Is treasure in the last days different from other days? James was the leader of the believers in Jerusalem in Acts 15:13 when the Apostles met to make a decision about the Gentile converts and whether they had to keep the Law of Moses. The years have now moved on; James is writing as the chief elder for the believers in Jerusalem. It is now only a few years before the city would be encircled and then destroyed by the Roman armies in AD 67-70. James’s comments in his final chapter are initially directed at the situation that was then developing and the terrible future the city faced. It also relates to the future our world faces.
James warns them of the approaching last days, “weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you, your riches have rotted … You have laid up treasure in the last days … you have lived on the earth in luxury and self-indulgence” (5:1-3,5). This is so true today. Remember in 2 Timothy 3 the reference to conditions in the last days (verse 1). Primarily this was about the condition among believers; they would have only “a form of godliness”. But James continues, “Be patient (steadfast) therefore brothers until the coming of the Lord … establish your hearts … the judge is standing at the door” (James 5:7,8). These words are so helpful for believers today.
The end of Gentile times appears to be increasingly close. The godlessness around us is as much a sign to us of the nearing “end” as are troubles in the Middle East and God’s Holy Land. James states, “Behold, we consider those blessed who remain steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job” (verse 11).
So, as we read Job for the remainder of this month we should remember how James sees him – an example of enduring despite much perplexity of mind about his situation. He is an example of the perplexities believers face in some parts of the world today – and this may spread everywhere soon. Our thought should be to ensure we have the right kind of treasure – that which is described in the parable of Luke 12:13-21. Read and reflect on the points our Lord makes and become “rich toward God”.