Focal Passage: James 5:1-11
No obedient Christian would steal his neighbor’s car and claim it for himself. However, he may be tempted by a more subtle form of theft: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).
Simply stated, theft is sometimes a matter of withholding instead of taking. James spoke against rich land owners who failed to pay their field laborers, but continued to live in the lap of luxury. He warned these men that their theft cries out to God against them.
Frugality may be a virtue, but God has nothing good to say about cheapskates and thieves. A former farm equipment dealer once told my father, “A deal is only a good deal if it’s good for both parties.” I used to think a good deal meant that I negotiated a sale far below the sticker price. On the contrary, the Bible calls us to do to others what we would have them do to us (Matthew 7:12). We should want a good deal for both parties.
James exhorted offended believers to be patient and strengthen their hearts as they await the Lord’s return. While we should be wise in our business and interpersonal transactions, we should expect the evil dealings of a fallen world.
When we keep our eyes on Jesus we are reminded that He’s in control of our finances, relationships and future.
Furthermore, we must avoid groaning against each other and bringing judgment upon ourselves. James exhorts us to follow the examples of the prophets who endured suffering with patience. He further highlighted the endurance of Job and God’s compassion and mercy toward him.
When we seek to get even with the people who have wronged us, we ignore Scripture’s exhortation, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord” (Romans 12:20).
While we merely attempt justice with our limited knowledge and power, God knows the heart and addresses the real problems. Let’s trust in Him, even when we have been wronged.