Friday 22 November 2013

Bible Book:

“Be patient” (vv. 7, 8)

James 5:7-12 Friday 22 November 2013


James is writing for an audience who were expecting Jesus'return at any moment. They had seen or heard about both Jesus'life, and the day of Pentecost, as recent occurrences. It's nowonder that they were expecting something to happen soon, andJames' analogy of the farmer waiting for rain fits well for thosereaders. But 2,000 years later, we can be forgiven for wondering ifall this waiting isn't a bit unnecessary. After all, the farmerdoesn't know exactly when rain will fall, but science, geographyand past experience can confirm it for them. Our waiting has notonly become a vague thought that it might happen, but a realisationthat (because the waiting will probably be fruitless) we might beforgiven for not really considering Christ's return a imminentpossibility.

But is this a dangerous thing to acknowledge? Does it make uscomplacent in our actions and preparations? Well, maybe it does,but there are added benefits too. These early Christians who haveread James' words will certainly factor in a Second Coming intotheir thinking, theology and ethical choices. They were sensible todo so, given all that had changed in the past 60 or so years, butwe (thanks to the shifting of probably timeframes) are freed up toconsider other things: perhaps the legacy of the Church, or thestate that we might leave the universe in when we die, or whetherwe're truly sharing Jesus' good news properly with the world.Obviously, those who followed James did excellent work, but we canbuild on that in new and different ways, assuming that we are herefor longer. I fully acknowledge James' previous chapter which lambasts thosewho plan, but I also hope that I can use the good sense God hasgiven me to make bold decisions!

To Ponder

  • The metaphor of waiting for rain helps our patience. When mightyou need patience when speaking of God?
  • What do you hope the church will look like after your time hasended? What could be done to help sustain that vision?
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