Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.Sounds like a fun passage to present, huh? He began by expressing that most of us don't consider ourselves rich and so it's easy to pass over this section thinking that it doesn't apply to us. But when we define "rich" as "having more than we need," almost all of us realize that we are rich, especially when we consider the world economy. James is talking to those who have more than they need, explaining that the "riches" they trust in are rotted.
So is James blasting the wealthy for being wealthy? No, not really. The question we need to ask is Why does God give us more than we need?
Mark gave a great illustration: Suppose you are little Billy's parent. You decide to take little Billy and his friend little Johnny to the park for a picnic. They each bring their lunches. Little B and little J each pull out their peanut butter and jelly sandwiche, apple, and juice box for lunch. When they are finished, little Billy (your son) reaches in his bag and pulls out a bag of cookies. Little Johnny doesn't have a bag of cookies. As a parent, what are you hoping little Billy will do? Share his cookies with his friend, right? And you will be so proud with little Billy gives 4 cookies to his friend and gives 4 cookies to himself.
So when God gives us more than we need, it's not really our need He has in mind. Rather, He's thinking about the needs of others. And what a proud Father He is when we share our bag of cookies.
Joshua and I really enjoyed this talk and are praying for and looking for opportunities to share what we have been given. May you be blessed with the same opportunities.