As James brings his letter to a close, his final messages concern what to pursue in this life, and what not to bother chasing after.
James has some tough words for the rich. Their trust has been wrongly placed in material goods that will fail. Hoarding wealth, oppressing the poor, and living lives of self-indulgence are not acceptable practices for the Christian!
Instead, James tells us to focus on building up patience and perseverance in our character. He points to the example of a faithful farmer as one who waits patiently for the Lord. James also lifts up the prophets and Job as those who endured suffering and were rewarded by the Lord, full of compassion and mercy.
James also emphasizes the life of prayer. Whether in trouble or in delight, we should pray. When sick, prayers can bring healing, because the prayer of a righteous man makes a difference. Returning to the prophets, James cites Elijah as a man of powerful faith and prayer.
Along with some final thoughts about swearing and winning back wandering brothers, the last chapter of James is much like the rest of his book: full of good, solid, practical advice about living the Christian life, no matter what century you may be in!