In this election year we hear the question, “Are we better off than we were four years ago?” Twenty three million people are out of work. Don’t worry I’m not trying to be political nor cynical. Poverty is real in this world. And poverty is an issue when James writes to his Jewish brothers in Christ.
I was in Sturgeon Bay, WI recently and visited the Inn At Cedar Crossing. Great bakery there by the way! I asked the owners how the economy has affected their business. They said, “It hasn’t gotten better but it’s not worse. No one is spending money.” These days are tough for many businesses and people.
Now let me turn this in another direction, would you? I remember a time in my life when it seemed spiritual to be poor and unspiritual to have money. I don’t believe that anymore, nor do I see the reverse of that thought because money is not the problem. People are.
Everybody has problems. Everybody faces trials. Everybody sins. Everybody suffers or will experience suffering, even if they live the good life now.
Read what James says about this.
9 Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 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
The neat thing about the gospel of God’s grace is that it has a leveling effect. To a poor blind beggar our Lord said, “Arise.” To rich Zacchaeus, He said, “Come down.”
James is no-nonsense but full of common sense. He wants followers of Jesus to know God’s love translates into building solid loving relationships in spite of tough times – like God does with us. So James talks about God’s blessing now and in eternity, when we endure testing and temptation.
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Money comes and goes. People last! God last! Eternity last! In spite of tough times, what are your thoughts about people being God’s priority?