James 5:1-6: “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 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. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.”
In Part 1-An Introduction, we began to see how misplaced priorities are a sign of immaturity. The first misplaced priority we must deal with is wealth. The second is our businesses. The third is our comfort. Today, we examine some specific applications of getting our priorities in the correct order.
Whether or not we consider ourselves among the rich, these words of James can make us feel uncomfortable. They are meant to. Sizable wealth or not, we tend to base our security on it rather than on God. Anxiety over money—keeping it, growing it, protecting it—can drive us far from our only true security in Christ. And when a wealth-centered life affects the way we treat others, we are on our way to spiritual bankruptcy. James’ hard words are merciful warnings.
What are we to do about misplaced priorities? Get them in line with God’s Word!
Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Money will be worthless to us when Christ returns (or we die). Therefore we should spend time accumulating heavenly riches. Many people get v. 21 backward and say where your heart is, there will be your treasure. But that isn’t what Jesus says. Our heart follows our money.
The power and peril of wealth is it sometimes leads us to ignore God.
What should we do?
First, submit your earthly possessions to God. Let Him determine when and how to use them. We call this “Consecrated Money.” it is used to teach, help, help win people to Christ. Money yielded to God. The opportunities before us are staggering, and the needs are vast.
Second, remember that wealth that is honestly come by and wisely used is a blessing to its owners and those it helps.
Perhaps you are reading this today, and you know you have not stewarded the resources God’s given you. Maybe you’ve never recognized God’s blessing upon your life. You have been so focused on yourself, material gain, and promotion according to the world’s standards, and you haven’t made time for God. You can change that today. God cares more about your heart than how many suits you have in the closet, how many cars in your garage, or how full your fridge and extra freezer are. He wants a relationship with you. He has made it possible for a relationship through His son Jesus Christ, who became poor so that we might be made rich. Confess your sins, submit to God, and accept the free gift of grace and forgiveness that he offers. You don’t have to earn it, just accept it.
Father, keep us from being so blinded by earthly possessions that we fail to see the eternal treasure we cannot lose. Forgive us when we have worked for greed and gain. Thank you for the blessing of work and for the strength to do it for you.
Some questions to consider:
Has our wealth blinded us to God?
Has our desire for security and even excess so significantly dulled our ears that we barely hear God’s voice?
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