Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabbath. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.
Its a warning, in the end your sin will be the only thing counted, not your earthly treasure. A warning against a self-centered way of living, a warning to not resist righteousness.
We see a repeat of Jesus teaching from Luke 6:24-31
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
But don’t freak out if you got a little money in the bank. Money is like fire, its good and keeps you warm but if you are silly with it, you will get burned. Money is also a good limpness test of where your heart is. What are you spending your money on? Think about it… Our desire for money and what it buys reveals more about ourselves then both our words and our actions.
I hear this great quote and Ill share it with you because it calls to light the false teaching of the world, that money solves everything.
“Earthy goods deceive the human heart into believing that they give it security and freedom from worry. But in truth, they are what causes anxiety. Dietrich Bonhoffer”
Bonhoeffer knew that when you get extra cash you worry about what to do with it. “Should I put in on debt or save it? What is best RRSP RESP Tax Free saving account? Maybe we should purchase that thing we keep “not affording” we will never get new couches with the budget we have, may be this is our only chance… Fixed mortgage or open? Bank or Credit Union? Think of all the the fights you have with your spouse around money? Think about all the stereo types you unintentionally place in your children minds about money, just to have an excuse as why you can’t get them this or that, but you don’t want to say no to them. “Thats what rich people buy” “We can’t afford that because mommy choose to stay home with you” “Study hard so you can get a good education some day, and then you can buy whatever you like” None of this is helpful… Money is not the cure to our worry.
And stuff create anxiety too, you buy a new couch and suddenly your stressed out every time the kids look at it. You buy a new truck and you lose your mind with it gets dinged by the door beside you in Walmart. Now Im not saying just have crappy stuff so you don’t need to teach your kids respect others property. Im saying that being a good stewart of, and placing your value and hope in, is 2 different thing. And we have to take inventory of our hearts when we find ourselves, counting our pennies instead of generously living with Gods children.
“You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.”
Our self-centredness is in stark opposition to everything God has in mind for us. The more we focused on our gain, our desires and our agenda. The further we move away from Gods leading. It is a narrow path that requires us to push others out of the way to get ahead. In the moments we step on Gods, Children’s, toes we condemn ourselves.
So love generously, lavishly, sacrificially. Because God first loved us and gave us everything for us, even His own Son, and we are to be generous with what He has lent to us here in this world.
That is the message of James…