When I was little, growing up on our farm, I remember one of my least favorite days was the day we slaughtered chickens. Not a fun time.
Of course, I can't complain too much...the chickens had a much harder time of it than I did.
Imagine for a moment that you could talk to the chickens, and they could understand you. So the week before it's time to do the slaughtering, you go into the chicken coop and say to the chickens, "Next week I'm going to start slaughtering some of you guys so we can have tasty fried chicken!"
Now, with this piece of information, what would a smart chicken do? A smart chicken would say to itself, "I'm going to starve myself for the next seven days, so when he comes back, I'll be the most sickly, unappetizing-looking bird he's ever seen!"
But a stupid chicken would look at his neighbor and say, "Hey! No fair! That bird is fatter than me...he's gonna get picked for sure! I better stuff myself silly for the next seven days, so the axe-man will be sure to pick me!"
It seems silly, but that's just what James is talking about in chapter five. He says:
Essentially, he says that people who spend their lives hoarding wealth are as foolish as a chicken who deliberately fattens himself up for the slaughter.
Remember what Jesus says: life is more than the pursuit of material posessions. The person who spends his life chasing after the material posessions of this world will never be satisfied.