The day that you send your first child off to kindergarten has many similarities to the day that you wave goodbye to them when they leave for college. Although you know that you have done all you could to prepare them for this new independence, there are still so many things that you would like to say to them. The desire to remind them of practical things is huge, but there is also the inclination to share some of your deep desires for them as they embark on this new adventure. Will they make friends that will help them? Will they be respectful and careful? Will they be responsive to the opportunities in their classroom? Will they protect your family name and their own reputation? Will they be willing to make choices that are good and wise?
While James called the recipients of his letter his “brothers and sisters”, there certainly was a sense in which he felt a parental type of responsibility for their future. Clearly he wanted them to keep in mind all that Jesus had done for them and the promises which were theirs to claim as children of God. At the same time he felt obligated to give them some very practical advice. His affectionate admonitions would help them as their wealth increased, as they waited for Jesus’ return, and as they encountered needs within their own fellowship of believers. Certainly his reminder to pray, to pray about everything, might have been the most important concluding message that he could give to them.
If James were writing to you and to me today, how different or how similar do you think his concerns might be? What would you include in your letter if you were writing to your church or to a group of believers with whom you are friends?