become loving actions to someone else. I have found that as the days march by I often forget to allow my good thoughts to become actions. I have made the decision instead of complaining about my memory loss, I’ll call it “God is not ready for that action out of me Yet”. :)

      Thank you for your thoughts


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      A valuable lesson for all...especially poignant for those of us who have been married for is so easy to take things for granted....anyway, buddy, thanks for the reminder.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you threekeys. Love is truly and action word.

    • threekeys profile image

      Threekeys 14 months ago from Australia

      Love is a verb. Love is a doing word. I love how you showed your wife how much you loved her by telling her. We all can do with more love in our lives and sharing more love around. A little word or kindness here and there can be just what the Doctor ordered.:)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Momma has but a tiny window in which to live. We will take action to be by her side. We shall take action to love. Though we console and love each other. Our marching forward is our greatest gift. A world away we shall arrive with our love in our hearts and our prayers by our side. Sometimes we do well to comfort and support. And be there-really.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 14 months ago from United States

      My friend, you are so right. When our actions speak louder than our words we must be doing something right. Nice sermon. Blessings to all. whonu

    • Marion Drury profile image

      Marion Drury 14 months ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thank you for your sermon. Very thought provoking as usual - which is always a good thing.

      This world, and the portion of it in which we live our life, desperately needs to see the love we feel in our heart expressed as a natural overflow in the way we live, talk to each other, care, help and show a kindness here and there.

      Always enjoy reading your sermons.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby, You just do this thing that only you can do like you do. I confess I could be a bit of a mess. I was doing "skating by". Well my life said that that is non-starter. His walk, My walk. My life or the universe's -- I do not have the luxury of knowing. I think writing is an action. Always good for sender and receiving.

      My I write to you that your support and love makes a difference. And that makes a difference to others.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 14 months ago from Southern Illinois

      You made this so simple, we can do specific acts in love without any work involvement, then we can do works displaying love. All is good and pleasing to God. I think bragging about something done in love is unnecessary. God knows our heart's. I love your sermon Preacher Man. We are so blessed to have you on HP. Thank you..