Do you think this letter is written to all “rich” people ever, to rich people in that time and place, or just to the rich people who were guilty of exploitation? The deeper question is: What are we going to do with this? James really lays into these people, and it makes us uncomfortable. If we can dodge this barrage, we want to. We want to say it’s their problem, not ours. And most of us don’t think of ourselves as rich, do we? We’re always looking at someone else who has more, and we say, Go after them, James. They’re the problem.
But whenever we come to Scripture, we want to see what’s there for us. God wants to speak to us, and we need to be ready to listen, even if it’s uncomfortable. How does God want us to use our resources? That’s the question we want to zero in on today.
In the video, Francis Chan got us off on the right track when he said, “Let’s look at our hearts and go, Why long for these earthly things so much? And, why am I acquiring more and more for myself and neglecting those who are in need?”
In the first six verses of James chapter 5 we learn what God cares about and we learn what makes Him mad. When rich people exploit poor people, that’s a big problem. God will turn the tables in His coming kingdom.
And maybe we should “weep and howl” a little more about the injustice in our world. We should certainly do what we can to help the poor. James has been saying this all along.
But all of that starts in our hearts. We might find it hard to admit how important money really is in our lives. Is it more important to us than God is? How many of our decisions are based on the bottom line rather than our higher calling?
How can we break the mastery of money in our lives? How can we center our hearts on God rather than wealth?
What can you do? Find out more about exploitation in our world today. Share your findings with other believers. Pray together about what you could do to change things.
Also examine your household budget. How do your expenditures reflect your spiritual priorities? What might need to change?