Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you (James 5:1-6).
- Let’s be cautious that we don’t interpret this passage in such a way so we may remain as comfortable as we are.
- Strange how we rationalize the severe words God has for those with wealth so we can be comfortable with ourselves and say with our conservative Christian tongues, from an economic, demographic, and geographic distance from those living in poverty, “it’s all a matter of the heart—I saw how happy those dirt-poor people are living in those shanties there.” (Someone actually said this. Horrified, I was.)
- Why do we pray that God will teach us something new from his Word? Shouldn’t we be praying that God will teach us something old?
- The wealthy tend to move away from the very places that could use their capacity, knowledge, and human capital . . . retreating to the sidewalk-less places of comfort rather than to sidewalks, concrete, and blight.
- Interesting that James calls our neglect of the poor “murder.” (Not my words, but a great, scary thought).
- My mind went to the global water crisis: 1 out of every 7 people on this planet this morning will not have clean, useable water today—as they will not every day. Two (2) of 7 will not have a meal. Is it okay that this and other issues of poverty happen as we live as comfortable suburban Christians? (See the list of more local effects of poverty that I posted here on Waste Evangelism—one doesn’t need to think globally on this, just next door.)
- We cannot excuse ourselves that most of the world’s poverty is “out there” beyond our reach; we have no excuse.
- Wealthy doesn’t mean really rich; in light of the fact that the bottom billion will hardly make a $2 today means we are wealthy.