May 10th, 2007
Although you might not feel it, the whole of your life is an experience of running out of money. You have a limited number of days left. You have a limited amount of energy. You have a limited amount of resources. The question is, what are you doing with them? You might be accumulating wealth as if it was worth something, when you know that its value disappears completely the instant you die. You might be using sharp business practices to help yourself at other people’s expense. You might be living indulgently and luxuriously. If that’s what you’re doing with your life, then James’s warning is that it’s time to weep and lament, because troubles are coming…
The Letter from James — Chapter 5
5:1 Wealthy people, weep and lament because of the troubles that are coming for you. 5:2 Your wealth has decayed and your clothes are moth-eaten. 5:3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and consume your flesh like fire. You have accumulated wealth in the last days. 5:4 Look, the wages which you stole from the labourers who harvested your fields cry out, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5:5 You have lived your time on earth indulgently and luxuriously. You have fattened your hearts ready for the day of slaughter. 5:6 You have condemned and murdered innocent people who did not resist you.
5:7 Friends, be patient until the Lord returns. A farmer waits for the valuable crop from the earth, and is patient until it has received the early and late rains. 5:8 You must also be patient. Fortify your hearts, because the Lord’s return is imminent.
5:9 Do not grumble about each other, friends, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door. 5:10 The prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord are an example for you of suffering and patience. 5:11 We consider those who persevered to be blessed. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen what the Lord did in the end, and how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. 5:12 Most importantly, friends, do not make an oath, either by heaven, or by the earth, or by anything else. Let your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no,” so that you do not get condemned.
5:13 Do any of you have problems? They should pray. Are any happy? They should sing praises. 5:14 Are any of you sick? They should ask the elders of the church to come and pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord, 5:15 and the prayer of faith will heal the sick people. The Lord will restore them, and if they have committed sins they will be forgiven. 5:16 Confess your sins to each other, and pray for each other, to be healed. Prayers of righteous people are strong and effective. 5:17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 5:18 He prayed again, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
5:19 Friends, if any of you strays from the truth, and is brought back by someone, 5:20 understand that the person who brings back a sinner from the wrong way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.
Entry Filed under: Generosity