James 5:1-6 Wrong Side of Riches
James is NOT talking to righteous men who happen to be rich. He is talking to those whose god is money and they don’t care how they get it.
James is not saying that having money is wrong, but how it impacts your character. The most famous rich people in the bible were the Pharisees and the tax collectors. They got rich off the backs of other people. We have people like them still with us today.
I’m not going to name any names because I don’t know the hearts of men like God does. But I have worked under some who act this way in my employment history. Those who cheat you out of your wages so they can keep their wealth from dwindling. Or how about saying they are paying their portion of your tax burden and holding it for themselves instead. Those are the type of people James is aiming this portion of his letter at.
Riches mean NOTHING in the grand scheme of life. Yes, you can have the best cars or houses or even clothes. But those things don’t last. They ALL age and wear out. “Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eater. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire” (verses 2-3). No amount of money can save you from what is to come. Their treasure is here on earth and there is no way to get it into eternity with that mindset.
A rich person whose god is not his riches willingly shares of his wealth. He does not cheat his laborers. He uses his wealth to profit the Kingdom of God. His treasure is stored up in Heaven. What he has here on earth is just a tool. That is the kind of person God wants us to be. No matter how much or how little we have, place it in His hands and use it as a tool for the Kingdom of God.
Father God, thank You for the blessings You have given me and my family. We are not “rich” but neither are we “poor.” I want to bless You with what You have given us instead of trying to rely on it to bless my life. Only You can bless me. Please remind me to keep finances as a tool and nothing more. Yes Lord, I want to be a good steward with what You have given me, but I don’t want it to rule over my life. Help me keep right priorities. Forgive me for all my “pipe dreams” that would take a fortune to have. Even those “dreams” mean NOTHING when compared to You. Thank You for answering my prayer regarding reordering my priorities even now.