May 31, 2012
James 5-Part 1
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered: and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. James 5:2-3
LET IT GLOW
Which is growing fatter-my savings account at the local bank or my faith account in the bank of heaven? Am I adding up dollars and cents or good works and loving attitudes? Which is the bigger account?
In what does my hope lie? Am I depending upon God or my money? Is my faith growing fatter or my pockets? Am I being a doer of the Word or just a hearer only? How are my attitudes and priorities? Questions to contemplate. James begins our last chapter talking to the wealthy, which are probably Christians in the church.
Let's consider the divine retribution first:
- Hoarded riches reap miserable dividends (verses 1-3a). These dividends are bitterness, cynicism, disappointment, and emptiness, to name a few. Don't they remind us of Dickens' character Scrooge?
- Riches provide no relief in eternity (verse 3b-5b). Our earthly bank account won't matter in heaven. Only the righteousness of Christ that has sbeen credited to our account through faith in Him.
- The unjust acts of the unsaved are not forgotten (verse 4b). Though it looks like the unsaved wealthy don't have to answer for their selfish ways, the day is coming when they will.
- A lack of judgment today does not mean a lack of judgment tomorrow. In Luke 16, we see the rich man and Lazarus with their contrasted lives. (Swindoll)
Though this may not be encouraging to read, it shows us the just and judging God we serve.
LET IT GROW
Even though James is addressing the rich, can't these principles apply to all of us? So I turned them around and made it into how I don't want to be like them:
1. Don't be guilty of hoarding wealth (verses 2-3a). Food rots, clothes get moth eatten, and metal
coins rust or tarnish. Where my treasure is, there is my heart. What do I spend my money on? Do I
stock the cabinets, closets, and coin banks? Or do I use my money to meet needs of others? Give to
the Lord's work?
2. Don't cheat others (verse 4). A servant who is poor and needy should not be opressed. (Deut. 24)
3. Don't live a totally selfish lifestyle (verse 5). Self-indulgence is not right when the poor worker that
makes the wealthy rich is starving.
4. Don't take advantage of the righteous. (verse 6). Are believers dragged into court?
Is my faith account getting bigger than my bank account?
LET IT GO
What do I need to leave behind so I can follow Jesus?
Check my faith account.
Look over my priorities.
Share with those in need.