When Wealth Costs You, Part 1
When Wealth Costs You
According to Jesus, nothing reveals the essence of our hearts more than our words and wallets. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 ESV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21 ESV)
James picks up on these realities and uses both of them to test the authenticity of our claim of faith.
- Wealth itself is not sinful.
- Wealth can be a result of God’s empowerment. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
- Beyond ourselves, wealth provides opportunities to:
- Serve and honor the Lord (Malachi 3:8-10)
- Help people in need (1 Timothy 6:18)
- Give an inheritance to our families (Proverbs 19:14)
- Win the lost to Jesus (Luke 16:9)
- Support the work and people of God’s Church (2 Corinthians 8:3-4)
- Lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20)
Three questions God asks about our wealth:
- How did you gain your wealth?
- What was your attitude about it?
- How did you use it?
A Warning and Rebuke to the Rich
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you. (James 5:1-6 ESV)
The Announcement: Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. (James 5:1)
Wealth tends to draw and hold people’s attention, causing them to focus on it and the things of the world. A person who has money and possession is less inclined to focus on eternal matters. Jesus stated: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24 ESV)
There is a day approaching when the tables of this world will flip, and eternity is set. 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.” (Luke 6:24-25 ESV)
James’ warnings for sinners and advice for saints:
- Stockpiling and hoarding wealth and possessions will prove futile and eternally costly. In the ancient world, there were three standards of wealth: harvested grain, clothing, and precious metals.
Being good stewards of God entrusted resources is essential, and this includes being prudent and saving for future needs. However, Jesus speaks against stockpiling and hoarding resources to ensure our future comfort and luxury.
- Living at the expense of the poor is eternally costly. (James 5:4)
- Living luxuriously without care for others is eternally costly. (James 5:5)
The Holy Spirit teaches us to be wise stewards in the holy acts of:
- Planning our income and investing
- Planning our spending
- Planning our giving
Being careless and harmful to the innocent is eternally costly. (James 5:6)
An in-depth study of the book of James.