“Wealth leading to ruin
James 5: 1-11
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 .” (5.3)
When your wealth becomes an idol: Here we see James talking to the rich Oppressors to be wary of their actions, and not let wealth lead them to ruin. What is the meaning of wealth? “It is an abundance of Valuable Possessions.” Wealth in itself is not bad, but James implores us to think about what are we using our wealth for? Are we using it for the good of others or are we using it to oppress those around us. We often find ourselves gathering up for the rainy day, but when it reaches to the point where our wealth becomes our idol, we need to reexamine our motives. Jesus talked about this through the Parable of the Rich Fool, who gathered storehouses of crops but did not live to enjoy it. Here idolatry means to give extreme love, admiration and or reverence for something or someone. James is talking about the dangers of making wealth into an idol. Those of us in positions of power and wealth are called to be even more compassionate and empathetic to those around us. Instead, we have used our wealth to benefit ourselves and to promote self-indulgence. When we see suffering, are we willing to involve ourselves and help those in need.
Patience in suffering becomes rich investment: The second portion of this passage talks about Patience in Suffering. This is often the greatest challenge. In the face of Oppression, can we be patient? Is James asking the impossible of us? When James was writing this, Christians were facing poverty and persecution. He implores them to not grumble as they wait for their Justice. Often times we find ourselves shaking our fists and kicking our feet and still say I was waiting patiently! Job did the same thing, he persevered but he was not patient. As humans we cry out for justice in the face of such oppression and often times the world does not hear our pain or give us the justice we need, when we need it. Although there is One who hears our cry and answers it. James asks this of us because he knows that there is a greater Judge who will fight our cause for us. When we are facing challenges we only see our side of things, the details, but when God looks at it he sees the big picture, and he does all things for the Glory of His Kingdom.
Our positions in life should not insulate us from understanding and empathizing with those around us, and at the same time suffering should not harden our hearts against God and our community. The life as a Christ Follower is paved with challenges and trials. Can we identify our hidden idols and remove them from our life? Are we equipped be patient during the struggles we are faced with and follow in His footsteps?
Prayer: Lord, help us to be a follower of Christ with challenges and trials. Help us to remove all our idols and follow you. Amen