Now listen, you rich people …
The rich people James is talking to here were obviously misusing their wealth. They were hoarding their riches, and they were cheating their workers. While living in luxury and wastefulness, they did not hear the cries of the needy. But God heard, and he tells the rich who have been selfish that their wealth will not last.
Riches can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Wealth can grow calluses and make us indifferent to the needs of others. It can give us a false sense of security and power and lead us to take advantage of others. But riches can also be a great blessing in the right hands. God himself gives some people the ability to make money. Throughout the Bible we meet several people who had great wealth, and they were a blessing to others.
Throughout the years I have met rich people who understood that having wealth is a privilege and a responsibility. While enjoying part of their wealth for themselves and their families, much of it is given back to God—to help build his kingdom or to make life easier for others. People who have been blessed with wealth need to ask three questions: How did I get my wealth? How do I use my wealth? And is my wealth invested in God’s kingdom?
And each one of us needs to ask, “Am I using God’s gifts to me for the benefit of others?”
Lord, our God, thank you for the blessings you have given us. Help us to use our riches for your kingdom and for the benefit of others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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