and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.James 1:10(NASB)
There is much in Scripture that talks of money and wealth. We are not to store up riches on earth but to lay up treasure in heaven. We are exhorted to fix our hope on God Who supplies all things lavishly for us to enjoy. We are to not to place our trust in the uncertainty of this world’s fleeting affluence, but in God’s eternal promises to us.
Scripture instructs to be rich in faith, and that those with material wealth are not to be conceited. We are urged to recognise that the love of money is a root of many kinds of evil, which can encourage envy, engender covertness and tempt us toward sin. And we are to remember that many have erred from the faith through their craving for wealth, and as a result have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Christ Himself reminded us that it is hard for those that are rich to enter the kingdom of God and argues of the futility of gaining the whole world at the expense of one’s soul-life. “No one can serve God and money at the same time”, Jesus further informed us, and any wealth we may have in this life is a gift from the Lord, to be used in His service.
Nowhere in Scripture are we promised wealth and financial prosperity during this earthly life. God’s plans for our prosperity are to give us a hope and future in His glorious, eternal presence. However, those who are blessed with wealth are exhorted to give generously to the poor, and here in James, we are taught that the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like the flowering grass, he will pass away.
Earlier in this passage James deals with the trials and temptations of this life, which God uses to increase our faith in Him and develop godly patience and a Christlike attitude. He points out that godly wisdom should be the true treasure we pursue and reminds us that irrespective of one’s station in life – whether desperately poor or fabulously wealthy, our purpose in life should be to honour the Lord.
Whether Christians are in humble circumstances or in an elevated position, our motive should be to bring glory to God. The brother who is poor should triumph in the glory and privilege of being a Christian, while the believer who is wealthy should not be proud because of his riches! He should walk in humility of heart and rejoice that his name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – for everyone’s earthly life, whether rich or poor, is as fleeting and temporal as the wayside flower, or the grass of the field – but OUR hope is in Christ.
All have sinned, and all fall short of God’s glory. Both rich and poor are equally in need of salvation, by God’s grace through faith in Christ. None of us can save ourselves – all are equally brought to our knees at the cross of Christ, and this verse in James reflects the burden of Jeremiah – for we read: Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might. Let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts.. boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD Who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wisdom and understanding that we can glean from the instructions in the book of James. Thank You that I have been given all I need for life and godliness, by faith in Christ my God and Saviour. Keep me low at the cross, broken before You and free from any form of pride – for the gifts and graces that You have given me are also through You gracious hand. Whether I live in wealth or scarcity, I pray that I may be content in Christ, remain humble before You and live for Your praise and glory – this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.