Read James 5:1-6
Are you rich? Depending on the definition of rich, I could answer that both yes and no. Compared to the majority of the world, living in poverty in developing nations, I am rich. Compared to those living in penthouses, gated communities, owning their own yachts and jets, I am poor.
The “things” of earth will pass away in the end. My treasure is in the hope of heaven.
I get the impression from this passage that the writer was not rich. This is a warning to those who have plenty that they be careful not to allow their possessions to take control. These same possessions will not last forever and will rot away. We should not be relying on these “things” for our happiness.
The warning seems to also speak to actions. Not every rich person is selfish or malicious. Many wealthy people are very wise with their money and giving to the poor and needy. This warning is not for them. There is an assumption here that with wealth comes abusiveness. As people make money, they become ruthless, wanting more and more, and at what expense of others. Do others get trampled or used in the process?
It is not sinful to be wealthy. What is sinful is how we use our wealth and our attitudes about money. One of the most talked about topics in the Bible is…money. I’ve heard differing opinions, 800 times, 2000 verses. I’ve found an interesting article about it. You can read it here.
Suffice it to say, money is not evil, it is how we think about it. We should NEVER worship it or put it before God. We should always trust God for provision. God’s economy works differently than ours, but it is the one we can trust. We’re not all destined to live in luxury. That’s okay. Whatever our station in life, we need to be grateful and work on multiplying the love in our hearts.
When money is plentiful, we need to be wise stewards in how we save and spend. This behavior honors God. A selfish heart will not be rewarded in heaven. A grateful heart reminds us that God is the Giver of all good gifts. We were never intended to be fully self-sufficient in this life. A grateful heart reminds us that ultimately God is our Provider, that all blessings and gifts are graciously given to us by His hand.
Let’s pray. Father forgive me for my selfish desires that only benefit me. I trust you in everything, especially the provision of my daily needs. With the wealth you have blessed me with, may I in turn bless others. I long to be more giving to those in need. May I never have an entitlement attitude or one that looks down on others. People do struggle with their finances, and pray for opportunities to help those people find the right solution. Bless our business, Lord, so that we can provide a source of hope, founded on you, to those in need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.