James – Dealing with sin
We are considered rich if we make around $1400 a year when you compare us to the world’s wealth as a whole! So we should not think that this next passage is not for us! We don’t need to go around yelling, “I’m rich, I’m rich!” at this new revelation but, instead, take a few lessons in lament. Wait, what?
Lament, as a noun, is an expression of grief or sorrow for something lost. Whoever is lamenting is expressing great sorrow or regret and even grief about something or someone as in the loss of a life. So, what James is telling us is we need to come down from our self righteousness and humbly considered how you came to be rich. Did you exploit others to get where you are? Did someone lose so you could gain?Does your wealth dictate your confidence and haughtiness to the point you put down others who do not have what you have? Is your goal to only want and work for more? Do you take and not give back?
Our prayer to resolve this state of mind could be, “Lord, break my heart of those things that break your heart.” When we sincerely pray that prayer, listen and wait, God will reveal thoughts and subsequent actions that we have never considered before praying. We might see people who have been exploited, stepped on and need help. We might even see people we used to get ahead ourselves. Yikes.
So, from a different perspective, read the passage as a newly discovered “rich” person. Let’s discover what God is trying to tell all of us through James.
James 5, The Message
Destroying Your Life from Within
1-3 And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You’ll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you’ve piled up is judgment.
4-6 All the workers you’ve exploited and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger. You’ve looted the earth and lived it up. But all you’ll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse. In fact, what you’ve done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it.
Bottom line: Use things, not people.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We are monetarily rich in the world’s eyes. We are wealthier in life if we follow and obey Your ways. Let us be rich in You, for you, with you helping us. Help us to think and behave more and more like You each day. Open our eyes, help us to see our sin and repent. Then help us to live well, choose wisely, give back, be blessings and love greatly…like You.
In Jesus Name, Amen