1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you. - James 5:1-6
Personally, I find James 5:1-6 to be a challenging read because of its sharp tone. James addresses his audience with a gentler tone earlier in his letter. He calls his reader “beloved” and he gently implores them to listen to his wisdom by calling them “beloved” But the tone becomes harsh here at in chapter 5, and his admonishment is strong. If I’m being completely honest, chapter 5 has always made me uncomfortable. When something is uncomfortable, it’s easy to avoid of dismiss. We don’t spend time where it’s uncomfortable, or we think it doesn’t apply to us.
But one thing I have found to be true when reading scripture is that if a passage is challenging, He has something important in there for us. While it is a challenging passage to read, the exhortation is there for a reason. It is our responsibility to lean in and look where it’s hard. Chances are, if you find it challenging as I do, there is an area of your heart that is not lined up with this teaching.
God calls us to be responsible with our money, and to be faithful to use it for His glory. I remember when my husband and I finally shifted our thinking to live under the belief that everything we have is His - every good and perfect gift is from above. Money was once a source of stress between my husband and I, there never seemed to be enough of it and we were always trying to stretch it in several different ways. We would give occasionally to the church, but not consistently. We believed since we barely had enough to support our lifestyle, we couldn’t possibly give to the church - that instruction was meant for people who had extra money to give. We foolishly believed if God wanted us to give more, He would give us more.
How foolish we were, and for so long! Thankfully, He pricked both of our hearts at the same time and changed our perspective. It was a time when my husband had just lost his job and our outlook financially was fairly bleak. We weren’t sure how we were going to make ends meet. We had been living a lifestyle that far exceeded our decreased income, and reducing our expenses meant significant change. It could have been a frightening time full of anxiety and fear, but He came in and filled both our hearts with this supernatural peace.
The first choice we made was to right the wrong and give our tithes to the church. We gave anywhere and everywhere we felt He called us to give at a time when we had nothing to give - generously and without hesitation - and He has blessed our lives beyond measure. When you understand that it is all His, and that you are simply called to steward His resources while you are here on this earth, all the fear and anxiety that surrounds money falls away. We trust that He will provide because He promises to care for us, and He has never let us down. He makes a way - always has and always will.
God calls us to be responsible with HIS money, and to be faithful to use it for His glory. And He is so incredibly patient with us as we learn that valuable lesson. So thankful we love a God who waits for us.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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