James – Thu – 21-12-16

Are you rich? If you’re like most people, you will say “no.” We know that being rich is a relative thing. We can find a lot of people with more wealth than we have. So, we conclude we are not rich. But we forget to look in the other direction. There are even more people in this world who have less than we have.

In Jesus’ day, the rich were defined by possessions and servants. They had servants to do all the work. Using this definition, we are wealthy. We had lots of possessions. We also have mechanical and electronic servants to wash our clothes and dishes, warm our food and water, vacuum our rugs, drive us so we don’t have to walk, and entertain us all night long. We are rich!

So, we need to listen to James chapter 5’s warning to the rich. Verse 1 says, “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.” (NIV)  The passage then lists sins the rich commit. Verse 3 says, “You have hoarded wealth in the last days.” (NIV) Verse 5 says, “You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.” (NIV) Now that doesn’t sound good!

So, how do we make sure to escape the condemnation James has for these rich people? Two words, generosity and stewardship. In other words, rather than hoarding wealth and spending it on ourselves, we must first love people by being generous. And second, we must manage our resources to advance the kingdom of Jesus.

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.