Read James 5: 1-6
In biblical stewardship, what we chase is temporary and will rot, so why would we place our trust in it?
Even those things we think are important usually are not! People who place their trust in wealth, accomplishments, education, self, or… are headed for trouble as it takes them away from God just as chasing the devil does; both lead to the same end-separation from God both while on the earth and if Christ is never fully received also for eternity. Even if the person does become saved in Christ, he or she will live a life of waste and no return for that which is important. It will be the evidence to convict us of our sins and leave us earthly and the danger of being eternally dejected, void of hope or meaning. Not the loss of our salvation; rather the notification, we never received it (Matt. 13)!
So, what does it mean to be rich?
“Rich,” in this passage, refers to a social class of aristocracy. Keep in mind that wealth, in and of itself, is not condemned here or any other place in the Bible. As, wealth can be a blessing from God if we use it as a tool and not as a devotion (Prov. 10:22).
The condemnation James gives it implies the abuse of money to oppress the poor. This is a manner of the heart, as our checkbook will show where our loyalty, commitment, and interest abound!
“Corrupted”…”rust” are general terms that refer to anything that can, and will corrode and decay by rust, mildew, bugs, weather, wood rot, or for anything destroyed by fire. All matter, no matter how valuable, is in a state of decay. In the end it is worthless and meaningless (Matt. 6:19-20).
“Wages” refers to being paid. To not pay someone was considered evil and violated the law of God. People needed their daily wages to purchase food for that day for their families. Thus, with no money, they would go hungry after a hard day’s work, and have to live with a disappointed family (Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14-15; Prov. 11:24; Jer, 22:13; Mal. 3:5)!
“Fraud.” The earnings of the poor were a meager fraction of that of the owners. And, even when the workers were paid, it was not sufficient pay to provide care for themselves and family. Sometimes, they were not even able to “glean” the land they just worked (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19).
So, what we think is rich in God’s perspective is really not, not important at all. Wealth in money and things do not make you rich in God’s sight or and what really matters. As relationships and our sanctification in Christ is what is real riches. The devotion to material wealth comes from selfish motivations, and this selfishness will be used to judge us (Acts 2:17; 1Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; 1John 2:18).
Look at the context and know this, the poor will not be ignored by God; their cries reach Him. Our responsibility to care for them must be heeded! There is never an excuse to cheat or take advantage of another person. For a Christian, it is diametrically in opposition to whom Christ is and what He has done for us! The cry and the fact of the evidence are testimony and evidence against such an evil person (Gen. 4:10).
Relationships and our sanctification in Christ is our true wealth of riches!