Today is October 1, almost the end of 2020, and today we come to James 5, almost the end of his letter to encourage Christians “scatter among the nations.” Yet again he reminds us that wealth is not an honest indicator of eternal success nor does it protect us from trials. The rich and wealthy are victims of Corona, of hurricanes, and of car accidents. Remember James’ opening, rejoice in trials and let the test develop perseverance, patience, work to develop and perfect you. He returns now to that same theme. Be patient. His example, the farmer.
Leaves are beginning to change colors, garden plots are being prepared for the winter, canning is coming to an end and now we hunker down for the cold. Even as we trust that Spring will come, the Christian trusts that the Lord is coming to establish justice. What helps us wait and anticipate?
Using the example of the farmer, I think of those jars of canning that speak to life and blessing. What have we canned and stored in our hearts for the winter, memories of grievances and losses or memories of blessings? One of the disciplines of the missionary lifestyle is writing letters to friends far away. When I go through my address files and remember all the people who have blessed my life, I am always thankful. When I see all the variety of colors of falling leaves, I remember that God has multiple ways to answer my prayers. The produce of the past, predicts the blessings of the future … Thanksgiving is coming.
Secondly when I think of Fall or Winter, I think of wind blowing the leaves, the sound of rustling leaves, the visit of friends for celebrations. Perhaps it means more time inside doing crafts and listening to music. Music helps me be patient. When trials come, if I turn on music, I am always encouraged.
Reading edifying literature like the Bible also encourages me. I do not know what helps you to be patient but James is convinced that trials come to build us as we learn to be patient and wait for spring. Perhaps it is time to take inventory of your resources for dealing with trials and your ways to find encouragement. God is faithful and he is coming. V. 8 “the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble!” Blessings.