The Book of James helps us gain a good perspective on the real value of money.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
One of the many pitfalls the enemy tries to trick us into believing is the notion that money means security. If he can keep us occupied and consumed with making money, we will be of no use in God’s kingdom. These days, many of us are learning to live on less than we used to consider “normal.” With less money on hand or saved, we are tempted to feel less secure than we used to.
In his letter to suffering Hebrew Christians, James deals with this exact scenario in the first chapter.
But let the brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position; and let the rich man glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind, and withers the grass; and the flower falls off, and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will face away (James 1:9-11).
In the first chapter, James is encouraging his readers to see God’s purpose behind the trials they were going through. In the passage above, he specifically addresses those who are struggling financially. He compares their situation to people who are worshipping the god of money and are prospering (for the moment). James is encouraging struggling believers to consider their trials pure joy because as they persevere, God will meet all their needs. Those, whose god is money, will come to destruction, so don’t envy them. Believers are to consider their “higher calling” which will have much greater rewards. Far from offering security, money leads many to ruin.
AS I SEE IT
Once we understand the “disconnect” between money and security, a great freedomresults. (I’m still learning this, but at least I finally understand it.) When we stop holding what we have so tightly, we are free to give to those in need, as James requires in 2:14-17. John Wesley became aware of the value of giving for his own spiritual health when he said, “When I have money I get rid of it as quickly as possible, lest it find a way into my heart.” Perhaps the realities of life got to him when he later came up with his more comprehensive dictum: Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.
I find it interesting that James says that the rich man will “fade away” in the midst of his pursuits. While he is busy chasing his riches he will come to ruin. Whatever this means, it’s something to be avoided at all cost. Considering the times we live in, we had better make sure that our priorities are aligned with God’s. If He has placed us in situations where money is in short supply, and nothing we do seems to have any effect, we may as well play the hand we are dealt and do it with joy and faith that God knows exactly what He is doing. As James explains, trials produce testing; testing produces perseverance; and perseverance results in our spiritual maturity. It’s a shame we all need to be reminded of this, but we do. So take heart and enjoy the ride. Our Heavenly Father has called us to a higher calling. Let’s not disappoint Him.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Why do supermarkets make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?