Summary: God’s provision is provision for the vision... not for our squandering or hoarding.
Pro-Vision. James 5:1-6 WBC 16/11/03am
Paul Harvey told about a 3-year-old boy who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered the grocery store she said to him, "Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask."
She put him up in the cart & he sat in the little child’s seat while she wheeled down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. He saw the chocolate chip cookies & he stood up in the seat & said, “Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.” So he sat back down.
They continued down the aisles, but in their search for certain items they ended up back in the cookie aisle. “Mom, can I please have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you that you can’t have any. Now sit down & be quiet.”
Finally, they were approaching the checkout lane. The little boy sensed that this may be his last chance. So just before they got to the line, he stood up on the seat of the cart & shouted in his loudest voice, “In the name of Jesus, may I have some chocolate chip cookies?” And everybody round about just laughed. Some even applauded. And, according to Paul Harvey, due to the generosity of the other shoppers, the little boy & his mother left with 23 boxes of chocolate chip cookies.
Provision. Mammon. Money
Good old James! Bit hard hitting, eh?
Is this to Christians?!
- unsure. Certainly the letter, ‘sermon’ is to Christians
o so ‘why preach to those not present’?
o however- these folks may well be unbelievers- who fed the ‘unprotesting’ Xians to the lions
6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.
- = like Jas is preaching and talks over cong. & opens the windows
But who am I to argue with God’s word. Christians were meant to listen to this. We need to, as well, & understand because
- money is such a POWER!
- Let me clarify- IT’S not evil. Rather
o Love of it (1 tim 6:10) and poor.. wrong use is:
§ See it in the a divorce- vitriolic over money
§ The incredibly long hours people work
- it’s a power in our society
o who wants to be a millionaire? Forget it for an instant- I do!
- It’s a power to us Christians
o Has power to destroy our soul OR build the kingdom
o Xians often stall, stagnate, because of THIS issue
Anyway- what’s the root problem with these guys (Xian or not)?
- all about self. All being used for self
- their self-identity, security, significance… trust is in mammon, money
Whereas these things are PRO-VISION:
- God’s provision for the vision
ON EARTH v5-6
Speaks about “luxury and ‘self-indulgence’
- ‘Luxury’ is not speaking against pleasure… good things!
o Jesus had a luxury inner garment
- The word means ‘extravagant’ comfort. Stressing ‘softness of luxury’
Similarly- ‘pleasure’ (NIV Self-indulgence) is talking about going beyond pleasure into vice
- there being no restraints or self-denial, whatsoever
- no resistance when there’s a hint of comfort & enjoyment on offer
Irrespective of others and their needs
- sense of ‘fattening self in the day of slaughter’
- picking over the bodies for clothes, a belt, food, money
… and going home rejoicing
- blissfully, selectively, blind to the cost for others
How do WE apply this?
- enjoy life. Be grateful. ACCEPT God’s provision with out GUILT. (God’s grace & love is the motivation for us)
o and along with it the big or small responsibility of stewardship (using it wisely)
But don’t ‘have to HAVE’ everything. You don’t!
- live WITHIN your means. Simply.
- Restrain yourself for the sake of others:
o Cars- use less (cycle!)
o Money – give a chunk of your ‘tithe’ (more in a minute)… or above that… to the poor
§ Tear Fund. Support a child.
§ Appeals. Kosovo.
o Time… as well
Truly- it is more blessed to give than to receive
- some of us need to move on by getting serious over this
o (me, 3.5 years ago deciding to do so in Majorca)
- it is PRO-VISION rather than just the PRO-DUCTION of our efforts
AT WORK v4
I know we don’t sin in the commission of murder these folks are accused of
- but this covers what we CAN fall into: OMISSION
- forgetting to pay the right wages… a debt etc
I must admit – I’ve almost found myself omitting ‘deliberately’ in the past
- leave the note somewhere I know I’ll forget! (wrt God)