Be Patient and Kind
7My friends, be patient until the Lord returns. Think of farmers who wait patiently for the autumn and spring rains to make their valuable crops grow. 8Be patient like those farmers and don't give up. The Lord will soon be here! 9Don't grumble about each other or you will be judged, and the judge is right outside the door.
10My friends, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They were patient, even when they had to suffer. 11 In fact, we praise the ones who endured the most. You remember how patient Job was and how the Lord finally helped him. The Lord did this because he is so merciful and kind.
12 My friends, above all else, don't take an oath. You must not swear by heaven or by earth or by anything else. “Yes” or “No” is all you need to say. If you say anything more, you will be condemned.
13If you are having trouble, you should pray. And if you are feeling good, you should sing praises. 14 If you are sick, ask the church leaders to come and pray for you. Ask them to put olive oil on you in the name of the Lord. 15If you have faith when you pray for sick people, they will get well. The Lord will heal them, and if they have sinned, he will forgive them.
16 If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot. 17 Elijah was just as human as we are, and for three and a half years his prayers kept the rain from falling. 18 But when he did pray for rain, it fell from the skies and made the crops grow.
19My friends, if any followers have wandered away from the truth, you should try to lead them back. 20 If you turn sinners from the wrong way, you will save them from death, and many of their sins will be forgiven.
James now ends his book in theStory speaking to us about words. How do we speak to one another?
James emphasizes verse twelve saying “above all else” as he encourages us to speak simply using single syllables. “Yes” or “No” is all you need to say..” in order to remove us from compromising ourselves by hedging the truth. Our walk is to match our talk. In addition to using words of truth, we are to live lives of truth.
He then commends using our words to call for help when needed. If we are sick, we are to ask the leaders of our church to anoint and pray over us. We are not to go through life alone as Christians. We are to be in community.
My daughters-in-law often say to our grandchildren, “Use your words” when the kids are tugging, wanting something. Our heavenly parent wants us to “use our words” also. Ask him for what we want in prayer. Our prayers are of great influence. They help a lot!
We have a group of intercessors at our church who “lean into” praying. They confess, ask forgiveness, then intercede over needs. When we pray together we often find ways we can also help, and in that way sometimes we can be an actual answer to the prayer request.
James was nicknamed “camel knees” by the early church for he was constantly on his knees in prayer. He was obviously impacted by Jesus, Elijah and others in how he prayed so fervently before God.
As James concludes his letter to the early church, his last words are as if he were saying, “Oh, and one more thing.” Then he shares what is very dear to his heart – seeing people saved by a living relationship with Jesus. We are to point others to Jesus.
Jesus, may I be one who uses words to ask for help in living my life of faith. May I also use my words to point others to you. As I do so, remind me if I am getting in the way. Amen