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Read Introduction to James


“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit…”


to such and such a city, spend a year there,

James’ businessman has everything laid out.  He knows where he is going and how long he will spend there.  This is a self-reliant, self-sustaining businessman.  He travels all over the Roman Empire, doing business in the major cities of the day.  His contacts make him a major player. 

The sin James refers to here is not the making of business plans; no business can survive without planning.  Rather, their sin was not acknowledging the providence of God in their plans. They did not put their business in the hands of God. 

Business people of this verse do not procrastinate nor are they slothful, but they are great planners.  They follow a set plan yet they forget that God may intervene into their plans.  They act as if they were makers of their own destiny.  Tomorrow may never come; they may encounter a shipwreck. 


Business plans without trust in the providence of God may produce financial shipwreck. 


Plans without God will produce distress.  People who set their hearts on economic prosperity will not enjoy their wealth.  They do not live their lives for eternity but for time. 

Ps 49:11, “Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever,

Their dwelling places to all generations;

They call their lands after their own names.”

It is one thing to be rich toward the world, and it is another to be rich toward God.

Lu 12:16-21, “Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”