October 11, 2014
READ: James 5:1-12
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return (v.7).
On the occasion of billionaire Ted Turner’s 75th birthday last year, a news channel’s profile opened with these poignant words: “What will matter most about Ted Turner’s life story when they roll the final credits? That he started the first 24 hour news network? Built a fortune once worth $10 billion? Was Time magazine’s Man of the Year? Received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame? Made The New York Times best-seller list? Maybe it was that time he raced a sailboat faster than anyone else. Or the year his baseball team won the World Series. Impressed yet?”
The profile gave a fascinating account of a man reckoning with his life. Now, though he has tasted much success, Turner is concerned with the legacy he will leave, and he’s returning to basic questions about the reality of God.
James, near the end of his letter, speaks to those who must deal with the reckoning we’ll all face—where the quality of our lives will be tested (5:1-12). For those of us who receive our value from how much wealth we gather and how much influence we exert, there is much peril. “Your gold and silver have become worthless,” James says. “The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire” (v.3). Lives built on selfishness can’t endure.
But to those of us who place our value in God’s mercy, there’s great hope and promise. “Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the autumn and in the spring. . . . You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near” (vv.7-8).
It’s not inherently evil or good to possess great wealth. The crux of our life is whether or not we know that our life comes from God and that we depend on Him alone. God gives us life now, and He will return to bring our earthly lives to a good end. —Winn Collier
365-day plan› Acts 4:5-22
Look again at James 5. Where do we find examples of enduring in the midst of hardship? (see vv.10-11). What are some examples of those who live selfishly? (vv.1-5).
How does your life signal hope in God or dependence on self? How can the promise of Jesus’ return transform you and your perspectives on life?