James is such a rich book in the Bible. It begins it’s journey instructing us on wisdom. It then talks about partiality and taming our tongues. It shows us what true wisdom from above is and talks about how we should therefore live before God. But it all climaxes in the last chapter as James is summarizing his thoughts. He basically gives three points for mediation.
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days…You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
- Beware of greed…
James issues a judgment of those who live a life to be self-satisfied instead of being satisfied in God. The part that strikes me is “You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.” All I can think of is a turkey that sees all this food around him and decides it can’t hurt to eat. So it gets fatter and fatter, not knowing that it’s being fattened to be dinner. I can see “wise turkeys” not eating (fasting) and therefore passing becoming dinner (cause who wants a scrawny turkey?).
Likewise, James is telling us that if we knew what was coming and what lies behind the bend, we would strive to live a fasted life.
You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
- …Cause the Judge is at the door…
James urges us to see the what is coming is not a *what* but a *Who*. This is a typical theme in the Scriptures (“watch yourself cause He’s coming”) but James takes it one step further. He says the coming of the Lord is so close, He’s literally at the door. James is telling us that the way to live a fasted life is to keep the coming of Jesus at the forefront of our minds.
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
- …So pray.
James ends his summary by saying in light of the coming of Jesus, we should pray. Pray for everything (forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, weather, etc). The summary point of James is “PRAY”. James even states the importance of prayer in the beginning of his letter when he was talking about wisdom (James 1:5-8). A life rooted in prayer is the only answer to living a fasted lifestyle in acknowledgement of the Coming One.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Small note here at end. James concludes his book with a seemingly random thought about bringing people back to the truth. But James doesn’t say this randomly. He says this in context of needing a praying life. Our answer for seeing people walk away from the truth should not be to judge them, but to labor in prayer for them…cause it’s the only way their “souls will be saved from death.”
So this Thanksgiving, while we’re all eating turkey and fattening ourselves (lol), let’s remember James’ words:
Beware of greed cause the Judge is at the door, so pray.