James is one of the most practical books in the Bible, tackling real life issues and struggles that all of us face: temptation, self-control, work, anger, poverty, favoritism and more. The book challenges our consumeristic and complacent nature as Americans and should lead us to action that's directed by our faith.
James was the leader of the church in Jerusalem that had to deal with the tension of being the mother church of the movement, having the mission to convert Jews while supporting the Pauline ministry to the Gentiles and managing Jewish nationalist tendencies.
Because most Christians are Gentiles today, we tend to read their accounts and assume that Paul was the one sacrificing for the good of the whole. He definitely was, and much can be learned from that. But we should also realize that James was paying a high price for defending the Gospel, Paul, and the Gentile mission. James and the Jerusalem church had to live in Jerusalem after Paul moved on to the next city. Chris Morgan