• Tony Birkhead

The right TOOLS for the job



Where is your treasure; this life or the next?

INTRODUCTION

We each to an extent are the some of our experiences. We were brought up a certain way in a certain home with a certain set of values. It’s through these circumstances and the providence of God that character begins to develop in our lives. As we grow and experience more life our character gets put to the test. How do we check our character?

KEY SCRIPTURE

James 4:13-5:6

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Are you the type of person who loves to make plans, or are you generally more spontaneous and non-committal? Give an example that illustrates your preference.

How does thinking about our lives as “smoke” check our pride about our lives and how we live them?

Do you consider yourself financially rich? What would your life look like on a daily basis if you, according to your own definition, were rich?

Focus on chapter 5 verses 2 and 3. What are some material goods that you depend more upon than your heavenly Father?

Do “riches” necessarily mean material possessions? What are some other ways we can be “rich” and misuse those resources in ways that hurt others?

How does your character reflect where you keep your treasure?

PRAY TOGETHER

God, forgive me for all the times I haven’t kept a proper perspective regarding the wealth you’ve given me. Help my character to reflect the blessings you have placed in my life. Help my character to point people to you this week. Amen!

MOVING FORWARD

  • In what kinds of circumstances are you most tempted to cling to your time and your money?

  • What does giving God control over your time and money look like practically in your life?

COMMENTARY

James 4:13-17

Do not yield yourselves in-blind confidence to your planning, to go from city to city with a view to traffic and gain, but realize your transitoriness and dependence on God! Otherwise all your knowledge of good will turn to sin and judgment (vv. 11–17). Ch. 4:4–17.

James 5:1-6

These admonitions, the Apostle concludes, in the seventh place, by a powerful denunciation of woe on the rich, doubtless on the Judaizing Jewish-Christians and Jews who called themselves poor but thought themselves rich in their Jewish privileges, and here the affinity of his mode of statement with that of the prophets, becomes quite prophetical. It contains the prophecy of judgment, of a judgment which, with the destruction of Jerusalem, soon afterwards came upon Judaism. Let them weep, i.e., be penitent. Their riches are corrupted etc., i.e., all their self-righteousness has turned to sin and disgrace. They confide in and boast of this treasure before the near day of judgment. But that which brings judgment rapidly near is the crying of the hire withheld from their labourers and reapers, the ingratitude to and the rejection of Apostles and believers, who had undertaken the harvest of Israel. The day of slaughter, which shall come on their pleasure-life, is nigh at hand, and has opened with the condemnation and murder of the Just, who now no longer arrests their running into destruction (ch. 5:1–6).

#James #fulfillment

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