Are You Ready?
Read James 5:9 (ESV)
Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
Why do you think James included his admonition about “grumbling against one another” in the midst of encouraging them to patiently wait for the Lord?
“Mom and dad are on their way!” are seven words that can light a fire under kids left home alone. Usually, a mad scramble ensues as they run around trying to put the house back in order and complete their to-do list. If they hear the dreaded sound of the garage door opening or the door handle turning before they are ready, they know they are in trouble.
But they knew the expectations before their parents went out, right? The to-do list was written, the “get-along” speech was given, and the consequences were all laid out before mom and dad even left the house. Wouldn’t it have been wise to just obey right away? Why wait until the last minute and risk being found unprepared and disobedient?
The same questions apply to us as well. In today’s verses, James said, look, the Judge is standing at the door! In other words, Dad is coming home! The question is, how will He find us? Completely unprepared? Scrambling? Arguing and fighting? Or, ready and doing what He told us to do while we wait?
In Luke 12:42-47, Jesus told His disciples this parable about being ready for His return. He said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of the servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.”
All throughout James’ letter, he told his recipients how to live out their Christian faith. In Christ, the Jews had a newfound freedom! The same is true for us as well. As believers in Jesus, we are not under the law but under grace. We are saved by faith and not by anything that we do or don’t do. Still, James has made it abundantly clear that our actions matter. How we live our lives while we wait for Jesus’ return has significance. Good works do not save us, but they are evidence of a saving faith (James 2:14-26).
One area of Christian living that James specifically addressed was “do not grumble against one another.” James previously devoted at least 3 paragraphs to the topic of taming our tongues and using our words wisely and now, he brings it up again. This time, right in the midst of a discussion about being patient in suffering. When times get hard, patience runs thin, frustrations abound, and unity is tested. But as the family of God, we can’t turn on each other, sin against each other, and stir up division in the midst of suffering and persecution. That is when we need our brothers and sisters in Christ the most!
Friends, because we have placed our faith in Christ, we know that on judgment day, we will not stand before Him condemned. But the fact of the matter is that we know our Father’s will. We know what we should and should not be doing while He is away. James told us how to live as believers in Christ. It’s what his whole letter is about. So, let’s be good and faithful servants who are prepared and ready whenever Jesus opens up that door.
Father, thank You for Your Word, which clearly communicates Your expectations for Your children. Help me to put Your Word into practice and live my life according to Your will. I want to be found faithful and obedient at the moment of Your return. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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