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Today’s message is from James 5:7,「Be patient, …until the Lord’s coming.」James encourages us to be patient until the Lord’s coming, looking to farmer, prophet, and Job as example. Today, we’ll learn and think about being patient. Last time, we learned from James 4:10,「Humble yourselves before the Lord, (and he will lift you up.)」Those who humble themselves accept their imperfection, instead trust in God, and they wait upon the salvation that God promises to give. It is promised that the Lord will lift these people up. Let us be aware, that our life is given from God. We are the ones who believe in Christ, have a hope of heaven, and live each day toward completion of salvation. When we lose this purpose, I believe we often tend to face a setback. We can learn that from rich people losing their purpose in today’s passage. Now, please read James 5:1-11.
James 5:1 says,「Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.」The warning is given here for rich people, who lost their purpose and became slaves of money, and they cannot manage money properly. We are suppose to manage our money wisely, use this gift to serve God and serve people. Let us read 1 Timothy 6:17-19.「Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.」(1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV) We, believers are the ones who serve God and people by using wealth. We also lay up treasure for ourselves as a firm foundation for coming age. On the other hand, it is true that there are some rich people who selfishly become slaves of wealth just like James 5:2-6 mentions. Sadly, it might be the same in the field of politics. People’s lives are taken lightly, wages of poor are unpaid, all because of some people’s greed, and sadly there are many rich people who indulge in luxury and pleasure. However, God’s perspective is clear. Their wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten their clothes. Their gold and silver are corroded. Every rich man will stand before God’s righteous judgement. Wealth doesn’t last forever. It cannot give them true life.
James 5:7 starts with word “then, brothers and sisters,..” The author speaks directly to us Christian with love, to correspond to these rich people.「Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. 」The author says that the Lord is coming. Someday, we will witness Jesus coming back with the clouds. Jesus will come as a judge of all mankind. That is the promise of the Bible and our faith. To be patient until the Lord’s coming is not passive. It is patience with hope that will come, and it is not only for us. Romans 2: 4 says,「Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?」
God himself sees us humanity with compassion, patience, and forgiveness. God is patient with the sins of mankind. That’s why James points out that we should also be patient. Let’s endure until the Lord’s coming. James gives three examples in this passage.
The first example is a farmer. James 5:7 says,「..See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.」They look forward to precious harvest, but they have to wait until it rains in autumn and spring. Farmers sow seeds before the autumn rains in October and November. Then, the seeds become ripen during the spring rainy season in April and May. The farmer patiently waits for this rain. They know that the harvest will come after the rain that God has prepared, so they wait patiently. Just like this farmer, verse 8 encourages us to「…be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.」(James 5:8 NIV) Let us wait upon God’s help and provision prepared for our lives.
The second example is a prophet. Verse 10 says,「Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.」(James 5:10 NIV) There are many prophets in the Old Testament. They point out the sins of people, encourage them to repent and wait upon God’s help when they face their country about to be destroyed. It is recorded that there were many prophets who accomplished such a mission. Isaiah and Jeremiah are one of them. They spoke a message like, “there is a new life that God prepares for you. A savior will be born.” These prophets continued to speak up such hope in the midst of hardship. We also want to follow these prophets and bear the fruit of repentance (Matthew 3: 8) and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23).
Verse 11 talks about the perseverance of Job.「As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. (You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about…)」(James 5:11 NIV) Please take time to read the Confession of Faith in Job’s Trials. Specifically, if you read Job 1:21, 2:10, 13:15, 16:19, 19:25, you will be encouraged by the faith of Job. I believe that it was a great blessing that Job was restored physically and materially more than ever, and above all, he was able to gain a deep insight of mystery of God’s omnipotence and providence. (Reference ;Job 42: 1-6.)
Now, let us respond to this word again, “be patient until the Lord’s coming.” Surely, the Lord will come back. Let us hold onto this hope, and wait upon Him patiently.