James 4:13-5:6-Living as if God Doesn’t Matter-August 14, 2013
Many times people make plans without considering God in the equation. Worse, we sometimes make the plans we want to do and get frustrated if God doesn’t bless them. What is God’s will for me? How will I be serving God? How will I be a blessing to others? What potential temptations or traps will affect my Christian faith?
In the business world the model is generally what is the greatest R.O.I. or return on investment? This approach is not the best model when it comes to our relationships in the body of Christ and our relationship with Christ. James wants to remind us that life is temporary. We are like vapor or mist that will all too soon be gone. Life will be gone more quickly than we think. Most of our individual lives and acts will be forgotten in time, but some of our collective good will remain and advance society and the kingdom of God. Little of what is being done on earth now will matter one day in the future. The great exception is that which is eternal.
The best this world can offer is temporary, because this world itself is created, temporary, and therefore not eternal or lasting. There is nothing wrong with making plans. Paul made plans based on the fact that God mattered to him. We should not make our plans without God and then ask the Lord to bless them.
We need to seek and learn the will of God, and then do the will of God, which allows God’s will to saturate all our thinking. Just as Jesus knew the will of God included the cross, He agreed to do it even though he did not necessarily want to. “Yet, not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
Sin is more than just doing wrong things. The sins of omission are those good things that are left undone. Failing to look for God’s will is sin. It is also sin to know God’s will and not do it, being hearers of the word only not doers.
Hoarding wealth demonstrates trust in self instead of trust in God. Jesus’ parable about talents demonstrates that God gives wealth to be used for his purposes (Luke 19:12-17). Hoarding wealth also shows we do not care about God’s purposes and are just interested in ourselves; thus, it is a sin of omission. It also reveals a lack of love and concern for those in need. Human wealth has no eternal value. What could be accomplished with that wealth might have great eternal worth.
The illusion of wealth is that it brings security and is lasting. Nothing that appears permanent and visible is really lasting. Security is found in God, not in the accumulation of wealth. Sadness or misery can come from the grief of losing all the possessions that we trusted in for security or a in repentance recognizing that we trusted in the wrong things for security that took us far from the will of God. We are only stewards of what God provides for us and allows us to handle.
How we treat people matters to God. Some see people as a resource to earn more money. Although wealth is not lasting the consequences of our actions can be. Our decisions can have both direct and indirect implications. Direct implications are when we participate in or knowingly ignore unfairness to others. Indirect is more of the accumulation of things that produce luxury and self-indulgence while ignoring those in need directly in front of us.
The Letters of James and John-BaptistWay Press by Tom Howe ©2010 (51