Godly wisdom for rich and poor
Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. James 1:9-11 NLT
Christians do feel that at times they are out-of-sync with the culture and society where they live. Their faith in God placed them in a position where they suffer socially and economically. James is writing to believers that have been affected financially because of their faith. Some have become poor because of persecution. James reminds them that there is nothing to be ashamed about their social status “for God has honored them.” They might feel that they are being looked down by others and such attitude might affect them in their own perception of themselves that could lead to self-pity, but James encourages them that God has a different perception. They are part of God’s family and they are His children. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory” (Romans 8:17a). It is not material prosperity that could be looked upon as a sign of God’s approval and poverty as a sign of God’s displeasure. Our faith will experience ups and downs in our Christian lives. And we need not doubt God’s love if we know that we are living in accordance with His will. James also reminds Christians who are still enjoying a life of prosperity. “And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them” (James 1:10). Material wealth could tempt those who are rich to attribute the blessings they have to their abilities to accumulate and fail to realize that God is the source of everything. “…the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced” (Matthew 13:22b). We can easily be deluded by the lure of the material wealth that we lose focus of the One who called us from darkness into light. This is why we need God’s wisdom so we will take heed of His command. “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). Life here on earth is temporary and we will not be able to take with us the material things we have accumulated on this side of eternity. We will be foolish to glory in our riches for “They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away” (James 1:10b-11).