First, sorry for being late – honestly thought I was due tomorrow. Today’s message from James is one that is tough – right between the eyes for us. It comes to us in 2 parts – the first about boasting…can you see James talking to an individual who is proud of his/her own plans – apart from God. Plans that come from his/her confident nature – they are assertive…doing this and that on their time schedule…carrying on business…making money? Don’t get me wrong – as is typically the case in the Bible – making money is not usually the problem. The problem, like this passage, is again, the individual’s focus and it is not solely about money – it is the prideful nature…the boasting that is the problem.
Segue into the second part where James talks about a life lived in the wrong direction. Just like every other reading on storing up of riches, well, you all know how that goes and James only serves to punctuate the point clearly. Riches rot away…
The phrase I land on today comes in 4:17. When I was working for Exelon and involved in management/union negotiations these were, to many, times to be avoided because they were tense – often filled with anger and animosity…both sides wanting to get their own way…not budging an inch…individuals acting selfish and only interested in their own personal desires. On both sides, greed was a driving force. I learned something from these sessions – “do right voluntarily”…most of the individuals at the table knew the right things to do but greed usually got in the way. When we could focus on the bigger picture we could easily get to “do right voluntarily”.
James points us in the same direction…do right voluntarily – we need to be focused on the bigger picture each day. Just like the negotiating sessions, things will not always be perfect and end in a “smiley-face” day but it did create a sense of what was important. Do right voluntarily today! Each one of us as Christ-followers are here for a much bigger reason…do right voluntarily!