We are at the end of the book of James, chapter 5! I hope you have learned along with me, that James sure did care about his flock. As a pastor, it seems he left nothing out, when writing to Christians about how to live a healthy spiritual life that is pleasing to God. Chapter five sums up a few majorly important details that he touched on earlier. This tells me that these are very important!
He warns against the love of money and riches and self-seeking pleasure in these things.
Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. James 5:3 NKJV
Wow! He pulls no punches! That sounds harsh doesn’t it? I think James cares that much, to tell the tough truth and to make readers pay attention to it. Sort of like tough love, huh? He references “the last days” which makes me think…
Our life is like a story that either WE write or we allow God to. One day, we will come to our last days on earth. Will we be proud of the parts of the story we wrote? Did we allow the Lord to be the author, or just the editor, who fixes our mistakes? Have we spent a huge amount of time in our story gathering treasures….or have we been actively waiting for our real prize, Jesus?
Further in James, he continues this future vision of sorts by telling us,
You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! James 5: 8-8 NKJV
The coming of the Lord is at hand! That means close enough to warrant preparation! The best preparation we can do is to know and act like Jesus is coming soon! James says the judge is at the door! Are we prepared? Is our heart right? In our story, have we let God be the hero? Have we served as His obedient child?
Lest this seems too “preachy,” please know I am just posing questions I would ask myself, so that I can attempt to keep a future vision. I find that hard to do at times! A pastor told me a long time ago…Our Christianity is like a car. It needs constant maintenance. If we fail to keep an eye on how it runs, it will eventually break down. Just as a car needs all kinds of regular checks, so do we.
At the end of the book of James, he details what godly actions are towards others and it is real simple….meet their needs.We can pray for them, feed them, give them clothes. James points out how important prayer is to a brother who has sinned. In our church community, we are to be like family. With family, we will gently call someone out in a loving way, if we see them stray. Can you imagine if we were going astray and the pastor or a good friend never made us aware of it? With grace, we can both give and receive a good word from our family. We should be able to confess our sins to our brothers and sisters and lean on each other as we pray and seek the Lord. That bond is so important. James says:
Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. James 5:20 NKJV
Whew! James sure covered it all! This was a tough set of devotions for me because his letter, or book reads much like a rule book. It is not though. I can see his heart. It is a loving, caring pastor that wants his flock to continue to follow in the Lord’s light and actively wait for His return by filling their lives with actions of love to others and to God.
We have all sinned and regretted it. Thank You for making a way we can have a clean heart. All we want to do is live our best life for You, so please guide and direct us in YOUR way. Forgive us for our sins and help us to forgive others too. Give us a great big heart of love and concern for others. Urge us to be part of their life story and tell them about You. We love You so much! Amen.
With the love of the Father to you, always praying what I write helps you in some way:)