James Series

James 5:11 – Perseverance: An Important Job Description

Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

This week’s text is a continuation of last week’s, so it might help to read that one first.

So, now you’re up to speed on the fact that James is telling his Christian readers that they should be patient in their current time of distress. To illustrate the concept of patience, he uses the prophets.

Now, as we come to verse 11, I think it’s clear that James is anticipating another objection…and objection I have often heard (and perhaps used?): “I know the the Bible says x, but my situation is different…”

In order to counter this argument, James plays the Job card.

So you say you have it rough, and therefore your disobedience is justified? Alrighty then. Did you lose all your personal belongings at once? Did every single family member die (except perhaps the one you wish had)? Was your health completely destroyed? Was none of this of your own doing? Did you then have three friends spend several days trying to convince you that it WAS your doing?

No? Well then…you can persevere.

And if, by some off chance, our sufferings ARE comparable to those of that venerable Old Testament patriarch, then we can say, with him,

Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.

But it’s not just Job’s perseverance that James holds up for us to see…and this is the encouraging part. James specifically refers to “the end intended”. In Job’s case, we know that he was richly rewarded in this life. His perseverance earned him the title of “blessed”. And James is making the direct comparison to us as well. Here he may be referring us back to what he wrote earlier, about our perseverance being rewarded with the crown of life.

Like Job, we may see the rewards of our perseverance in this life. The night is often darkest before the dawn. But even if that is not the case, our reward is guaranteed. James would certainly agree with the apostle Paul:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

*Banner image: Job and His Friends by Russian painter Ilya Repin


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