In James 5:1-11, we read about two things that won’t last forever. Realizing the temporal nature of these two things will help you to live your life differently. You will begin to live your life in the light of eternity. Here are the two things from James 5:
- Your stuff won’t last forever
- Your suffering won’t last forever
Stuff won’t last forever.
That statement is a sobering reminder to not put too much stock in the stuff of this world. That would include houses, cars, boats, computers, other technological gadgets, or any other material thing.
Yet, people spend their entire lives accumulating material stuff. We as followers of Christ who live in the affluence of North America must battle this lifestyle. Daily.
Did you know that less than 10% of the world’s population owns one automobile? That means if you have at least one car, then you are richer than 90% of the people in the world. We as followers of Christ who live in the affluence of North America must battle against materialism. Daily.
James 5:1-6 (HCSB)
1 Come now, you rich people! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you. 2 Your wealth is ruined and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3 Your silver and gold are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You stored up treasure in the last days! 4 Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the land and have indulged yourselves. You have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned—you have murdered—the righteous man; he does not resist you.
Commentators are divided on whether James was addressing believers or unbelievers in these verses. Some say he was talking to believers, and they point to the fact that James addresses this letter to the “saints that are scattered abroad” (James 1:1). Others look at the behavior and lifestyle of the rich people described in James 5:1-6 and say there is no way that a true follower of Christ could act that way. In either case, we as Christ-followers can learn much from these verses.
- What words are used in James 5:1-6 to describe what eventually will happen to all stuff?
- What attitude does James encourage people to have toward possessions?
- What are some of the main atrocities committed by the rich people in these verses?
- What do you learn from these verses that you need to put into practice immediately?
- What big things do you learn from these verses that you need to change over time?
- How does the urgency of “the last days” put in to perspective what is really important?
Suffering won’t last forever.
Life experiences can be tough at times, and sometimes it seems that the suffering of financial crisis, relationship issues, health problems, religious persecution — or a host of other things — will never end.
But the child of God knows that this world’s suffering is only temporary. It may last one more day, or even for the rest of your life, but even then it is STILL only temporary. Eternal life is just that — it is life everlasting!
James 5:7-11 (HCSB)
7 Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door! 10 Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
- What words in James 5:7-11 help us to know what our attitude should be like even in the midst of suffering?
- What positive character traits are mentioned in these verses?
- What do we learn from farmers, according to these verses?
- What do we learn from prophets?
- What do we learn from Job?
- How does remembering that God is our judge actually help us during times of suffering on earth?
- How does knowing that God is full of compassion and mercy (James 5:11) help you during times of suffering?
- How have you seen God make you stronger through times of suffering in your life?
- Read James 1:2-5. How do these verses relate to James 5:7-11?
- What is one thing you will do to put the words of James 5:7-11 into practice in your life?
PRAYER: Lord, help me to live life with eternity in mind. May I always be grateful for the resources entrusted to me, but help me to remember that stuff won’t last forever. My hope and joy are in you, not in earthly things. Also, help me to be mindful that suffering won’t last forever. No matter how difficult life gets, You Lord will be with me all the time, and you will make me stronger through the suffering. You are compassionate and merciful. Help me to NEVER forget that!