Read James 5: 1-6
What are you willing to do to succeed in business and life? What does this mean to your faith and God’s true precepts?
The theme in this James five is covetousness. To make one prosperous by the manipulation of another may seem to be a good business model and make sense in the ways of the world, but; in God’s eyes, it is evil. Covetousness, in the Greek, signifies taking advantage of a situation as the motive, just for the sake of evil. It can be from going too far in bargaining at a market to having more than what is just in any dealings with others. This is coming from rich to poor-taking advantage, not seeking to get a good deal. Taken too far, it hurts and takes advantage of the weaker, less fortunate person (Rom. 1:29).
What we are getting out of a biblical model of a business life and success is that luxury and seeking satisfaction is an illusion. They only bring temporary relief and no real substance. It may be fun for now, it may work and your wealth may grow, but the fun now and pay later plan is not worth it! The real treasure is living in Christ, sharing Him with others, and with what awaits you in eternity (Matt. 7:24-27; 19: 16-26; Luke 12:33-34; 1 Tim. 6:17-19; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 Tim. 6:9-10; Heb. 10:32-39)!
Remember, the Christian life has liberty and grace, but we are never to forget our responsibility and call. If you store up treasure on earth, your heart will be besieged by disappointments, and the storms of life will overwhelm you.
Pleasure and luxury refer to self-indulgence, from eating a pound of chocolate at once to partying your way to oblivion. Too much excess and its pursuit will leave you empty and alone. It will cause you, at best, to gain a lot of weight or to lose your friends, and, at worst, cause you to lose your life and miss out on your heavenly reward! If it is money, wealth, power, drugs or sex it will be even worse for you. Self-indulgence seeks what is fleeting; while Christians are made for eternity (Gen. 3:1-7; Num. 20:7-12; 2I Sam. 13:1-19; 1 Kings 21:1-7; Luke 16:19-31).
Fattened your hearts. The image here is animals being slaughtered; the rich are the animals who are not aware or do not care. Are we doing this to ourselves?
If our desires are contrary to God’s call and precepts, it will lead us to destruction. It is not necessarily because God is there waiting with an ax; rather, He is there with His loving arms open. When we ignore Him, we destroy ourselves; He has warned us that it will happen. A god who does not warn is a god who does not love!
Leading a lavish lifestyle while others who work for you starve, or who are the ones you are called to care for. This is why how we are handling money has eternal consequences. While, Jesus says all Christians are to care for the poor: Matt. 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 7:22; 12:33; 14:13,21; 18:22; 19:8; 21:2; 21:3; Acts 9:36; 10:4; 10:31; 24:17; Rom. 15:26; Gal. 2:10; James 2:23-6).
The theme here is that the rich, in their condescension, are just fattening themselves up for the slaughter of Judgment. Thus, they are fattening themselves up for their own slaughter, brought about by their own deeds and words (Jer. 12:3; Amos 4:1-3; 6:4-7)!