Scripture: James 4:13-5:6
Key verses: 4:17-5:1 Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin. Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you.
Reflection: Ouch! These are harsh words from James.
If we are tempted to think of sin as “the bad things you do,” James corrects us by expanding sin to include NOT doing the right thing. If we focus only on the sins you do (commit), James reminds us that we also sin by omission. We keep our mouth shut when we should speak up. We hide behind our busy schedules and avoid serving our neighbors. We live in our bubble and ignore the problems in the world around us. James is a stinging realist, shocking us with our own mortality and making it clear that we are called to be people of action if we are disciples of Christ. Use the time you are given to do the good you are called to do.
James has stinging words for those who are rich. He offers a glimpse of the future in which all of our earthly possessions will be rusted and rotten. Accumulating possessions is ultimately meaningless because they have no eternal value. God is a God of justice and, eventually, the poor who have lived in great need will be vindicated. In ways we hesitate to admit, our wealth is built on the poverty of others. That is true whether we buy clothes sewn by underpaid workers or we eat food harvested by migrant laborers treated unfairly.
Let us hear the wisdom of John Wesley who wrote “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” How will we do good today? With all of our possessions and our abilities and our time and our energy?
Prayer: “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee; take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise; let them flow in ceaseless praise.” Take my hands, take my feet, take my voice, take my silver and my gold, take my intellect, take my will, take my love – take all of me, O Lord. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].