James 1: 9-11 Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, 10 and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.
When we got back from vacation, I couldn’t wait to see if my garden survived my long absence. Had the hot weather and lack of rain destroyed everything? Would there be anything left?Fortunately, my garden survived pretty well. Except for two of my tomato plants -both heirloom beefsteak varieties. Better than half of the leaves were dry and brown, the fruit small and misshapen.
We all know plants wither in the hot, dry weather.
James uses that same imagery to talk about what happens when your life is consumed by busy-ness, especially the busy-ness of gaining wealth.There will be places in James where we squirm. In outlining how to live as a follower of Jesus, James often will use examples that get us right where we live.
This is one of those times.The fact is, we live in a overly-busy society. There is so much to do, so little time. We have to go, go, go. James sticks out a hand and says “Stop.”
In the midst of a busy life, “the rich” wither. The ‘poor’ do not wither – apparently James assumes that they don’t have a busy life and have time for relationships, for community, for God.
We’re going to leave the ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ designations aside for right now. James has a whole lot to say about rich and poor, so we’ll get to it. For us right now, James’ analysis of what causes the ‘withering’ is spot on: too much busy-ness. When our activities get out of balance, the effect is just like hot, dry weather on a plant.
James reminds us that it’s not the committees we serve on, not the sports and activities our kids are in, not the extra hours at work, not any of the activities that we are so busy doing – none of that will give us the things that nourish us. Peace. Rest. Relaxation. Connection with God. Time with family. Time to ourselves.Think about your life. Where are you over-stressed, over-committed?
Something to ponder:Can you name one activity or area of your life where you can step back this week and give yourself time to reconnect to something that nourishes your soul?