James 5:3 Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days
The more money a rich man has, the more comfortable he feels about the future. Why worry about drought, recession, etc.? If you just have enough money, there is nothing to worry about. The underlying premise of most financial planners to amass as much wealth as possible so that one can retire in luxury. All of these endeavors are dangerous for the soul.
They are exactly opposed to the counsel of the Lord as found in the Sermon on the Mount: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." (Matt. 6:19-20) Wealth deludes the rich man into thinking his future is secure. However, the scriptures point out that his future is anything but secure. While he has been sitting back thinking, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." The Lord has a message for him, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:19-21)
Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! (DC 56:16)
The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth. (Autobiography of James Brown, pp. 119-123.) (Preston Nibley, Brigham Young: The Man and His Work, 4th ed.[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1960], 127 - 128.)
James 5:4 the hire of the labourers... you kept back by fraud
Spencer W. Kimball
"Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it...." (Deut. 24:14-15.)
"And to me that means, woe unto them who will rationalize, who will explain away their errors in these matters, who justify their oppressions. Farm hands, domestic help, and unprotected people are often oppressed, when economic circumstances place them in the position where they must accept what is offered or remain unemployed. And we sometimes justify ourselves in underpaying and even boast about it:
Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.
And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. (Micah 2:1-2.)
(Conference Report, October 1953, Second Day-Morning Meeting 53-54.)
James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren unto the coming of the Lord
Bruce R. McConkie
None of us know whether we will be alive when the Lord comes or not. Life hangs on a thread, and death is only a breath away. Nor does it matter whether we meet the Lord in life or in death if we have watched for his coming and are ready for the meeting. "I testify . . . that the coming of the Son of Man is nigh, even at your doors," the Prophet Joseph Smith said. "If our souls and our bodies are not looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man; and after we are dead, if we are not looking forth, we shall be among those who are calling for the rocks to fall upon them." (Teachings, p. 160.) In life or in death it is the same. If we are prepared to meet him in life, we will be prepared to meet him in death. Hence the call of all the prophets to the saints in their days, no matter what age was involved, has been: Be ye ready now; prepare to meet thy God as though he would come in whatever dispensation is involved. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 690.)
James 5:10 Take... the prophets... for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience
Robert D. Hales
Examples of faithfully enduring to the end are taught by prophets of all ages as they demonstrate courage while enduring trials and tribulations to carry forth the will of God. Our greatest example comes from the life of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. When suffering upon the cross at Calvary, Jesus felt the loneliness of agency when He pled to His Father in Heaven, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46). The Savior of the world was left alone by His Father to experience, of His own free will and choice, an act of agency which allowed Him to complete His mission of the Atonement...
In our dispensation, the Prophet Joseph Smith endured all manner of opposition and hardship to bring to pass the desire of our Heavenly Father-the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph was harassed and hunted by angry mobs. He patiently endured poverty, humiliating charges, and unkind acts. His people were forcibly driven from town to town, from state to state. He was tarred and feathered. He was falsely charged and jailed.
Imprisoned at Liberty, Missouri, and experiencing deep, emotional temporal feelings that his own hardships and the tests and trials of the Saints would never cease, Joseph prayed: "O God, where art thou? ... Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and ... be moved with compassion toward them?" (D&C 121:1, 3).
Joseph was told, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment" (D&C 121:7).
Joseph knew that if he were to stop going forward with this great work, his earthly trials would probably ease. But he could not stop, because he knew who he was, he knew for what purpose he was placed on the earth, and he had the desire to do God's will.
The pioneers-who left their homes in Nauvoo, Illinois, and elsewhere, traversed the great plains, and settled in the Salt Lake Valley-knew who they were. They were members of the Lord's Church newly restored to the earth. They knew their purpose or goal-to not only find Zion but to establish it. Because they knew that, they were willing to endure all manner of hardships to bring it about.
During the past year, I have been touched by those who understand this doctrine. They have faithfully endured opposition, trials, and tribulation in their lives and, in doing so, were not only personally strengthened by their experience, but they also strengthened those around them by their example. ("Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure," Ensign, May 1998, 75-76)
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure
"'Behold,' wrote the Apostle James, 'we count them happy which endure.' (James 5:11.)
"In this vein, President Joseph Fielding Smith suggested that enduring to the end involves the acquisition of those attributes that bring happiness. 'We must endure to the end,' he said; ... 'We must so live as to acquire the attributes of godliness and become the kind of people who can enjoy the glory and wonders of the celestial kingdom.' (Ensign, Nov. 1971, p. 5.)
"While some may see enduring to the end as Suffering through the challenges of daily life until death introduces them to a better world, Latter-day Saints are given a different perspective. Brigham Young said, 'Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation.' (Discourses of Brigham Young, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954, p. 345.) Such a perspective, as Elder Neal A. Maxwell points out, enables us, even in the most pressing of circumstances, to pass 'the breaking point without breaking, having cause to be bitter-as men measure cause-without being bitter.' (A Time to Choose, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, p. 42.)" (Robert J. Woodford, "I Have a Question," Ensign, July 1986, 30)
James 5:11 Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord
Undoubtedly Job's mission in life was to be an example to all of us. His life of suffering was specifically designed to be completely unfair, yet he did not blame the Lord. If Job suffered what he did without accusing God, no one else is justified in blaming God for their set of circumstances. His remarkable suffering came without any fault on his part. Can that be said of the suffering of the wicked? His friends exhaustively blamed him for his misfortune, repeatedly rejecting Job's purity. Everything good in his life was taken away. If anyone had a right to complain it was Job. The message then, is if Job could suffer unfair punishments without complaint, then we are not justified in blaming God for our misfortunes.
James' message is to focus on the way the Lord blessed Job. The Lord's mercy in the end far outweighed Job's suffering in the beginning. The message was, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." (DC 121:8)
The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. (Job 42:10-12)
James 5:14 Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders...
Gordon B. Hinckley
That power to heal the sick is still among us. It is the power of the priesthood of God. It is the authority held by the elders of this Church.
We welcome and praise and utilize the marvelous procedures of modern medicine which have done so much to alleviate human suffering and lengthen human life. All of us are indebted to the dedicated men and women of science and medicine who have conquered so much of disease, who have mitigated pain, who have stayed the hand of death. I cannot say enough of gratitude for them.
Yet they are the first to admit the limitations of their knowledge and the imperfection of their skills in dealing with many matters of life and death. The mighty Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that in them are has given to His servants a divine power that sometimes transcends all the powers and knowledge of men. I venture to say that there is scarcely a faithful elder within the sound of my voice who could not recount instances in which this healing power has been made manifest in behalf of the sick. It is the healing power of Christ. ("The Healing Power of Christ," Ensign, Nov. 1988, 54)
James A. Cullimore
The accounts of miraculous healings in the Church are numerous. They warm one's soul and give great strength of testimony as to the divinity of this great work. But the Lord has instructed us that we are not to boast of these great blessings. He said, "But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation." (D&C 84:73.)
It was not intended that we make merchandise out of the gifts of God and shout to the world the result of these most wonderful gifts. They are given to us for our salvation, to strengthen our testimony and the testimonies of others as we bear humble witness of them in our meetings, quietly, by the Spirit but not before the world. ("Gifts of the Spirit," Ensign, Nov. 1974, 28)
Gordon B. Hinckley
The priesthood includes the power to bless the sick. Is there anyone within my hearing who has not exercised or felt that divine power? Can any of us have any doubt concerning its efficacy? We could tell of miracles, sacred and wonderful, that we have witnessed within our own experience. ("Priesthood Restoration," Ensign, Oct. 1988, 72)
James 5:15 the prayer of faith shall save the sick...and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him
Bruce R. McConkie
Where members of the Church are concerned, there is a close connection between manifestations of healing grace and the forgiveness of sins. When the elders administer to faithful saints, the promise is: "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." (James 5:15.) The very fact that a member of the kingdom has matured in the gospel to the point that he has power through faith in Christ to be healed means that he also has so lived that he is entitled to have his sins remitted. Since all men repeatedly sin they must all gain successive remissions of their sins, otherwise none would eventually stand pure and spotless before the Lord and thus be worthy of a celestial inheritance. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, 1:179).
James 5:16 Confess your faults
Dennis B. Neuenschwander
I have asked myself, Why would the Lord require confession of us? He already knows everything to begin with. If He knows what we need before we ask, He must also know of our sins, iniquities, transgressions, and faults. Why would He require us to confess them to Him? I realize that there is probably no better answer to the question than to say simply that we confess because He requires it of us. However, in pondering this particular topic, I have come to the conclusion that there are some very substantial and practical reasons why He requires us to confess.
Confession helps us take responsibility. Confession is a statement of personal responsibility for our actions... Our accountability to God, as our Father and Creator, is one of the most basic lessons of the gospel. Likewise, the assumption of responsibility for our own actions is one of the strongest indicators that we are becoming more like Him. We cannot develop ourselves spiritually by blaming another for our condition.
...The words "I am sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?" contain the true spirit of confession. What would happen in the Church if, when appropriate, a husband or a wife would come to his or her spouse or parents to their children and say meaningfully: "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I didn't mean to say what I said. Will you forgive me?" If we can do this with each other, then we begin to understand the power of confession as it relates to the principles of the gospel.
The rewards of confession are many. I have pointed to only a few of them. Confession helps us to assume responsibility and accountability for our actions. Confession initiates the healing process. Confession removes adversarial relationships. And confession is the key to forgiveness and compassion, which all of us desire from our Father in Heaven and from those who surround us. ("The Path of Growth," Ensign, Dec. 1999, 15-17)
James 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much
Effectual means "having adequate power or force, to produce an intended effect." (Webster's 1945 Unabridged Dictionary) Our prayers must be both fervent and effectual. Enos' prayer is probably the prototypical fervent prayer. In only one night's work, he received the promise 1) that his sins were forgiven, 2) that the Nephites would be blessed according to their faithfulness, and 3) that the records of the Nephites would be brought forth unto the descendants of the Lamanites. (Enos 1:5-18)
Harold B. Lee
We read about Enos, struggling in prayer all day and all night (see Enos 1:4). I read that to a woman and she said, "Just imagine a man praying all day and all night. I can't believe it." I said to her, "Maybe one day you'll be in a position where you will have to pray all day and all night." I've been in that circumstance where it wasn't all one day and one night, but the next day and the next night, and the next day. I'd fast until my strength was fast going, then I'd get a little nourishment and I'd go on fasting. I wasn't always on my knees, but I was praying. I remember the blessing I was seeking for one I was trying to save. I was all alone in this house where I was staying, and so I was left to my own. I had to go before a judge the next day, in the morning. And so, all day Sunday I made an outline of what I might say when I got before that judge as carefully as I knew how to document it. But in the middle of the night (apparently I had slipped off into a little slumber), suddenly I was awakened (I was as much awake as I am now) and it was as though someone had pulled up a chair and was there right beside me and dictated into my mind exactly what I was to do. It wasn't what I had planned and what I had written on this paper in outline. I didn't need any outline. All because I had been close to the Lord. I knew I could trust Him. And I saw a miracle happen. (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 125.)
Let all persons be fervent in prayer, until they know the things of God for themselves and become certain that they are walking in the path that leads to everlasting life; then will envy, the child of ignorance, vanish and there will be no disposition in any man to place himself above another... If we draw near to him, he will draw near to us; if we seek him early, we shall find him; if we apply our minds faithfully and diligently day by day, to know and understand the mind and will of God, it is as easy as, yes, I will say easier than it is to know the minds of each other, for to know and understand ourselves and our own being is to know and understand God and his being. (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 42.)
Gene R. Cook
When we pray with fervency we pray with real intent. We pray from the heart. We really mean what we say, and we say what we feel. This brings an added humility, an increased power to our prayers that we never have when we pray in a surface manner only, perhaps only speaking words. (Receiving Answers to Our Prayers [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 54.)
I have heard the prophet Joseph pray when the power of God rested upon him, and all who heard him felt it; and I have seen his prayers answered in a marvelous manner almost immediately. Governor Reynolds on one occasion employed men to try and kidnap Joseph, and they almost accomplished their designs, but Joseph and some Gentile friends, as well as his brethren, through whom he was rescued, and was taken to Nauvoo and released under a writ of habeas corpus. But the governor continued to harass him with writs, and was determined to destroy Joseph. Joseph and the Twelve went before God in prayer, Joseph kneeling before the Lord, offered up prayer, and asked God to deliver him from the power of that man. Among other things he told the Lord that he was innocent before Him, and that his heart was heavy under the persecutions he endured. In about forty-eight hours from that time word reached Joseph that Reynolds had blown his brains out. (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, edited by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 33.)
James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are
The prophet mentioned is Elijah the Tishbite. (See 1 Kgs. 17:1-7; 18:1)
I was this morning introduced to a man from the east. After hearing my name, he remarked that I was nothing but a man, indicating by this expression, that he supposed that a person to whom the Lord should see fit to reveal His will, must be something more than a man. He seemed to have forgotten the saying that fell from the lips of St. James, that Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, yet he had such power with God, that He, in answer to his prayers, shut the heavens, that they gave no rain for the space of three years and six months; and again, in answer to his prayer, the heavens gave forth rain, and the earth gave forth fruit. Indeed, such is the darkness and ignorance of this generation, that they look upon it as incredible that a man should have any intercourse with his Maker. (History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2:302.)
Although I was called of my Heavenly Father to lay the foundation of this great work and kingdom in this dispensation, and testify of His revealed will to scattered Israel, I am subject to like passions as other men, like the prophets of olden times.
Notwithstanding my weaknesses, I am under the necessity of bearing the infirmities of others, who, when they get into difficulty, hang on to me tenaciously to get them out, and wish me to cover their faults. On the other hand, the same characters, when they discover a weakness in Brother Joseph, endeavor to blast his reputation, and publish it to all the world, and thereby aid my enemies in destroying the Saints. Although the law is given through me to the Church, I cannot be borne with a moment by such men. They are ready to destroy me for the least foible. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5: 516.)
James 5:20 he which converteth the sinner...shall save a soul... and shall hide a multitude of sins
Hartman Rector Jr.
I presume the greatest charity we can give is to withhold judgment of our brothers and sisters, for surely if we do we can reach out with love and bring them back into activity in the Church.
In the words of James, "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).
Part of the multitude of sins that are hidden will be our own. I wonder if anyone of us could not benefit from that blessing at the last day. ("Back to the Fold," New Era, Sept. 1986, 7)