Summary: Advice from a friend . . . it can be extremely helpful and life changing if listened to and applied. Jim has a lot to teach us. Let’s listen and learn.
According to Jim
Practical advice for practical living! Wisdom that we often fail to apply or live out and therefore we pay the price. Let’s listen and learn!
1Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.
(You thought you were piling up wealth. What you've piled up is judgment. All the workers you've exploited and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger. You've looted the earth and lived it up. But all you'll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse.)
A. According to Jim the one with the most toys doesn’t always win!
The people Jim encountered must have been like those around us. They flaunted their wealth. They showed their wealth through — grain, clothing and jewels. James says all of those things will decay. If you are not careful, you will give your entire life for things that will not last and that have no eternal significance. There will be no U-Haul attached to your hearse!
In verse 5, James says the people have used their money selfishly. Jim is not against toys or wealth. He simply makes an indictment on how much power money has over us. Money, houses, cars have become our God. We allow them to control our time, our thoughts, our planning, and our hearts! We become possessed by possessions!
Who owns your soul? What or who are you loyal too? The most important aspect of money management is the control of our attitude towards it. Money is not “the root of all evil” as Paul is often misquoted. His actual words are, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”. Just as selfishness and ambition release all kinds of evil into the body – the love of money is the root from which all kinds of evil can branch out into your life.
7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
(The Master could arrive at any time.)
B. According to Jim we should keep one eye peeled.
We have forgotten that Jesus could come back right now! We have no expectancy anymore of rapture or return and it causes us to rupture relationship.
One of my favorite groups growing up was called DeGarmo and Key. My best friends and I used to try to dress like them. Recently the lead singer/guitarist, Dana Key, died and much to the chagrin of Julie I decided that on our vacation this summer my kids should have the benefit of tasting the sweet nectar of my music. As I listened, it struck me about how many of their songs (on the 4 CDs we listened to over and over again) referred to the 2nd coming. Songs like “When He Comes Back”, “Ready or Not”, “Are You Ready”, “Alleluia, Christ is Coming”. It caused me to stop and think about the songs we used to sing in worship services, (some escapist I agree) like I’ll Fly Away, The King is Coming, We shall see the King, I can still hear Jamie’s grandfather starting “Tis a Glorious Church . . . Wave the banner, shout His praises, For our victory is nigh! We shall join our conqu’ring Savior, We shall reign with Him on high!). I realized that most of the songs we listen to today and sing in church no longer push us to remember we are only days, moments, and seconds from the reality of the return of Christ!
We have lost sight of the hope. We live with our head, our eyes, and our hope down! If we would live with one eye pealed, understanding that the 2nd coming is closer now than ever it would impact how we live. It used to impact how folks lived. They lived prepared. They lived with their hearts set on heaven. They lived watchful. Now we get mired down. We live unprepared. We live undisciplined. We have our hearts on earthly concerns and treasures. I came to shout with Jim . . . People get ready Jesus is comin / Soon we’ll be going home / People get ready Jesus is coming / To take from the world His own.