The misuse of money
Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. James 5:1-3 NLT
The Bible is not against us having riches. God is against the misuse of money. “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10). James could have turned the other way and not address the issue about the misuse of money. But he cared so much for others that he does not want them to be careless about this matter. So, he gave a stern warning and the resulting consequence once the warning is ignored. Misuse of money could lead to misery and trouble. This misery will result to weeping and groaning “because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you.” Wealth in those days consisted of three things: grain, clothing and precious metals. Not one of these things lasts! Some think that James had grain in mind when he used the word ‘riches’ in verse 2. If so, his point is that grain eventually rots. And fine clothes are not immune from ruin, but are eaten by moths (v. 2). And precious metals corrode or they will eventually drop in value. James’s point is not hard to understand. If we are obsessed with all these material things and they were taken away from us, we cannot help but weep and groan in anguish when they are gone. Another consequence of misuse of money is that “The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire.” James is talking about the future. If you will be so preoccupied with the things of this world and ignore the need of your soul, you might end up languishing for your soul will perish. Jesus, in driving His point against greed and misuse of money used the Parable of the Rich Fool. “‘A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’” (Luke 12:16-20). There is a heavy price tag when we misuse the money or the wealth entrusted to us by God. Riches are a blessing of the Lord, as Solomon testifies: “The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22). Our love for God should result to us being faithful stewards of His material blessings. “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV).