James 1 v 9 - 12

As James saw it, the Christian faith brings to every person what they need: the despised poor gain self-respect, the proud rich learn self-abasement. A church service in India emphasises this truth as top caste Brahmin sit shoulder to shoulder with Untouchables (Dalits). It's generally more subtle in English congregations, but there are still many churches where race, colour, wealth and academic achievement mingle freely and humbly together. Social distinctions should be obliterated in fellowships, one no more important than another. In the Early Church, slaves frequently would preach or dispense the bread and wine of Communion. Everyone matters to God, everyone is useful to Him. Muretus, the wandering scholar, once stated: ''Call no man or woman worthless for whom Christ died.'' For the wealthy convert, it of necessity brings a period of re-adjustment, as the old sense of security-based on pensions, investments, property- are shown to be highly insecure, the only absolute security being Christ alone.

James throughout his letter encourages his readers to approach times of testing and trial with joy. These periods both demonstrate the love of God for the individual and prove to be times of purification and reduce one's dependence on worldly matters and things.

There is a true reward, both in this life and the life to come, waiting for those who persevere. In this life, they become men and women of sterling worth. Show me the Christian who is rock solid, dependable and compassionate and they will have been through sufferings and trials to have reached that place. My dear aunt was transformed from being a marginal Christian to one on fire for God, whom anyone in trouble would go to see, through the cancer she endured. She has died and she will have received the crown of life in the eternity she is now enjoying, the crown marking times of joy, royalty and victory.

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