Warning to Rich Oppressors
For me chapter 5 sums the book of James all up. Throughout, I have thought that this book is all about our motives behind what we are doing in our daily life. This chapter echoes that, and adds a twist… the Judge is standing at the door. How difficult it is for “rich” people to submit to God. We look at our spending, and think about how I did this, or what investment I made to get that… yet everything we have comes from God. How we use it should glorify Him. Verses 4-9 really speak to this for me. James is basically saying… you can do this… just look at Acts 2 v. 44-47 – it talks about this very thing – this uncommon thing of the actual rich selling things to help the poor – it really can happen. The poor guy on the street corner need us…
Patience in Suffering
V 7ish… With all that in mind, next is the treasure to come. We need to be patient. People who are short sighted will look at the farmer planting seeds and will think early on…what has he gotten today after putting in those seeds – nothing….he is working so hard and so long what has he gotten today – nothing yet…. But our focus needs to be on the future not today. The ultimate outcome – the treasure if you will – is God. We need to be patient with everything we do. That God works on His own timetable – not ours.
v. 11 – Job lived through a lot of hard times, suffering, yet God validated him in the end. Ultimately will need to get involved in the agenda that brings us closer to God – understanding that our agenda is not important, rather God’s agenda is. If we put Him first, fantastic things are going to happen.
v. 12 – This brings my thoughts back to my earlier comments about being interested or committed. If I am committed in my faith and love for God and say – yes – then nothing will stand in my way. The same will go for no.
The Prayer of Faith
v. 13 – interesting part for me. First off I will say that we all need to pray. We all need to pray for others. We all need to pray in an unselfish way. This makes me think through a question that was thrown at me not long ago about coming up with a one sentence prayer. The thought being we all struggle sometimes coming up with the perfect prayer, with the perfect words, in the perfect order so that it “sounds” right to you and me. Well, my one line prayer is “Help me, teach me, guide me.”
From there though, I have a question about this section… Is this physical sickness or is it our spiritual sickness. If it was physical sickness – and God answered all of our unselfish prayers to heal someone, I guess that none of us would die… So I will take it from the stand point that the bible is talking about the spiritual sickness and I believe that is where this is going. Jesus will ultimately heal us all – when He returns – in the interim we are all working on our spiritual sickness.
v. 17Elijah, as I understand it, is one of the great heroes of faith? Basically a righteous man can accomplish amazing things as long as we continue to bring everything to God. Now this isn’t just the one and done approach. It is the life long, asking for help, begging for help type of prayer… it is about laughing during good times with our God…we cannot just pray to pray, rather we should pray with a dependence.
Some final thoughts that came out of my men’s group this morning:
· We have to allow the scripture to challenge us, every one of us.
· We must come humbled and ready to learn – like a child.
· Do I learn and appreciate lessons better by suffering though them or succeeding?
· Who do we rely on?
· We must be humble enough to reach out to friends/peers/everyone for encouragement and rebuke.
· What rules our lives?
· I’m blessed… am I missing something by not suffering?
In conclusion – For me the book of James has brought out that I really need to look at my motives more closely when I act, and I need to ask myself who I rely on….
Cool study, thanks for the ride.