James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Growing up in a working-class neighborhood next to an airport surrounded with first generation immigrants, many fleeing poverty and persecution from around the globe, I had a very unusual upbringing. Unlike nearly all my friends in the neighborhood I had two things. One, I had a dad who was still married to my mom and involved in my life, starting with coaching my baseball teams. Since I was the only kid on my first team with a dad, he ended up being our coach even though he’d never played the game. Two, my dad worked very hard to provide for us five kids and my mom – to the point that he broke his back hanging drywall to feed us.
I knew my dad loved his family because he showed it. He stayed married to mom, got up before the sun every day to go work himself to death, and came home to spend his hard-earned money on his family – not his hobbies or addictions. My dad never wrote a book about love, but he served, doing whatever it took to provide for our family. Joseph was the father to James and Jesus, and he was a blue-collar, working class, poor man who said little but did much. He never wrote a book of the Bible, but he raised boys who did. The book of James reminds me of Jesus and James’ dad as well as my dad, who is also named Joseph.
As we come to the end of our study of the book of James it has been a school of practical Christianity from beginning to end. Like His brother Christ who came down from Heaven to get His hands and feet dirty on the earth, James’ version of Christianity is very earthy. For James, faith is less about the tomes you write than the deeds you do. James could care less if you can win Bible memorizing competitions in Sunday school if you live like hell the other six days a week.
What has been your biggest takeaway studying the book of James?