Maranatha. Come, O Lord! This was a prayer – a cry, really – of the early church. Enduring great persecution and depravation had taught them to store their treasure in heaven rather than on earth. Their hearts had been trained by what they suffered to long for their everlasting home in the Lord’s blessed presence. They lived with an eager expectation to see Jesus return for his redeemed; an expectation that Jesus had instilled in his followers.
Great patience is required in this fallen world. James appeals to the cycle of rains farmers depend upon for their crops to come to full fruit. It is a process they cannot hurry. Rather, they must patiently wait through the passage of seasons. So too for the people of God as we wait for the consummation of the ages at the return of our Lord. The stresses of enduring life in a sin-filled world are great. So James instructs us in the manner in which we should wait. Waiting for the return of Jesus should be characterized by those very virtues of love in which James has already so faithfully encouraged us.