Verse 1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.
James takes a turn in his instructions in our passage today, though not breaking from his main theme of what believers should be living like.
Money is a topic that often arises when we talk about living for God. It is a topic that many in the Church cringe at having to hear a sermon about. One of the most often misquoted Scriptures is about the love of money. James knew that money wasn’t something evil in and of itself but there come great dangers with it. It is so easy to get caught up in the thinking that money will save us, thus putting it in the position of savior.
Of course this isn’t a new issue for the Church. But since it isn’t a new issue we know that it isn’t something that we as Christians are dealing well with. In our verse today James told his readers that they should see that this money that they adored and amassed would not be their savior but would actually be the cause of their misery.
These men and women couldn’t show those around them how much they trusted God if they could afford all that they desired. The same is true of us. Not that we should be desiring poverty but riches will taint our ability to make a clear decision. This love and dependency on money instead of God sets us up for much disappointment. We will find ourselves disappointed by the lack of satisfaction money brings us. No matter how much we have, we will find ourselves thinking it isn’t enough.
The misery that having much gives us, is that we become slaves of our possessions. We tend to fear someone stealing from us. We don’t want to lose any of our things. Furthermore many of those of wealth get so consumed with what they have or want, that they forget to share with those who are less-fortunate.
This was the issue that James was trying to convict his readers about. He saw those in the Church flourishing financially with no thought of those who didn’t have as much. This sin of not loving fellow Christians pointed out the truth of their character – they were selfish, not walking in the Way, and failing to be a light for the Kingdom of God.
Making It Personal
What hold does money have on your heart? If you were to lose all of your possessions what would you miss the most? Do you love that thing more than God?
Making It Personal Kids
Do you every wish you had more toys? Do you play with everything you have now? Do you have some toys that you could give away to someone who doesn’t have any?
Father, we become so consumed with our stuff that we miss seeing You as the great protector and mighty provider. Father, keep us from replacing You in our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.