Spirit of God, satisfy my soul in Your presence today—fill me with Your living water.
Read James 5:1–6
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 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. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow often do you compare your circumstances with someone else’s, and feel dissatisfied?
James has already pointed out that, given the transience of life, the idea of hoarding wealth is ridiculous. He continues to make the point that a reliance on wealth is stupid (2,3), but he also takes another angle.
In the form of a lament, James looks at how wealth can come at the expense of others (4) and warns that there will be inevitable judgment. The Bible has no time for “easy money”—wealth that is made on the backs of others, or wealth that is hoarded instead of shared. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament riches are seen as a temptation. While the Bible does not condemn wealth outright, biblical writers insist that wealth brings real responsibility, and that those who enjoy great wealth are in peril.
Behind this is a condemnation of social wrongs and social injustice. The selfish rich have gained their wealth by injustice and clearly are not interested in generosity to others. They have forgotten that they have a moral duty and responsibility to their fellow human beings. Fairness matters to God.
Have you, in the desire for a bargain, deprived someone of what is due to them? What can you do to depict generosity?
Generous Father, develop in me the heart of a cheerful and generous giver, ready to give above and beyond when You prompt.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.