I am teaching through the book of James to my high school students. This past week we covered the second week of our series and discovered the James already talks about money. In James 1:9-11 he writes:
9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
One observation of this text is that God’s perspective of those who are rich and poor is different than how many people in the world view how much money others have.
Author Sam Allberry wrote a commentary on James titled James For You. He explains the Gospel’s implications for both the rich and the book. Allberry writes on page 27 that “The message of the gospel to even the poorest and most destitute Christian is that in Christ, you are a somebody. However materially lacking life might be, James says the poor believers are to consider their “high position.” This is what the gospel has given them. Spiritually, James tells them, you have made it.” He continues on the same page writing that “James is urging his readers, when the world is looking down on them because of their circumstances, to remember that because of Christ they are spiritually rich.”
Then, on pages 28 and 29 he writes “Once again, we need to remember the way the gospel contradicts the assessment of the world around us. For the rich Christian, no matter how much wealth they have and how great their standing is in the eyes of the world, the gospel is deeply and irreversibly humbling. They have had to acknowledge before God that however rich they are materially, they are utterly bankrupt spiritually. They are a Chrsitian because God has been generous, not because of any of their own achievements or accumulations. Spiritually, they have what they have because God has shown them grace. They needed a spiritual handout. They’ve come to God for charity.”
May we be a people who focus on the Gospel more than material wealth.