Neglect of personal responsibility
For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you. James 5:4-6 NLT
James, from the text, continues to warn his readers that they have “hoarded” up treasure. They have lost sight as to the purpose of God regarding material blessings. Scripture never tells us that we should not save money. It urges us to be wise and prudent by giving thought about the future. We should be prudent in the steps we are taking when we consider the role God gave us being faithful stewards of His blessings. “The prudent carefully consider their steps. The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence” (Proverbs 14:15-16). Hoarding happens when we continue to accumulate above and beyond that which is necessary. We have all heard stories about people living in foul conditions while surviving on dog or cat food. They were assumed to be very poor, but were discovered to have great wealth when they passed away. Such people are examples of hoarders. Another aspect of ignoring the role of being faithful steward of God’s blessings is the neglect of the responsibility to others. Workers are being deprived of their rightful wages. “Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay” (James 5:4). The rich would certainly not have been hurt by paying the wages. They had plenty from which to pay! But the workers, who lived from day to day and from hand to mouth, were hurt tremendously by not getting paid. This should not be ignored for the cries of those who are cheated are heard by God. It is the cry of anguish. The God who heard their cries will mete out the just punishment: “You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you” (James 5:5-6). Consider what happened to the Lord Jesus Christ, although he was just in every way, He was murdered by dying on the cross. He could have avoided this death since He has the power to resist, yet He did not do so. He willingly submitted to unjust treatment so He could provide eternal salvation for sinners. This is why, He is calling all sinners to repentance and urged them to not neglect their responsibility by treating others justly. The poor as well are urged to come to Christ and realize that they are given the assurance that there are riches in Christ Jesus that this world can never offer. But all must come to Christ! And all who come to Christ will be truly changed, and that change will show up in how they treat others justly.