Tag Archives: Object Lesson

Second Chance: James 2

James 2:5-7 & 12-14. [NIV]

√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?…12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

It’s only a few days until the celebration of our nation’s freedom. We’re in another time of turmoil about freedom now, but this time it’s not our own.  This time we’re confronted by the object lesson of current events demanding we consider who deserves to be free, what freedom demands of them and how much we’re willing to invest of what God has given us so they can be free?  We are dependent on the mercy of God triumphing over the judgment of men as we struggle to find answers to those questions.  Many others fought in 1776 for the freedom we celebrate this week but here’s God’s challenge for us to consider now.

“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”

Our challenge is to have mercy for the reality of physical need not judge the integrity of their desire to be free of tyranny and oppression.  Our nation was built by many other people who were judged ineligible and exiled from their home, but by the mercy of God’s grace they were given a second chance to invest their lives and resources “in order to form a more perfect Union.”  Were they perfect?  Of course not! 

This is the truth of freedom then…and it’s still the truth of freedom now. God will hold us accountable for our actions “because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.”  It makes no earthly sense that “mercy triumphs over judgment” but it makes no heavenly sense that we have exploited the poor and honored “the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong.”  

Lord help us!  Help us this July 4th of 2019 to “speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.”  Lord make us so “rich in faith” that we can honestly promise we’ll invest our blessings in others seeking freedom and in your truth that “mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Repentance of Gratitude

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

This morning was a perfect object lesson for me. I spent 8 or 9 hours working on this title…Repentance of Gratitude…only to accidentally delete the whole thing as I tried to copy it. Despite my best efforts it was apparently meant just for me to practice what I preach.  I hope this  reconstruction is just what God had in mind for you to read.

Lent is fast coming to an end and I’m still learning about repentance. It’s easy to reduce it to it’s simplest definition, “being sorry.”  Regret is certainly part of repentance but James has led me to another path of thought. What if there’s a another side to repentance that involves our ability to live a good life?

We work so hard in so many ways to live that “good life” that we can hardly escape our sense of entitlement that what we have, even our wisdom and understanding, comes through our own efforts. It’s the sacrifice of that entitlement that becomes the repentance of gratitude for all God has given. Those unplanned surprises and less-than-lovely tasks that happen daily are opportunities to practice “deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”  That’s what the repentance of gratitude is all about.  Those object lessons come every day and last longer than Lent.

“Who is wise and understanding among you?” Remember to practice the repentance of gratitude every day and “show it by [your] good life…”