Warning to the Rich
1You rich people should cry and weep! Terrible things are going to happen to you. 2 Your treasures have already rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your money has rusted, and the rust will be evidence against you, as it burns your body like fire. Yet you keep on storing up wealth in these last days. 4 You refused to pay the people who worked in your fields, and now their unpaid wages are shouting out against you. The Lord All-Powerful has surely heard the cries of the workers who harvested your crops.
5While here on earth, you have thought only of filling your own stomachs and having a good time. But now you are like fat cattle on their way to be butchered. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent people, who couldn't even fight back.
I have had the privilege of travelling around the world – literally! I’ve seen too much to not be sympathetic towards the oppressed and the poor. As a result I want to do all that I can to encourage a movement towards a wider distribution of the blessings most of us enjoy.
James calls us in a very direct manner to examine ourselves and our actions. He does not mince words. So let us look at his warnings with an openness to see if any of these four indictments apply to us.
First, are we honest? Do we deal with those who work for us in an honest manner? No matter where we are working, there is opportunity for dishonesty. Is your conscience deadened to even asking if what you do is honest?
Secondly, are you cruel in how you treat others? Do you look on others who work for you as pieces of machinery to get the job done? Do you treat others with the Golden Rule from Jesus? “Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about.” (Matthew 7:12).
Thirdly, are you accumulating wealth only to enrich your life, or that of your family? Remember, we are just stewards of our resources. We are responsible to God. Our money is not ours, it is God’s. Are we using it effectively as if it were his?
Fourth, and lastly, James challenges us about living in luxury and self indulgence. Are you in any way guilty of this? I realize this is all relative, yet all of us can live more simply. We are judged not by how much money we live on, but by what we live for. Are you living to do the will of God?
Dear Lord, I thank you and praise you for your great grace toward me and the many blessings I enjoy. Draw me closer to you that I may become an instrument of grace in the lives of others, all for your glory and honour, Amen.