Today’s Sunday school lesson came from James 5:1-11. It was an Interesting lesson and I came away with some new angles at some concepts.
Before we look at these concepts, let's remind ourselves of whom James was talking to and whom is he talking to today. For starters, The Bible, in a general sense, is written to all humanity. But we must realize that the general message, besides a history of God’s people (both the nation of Israel and the early church), is to accept Jesus of Nazareth as LORD and Saviour. That is really all the nonbeliever is really able to comprehend. The nonbeliever’s eyes and ears are not open to the specific truths God wants to reveal to us as His people, as His children. Now in the specific sense, this book we as Christians hold sacred is a blueprint for life. It IS the TRUTH, the whole TRUTH, and nothing but the TRUTH. In that sense, God is speaking to His people.
Now for starters, to the rich who we're "successful" because of their misuse of those less fortunate, the LORD’S brother was saying, "God will get you for that!" These rich we're Christian rich. Why would a nonbeliever care? He won't believe these words anyway! But to a Christian, especially one who has not fully grasped the concept of love thy neighbour as thyself and who one’s neighbour is, these first 5 verses hit home.
Then James, in verse 7, shifts gears a bit. "Don't worry about retaliation, revenge, etc., that's Gods job, so let God be God. You have your own chores to tend to." When our mind is on payback, we aren't able to focus on serving God, and that is our job. We have no business trading evil for evil. It is our place to turn the other cheek. I am reminded of God’s admonition to the Hebrews in Deuteronomy, “Vengeance is mine.” Sayeth the LORD, “I will repay.” James is telling us to be patient, keep on sharing the Love of Jesus, Leave any retaliation for evil to God.
Now you may ask, “Well what am I supposed to do?”
In Verse 7 James starts to tell us.
First, Patience is a virtue… God will take care of everything, but it is on His timetable.
Second, strengthen one’s spirit. Now that, like patience is easier said than done. But it is done by spending more time with God, more Bible study, and more knee work. Yep, I’m lacking there myself. I can study His word and sometimes I feel I know it well enough to head for the cemeter… , er seminary and teach a few classes. My problem is that I don't spend time actually talking and listening to God. Simply reading our Bible is not listening. We … I need a stronger attitude of prayer and working to be as David was… a man after God’s own heart.
Finally, James tells us to squelch the complaining and gossip. Say What? You mean I can’t even let my frustrations out to a friend? Nope… Take it to your best Friend, Jesus. Leave it there. You won’t be sorry. I know I’m not when I do.