Text: James 5:1-6– 1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 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. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. [NIV84]
The Big Idea: James, like his Brother, Jesus, is very, very concerned how the scattered believers use their wealth.
Have you read the above passage yet? If you have, give it a read again. How does it make you feel? (a) “Right on! Give it to them!” or (b) “Hey, wait! That’s not fair! I worked hard for my money”? Whichever side you come down on, we have to admit that James does come at the rich pretty hard. James is tell the wealthy that they have a social responsibility to use their wealthy righteously: (1) because it is temporary (vv. 1-3); (2) because it is right to pay those a fair wage who do a fair day’s labor (v. 4); (3) because righteousness is not self-indulgent nor does it selfishly corrupt justice in the courts (vv. 5-6)….
Lifestyle worshipers, lest you think James is just flying off the handle, he is actually remembering a sermon his older Brother once gave. Jesus preached stuff like this? Yep. It was in a sermon called, “The Sermon on the Plain,” (the cousin to “The Sermon on the Mount”) In it our Master says this: “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 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. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets” (Luke 6:24-26 NIV84).
The word, “woe,” is an intense word denoting a deep sense of compassionate concern for the dire outcome of one’s actions. James, like his Brother, Jesus, is very, very concerned how the scattered believers use their wealth. How do you feel about this? Do the wealthy have a social responsibility? To what degree? Your thoughts?
Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
— Matthew 6:24 (NIV84)
— Matthew 6:21 (NIV84)
— 1 Timothy 5:6-10 22 (NIV84)
Lord Jesus Christ, be Wisdom in me as I use what You have blessed me with to bless others. Continue to make me an instrument of Your presence to bring healing and not harm, In Your Name Amen.