Hello everybody, it’s nice to see you all here, and I hope everyone here and those online are all doing well. Today we’re going to continue reading through the Book of James, specifically chapter 5 verses 1-6
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.James 5:1-6 NIV
Here we have some pretty strong language used by James. We have a warning of impending judgment against the wealthy. The pointing out of the futility of stored up riches and the sins committed against the oppressed.
First, I’m going to give a little context for the passage. James seems to be calling out the wealthy, specifically the landowners of the time who hired workers to work their fields. These fellows stored up their wealth and while doing so failed to pay their workers fairly. Ultimately this stored up wealth will prove to be fruitless relative to eternal rewards.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
James sort of mirrors this teaching by talking about how their wealth would eventually rot and corrode and adds that because of how they’ve treated the poor these things that are passing away will testify against them.
Imagine that for a second.
If it were me, learning that not only will everything I’ve been storing up be worthless to me, but it would also be detrimental to me, I’d probably try to separate myself from it as quickly as possible. But, that’s not to say that having money or even an abundance of it in of itself is a bad thing.
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.1 Timothy 6:9-10 NIV
So we see that what is bad is the love of money. Yet, without money we wouldn’t be able to take care of ourselves, our families, relatives, as well as those in need. So we see it does have its place in our lives.
In many places Scripture teaches the importance of doing things like taking care of widows and orphans (James 1:27), providing for our family (1 Timothy 5:8), giving cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7), and generously (1 Timothy 6:18). All of those things would prove to be difficult if we didn’t have the means to do them.
So what then?
Well, we should work honestly, not taking advantage of people. We should save what we can so that we may have the means to provide for our families and help those in need.
If we are able to find ourselves prosperous, we should thank God for His favor but keep in mind that our treasures in heaven will outlast our earthly treasures by an eternity.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’