Saturday, February 10, 2007

it's a jimmy thing #5


jON said...

carmel corn anyone? deliciously home made. enjoy.

intersting that the chapter break was put where it was. it almost seems to break the flow of what was going on here. he ends ch. 4 by exhorting people not to say that they are going to stay in a place and do business and make money. not to boast like that, and that to do it is sinful. then he starts right back in on "business-folk" telling them that their riches are not going to do them much good. in the end, they are going away.

and i can't help but wonder, "who is he talking to?" were there rich believers he was talking to? or was he just ranting into the air releasing pent up frustrations? because in my readings of acts, early believers were selling EVERYTHING they had and sharing with one another on a daily basis. everyone had everything in common. or was he addressing a group for whom this was not so? hmmm. sharing everything and keeping nothing specifically for yourself is definitely something we no longer practice in such an extreme way as a world culture. not that it doesn't happen anywhere, it just is not the norm.

and of course, later, he brings up this judging business again. saying not to. i'm really going to have to look into this now and do a study of judgement. i'll let you know what i find.

i love how he exhorts his sisters and brothers to endure. to keep persevering through the hard times. and to love one another even when times are hard. and to confess and pray for each other on a regular basis. to humble ourselves and admit shortcomings to one another so that we can pray for each other.

the last two verses (as well as others throughout) leave me wondering, "was james aware of grace?"

Nate said...

My goodness he needs a writing course to get his thoughts in order. One minute it is the oppressing rich, then be patient, then prayer for needs, then finnally bring back the fallen brother. The man was eveywhere in his thoughts. I do not think that this was an actual letter as much as a bulleted advice memo. (not just this chapter, but the whole book) Looking at it in this light makes it easier for me to understand. Obviously, whoever divied out the letters into books, chapters, and verse got bored of his job about the time he hit James.

Anyway, I see four themes in the chapter. The first talking about how people will sell their spirit for the things of this world, and do things that at judgement, will cost them dearly. I do not get the sense that just being rich is bad, but how you got rich by cheating others is bad.

Next, even though things can be bad following God, be patient and persevere. For it is worth it in the end.

Then two verses that just out of the blue say, do not swear on things, just be true to your word.

Then praying for specific needs. Many times we do not get because we do not ask. Sometimes we do not ask because we think that we should not ask, " A good christian would not pray for something like that." A sometimes we do not ask out of shame, we just want it to go away, and especially not to to God about it. But talk to God about every need we should, just like our best friend. He knows what we did already anyway, and loves us enough to help.

Last but not least, help a fallen brother back to the light.

I think maybe the reason the chapter break was as it was, is because none of this ran together to make a coherent string of thoughts, so was just grouped into Miscellaneous.

So far the least meaningful chapter to me.

Susan said...

I also don't get the sense that being rich is bad v.1-6. In that day it was assumed if someone was rich they must have God's favour, which is obviously not true and perhaps what James is pointing out. James complaints are: v.3 they hoarded wealth; v.4 they failed to pay the workmen; v.5 they lived in luxury and self-indulgence; v.5 they fattened themselves; v.6 they condemned and murdered innocent men. In summary they were oppressors and selfish – no wonder James was upset with them.

Patience gets a big rapt in V.7-11 and perhaps this links in with chapter 1:2-4,12. If we are patience rather than rushing in trying to immediately fix things, the result might be that we see what the Lord wants to bring about, instead of what we want to bring about.

The second half of v.13: Is anyone happy? He should sing songs of praise. I hear about house churches and emergent churches where they don't sing. I find this odd, are they unhappy?

Valorosa said...

:-) Be back later as Wendy ftfs ... thought I'd share my new blog with you ...

Going to watch a movie and do laundry ... check in with you later when life isn't making me think of other things ...

Jon, tell Erin and Zaavan hello ... hope all is well.

Valorosa said...

I'm thinking he is including the rich who boast about tomorrow in the first few verses as directly following from Chapter 4

end of James 4
"All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

Who more than the rich are in the position to use their resources for good.

then James 5 starts with "Now listen you rich..." and is speaking to those who have lived in self indulgence and have been unfair and even murderous with their wealth.

I'm also thinking that these same rich people that James addresses are those who are using their money and influence against the apostles ... friends of the scribes and pharisees perhaps ???

If you have ever read The Heavenly Man about the suffering of those who follow Christ in China in an uncompromising way and anyone today who is persecuted for doing what God wants them to do .... you will hear the Holy Spirit say these very things to you now ....

"Be patient in your suffering and pray the prayer of faith" ... that is what this chapter says to me ... Elijah was an ordinary man ....

Note the last verses

"My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

In AA I have recently come to find out the whole idea is to follow God and DO what God would have you to do ... they have a whole network set up to bring their brothers and sisters back from the error of their way ... no dos or don'ts just an admonishment ... is this what God would have you do? No finger pointing because the ones who lead them back don't consider themselves any better than the ones they are trying to help ...they remember their own days of drug abuse ... they consider it their duty to help another in the same place...I'm thinking they are way ahead of the present day church in saving people from death and covering a multitude of sins ...which incidentally is what love does ... and who is love but God Himself.