One of the great things about the book of James is how it challenges our loves. Today, we are challenged in our love for money—and how we get it.
James starts out with a hard statement, “Come now, you rich! Weep and cry aloud over the miseries that are coming on you.” (NET) With that little tid-bit of encouragement, he goes on to explain himself. James states that everything a person could own is ultimately headed toward destruction, and “Oh, by the way, so are you” (2–3). If we really view ourselves as living in the last days (and you should, because Christ could return at any second), then the love of wealth and treasure makes little sense. Not only that, but James warns against those who make their wealth through the mistreatment of others (4).
James is essentially saying Christ could return at any second and you not only fear poverty more than judgment, but you are also mistreating people to pursue your idols. You are finding ways to multiply your sins. A poor analogy might be that this is like your home catching on fire and instead of getting out, grabbing what you can, you bring people into the house to carry out all of your belongings. What I mean is that you are increasing the suffering of others while ignoring clear priorities. What are the priorities with a burning house? Get out with the people you love (…and even those you don’t). What does a computer, TV, or any other thing matter when lives are at stake?
As the prophet Malachi wrote, “For indeed the day is coming, burning like a furnace, and all the arrogant evildoers will be chaff. The coming day will burn them up,” says the Lord who rules over all. “It will not leave even a root or branch. 2 But for you who respect my name, the sun of vindication will rise with healing wings, and you will skip about like calves released from the stall. 3 You will trample on the wicked, for they will be like ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord who rules over all.” (Malachi 4:1–3, NET)
James’s clear teaching on the appropriate placement of our loves is well timed. If you haven’t heard, Center Point is doing a Summer Study on the issue of Biblical Finance. We will be watching a series of videos by Dave Ramsey called Life, Money, Legacy. In addition, we will be breaking into small groups to dig into God’s Word as well as digging into our bank statements to see where they align. And because everyone has questions regarding finance, we will have a panel of experts to answer almost anything you can throw at them. No matter where you’re at in your spiritual and financial journey, you should come. This summer will be an amazing opportunity to align your hearts to the Lord’s heart by means of aligning your pocketbook to His Word. I promise, you will not want to miss it!
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate