Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 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. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you.
One of the key distinctions in this passage of scripture is PEOPLE
James starts by addressing rich PEOPLE but the context of the scripture is that their wealth has caused them to mistreat poor PEOPLE
They have withheld payment from the workers in the fields, those without a voice, those without the opportunity to challenge the rich. PEOPLE who really weren’t being treated as PEOPLE.
I struggle with the inequality of wealth in our world. I wrestle with the statistic that last year 26 PEOPLE owned the same as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity.
But, I love the generosity of people and charities, who see beyond the statistics, see that each of those statistics are people. People who could have a better chance if they can access education, clean water, who might not die as young if their living and working conditions could be improved. People and charities who say we can accumulate wealth to help others.
People who see people. It’s a good place to be because God sees them. In fact James reminds his readers that the Lord hears the cries of those who have been cheated. he uses a special name for the Lord, “Lord of the Sabaoth,” which is the Hebrew word for “host.” “The Lord of the Host” is one of the majestic names for God and portrays Him as the commander of the heavenly armies. This conveys the idea that the abuse of the poor gets the attention of the supreme commander of all of heavens armies! WOW! God never loses sight of people
Today, don’t lose sight of people, see all people as God sees them.
The reality is that wealth inequality isn’t just experienced on a global scale, but it’s also local. In our town we have people who sleep outside because they have no home to call their own. We have people who can’t afford to eat, who live in relative poverty, who are unemployed.
Let’s not lose sight of people who God sees
Today, why not use some of your wealth to help a person who needs help
Have a good day
Pastor Jon Keel