This is a great passage for this time of year! Too many times, we get caught up in buying and gaining more and more. I see two different attitudes towards wealth and riches, as well as having more stuff. Certainly these attitudes/sins are nothing new. The first attitude is that of coveting. People get angry when they don’t have what others do. People feel entitled. The second attitude is what this passage especially speaks of. James says, “Now listen you rich people…” They don’t treat what they have like it is temporary. They cry over what they no longer have. Misery is coming because the moths have eaten your clothes, possessions are rotten! When we realize that it’s the attitude that counts, we will view what we have differently and act better towards what we work for or are given.
The Heart Attitude- Do We Love Money Or Things?
Often we don’t look at the real heart attitude of those who have or don’t have. Someone can have little and still be content. The lack of money or possessions does not rule their life. Having money and the love of money are two completely different issues. The passage in 1 Timothy,(1 Timothy 6:10) clarifies that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. There are those who completely depend on their wealth to bring them happiness. They are self- indulgent. They keep adding to their wealth and don’t even realize that these material possessions are NOT going to last!
I find that when I love money, or love things, I am discontent. When I want more or something that others have and I don’t, I am coveting. This is the wrong attitude as well. The right attitude toward money, riches or wealth is not dependent on a financial number. We can be broke or wealthy and have a good or bad attitude towards wealth. Or we can expect, feel entitled or covet. We can cry over our temporary wealth destroyed or we can treat people who work with or for us wrong as well. This is common in our culture. Some are not given what they deserve, or they have condemned and murdered those “who weren’t opposing you.” Many wealthy people are “crooked”, when it comes to ethics in business. These attitudes and actions don’t please God! He won’t bless those who act in such a way.
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a]6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.James 5:1-6
Have An Open-Hand Attitude
Live your life with an open hand. Consider Job, when many of his belongings were destroyed, then his family was destroyed and friends turned their back on him. Job said, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Satan was looking for someone to destroy. God knew this and asked him if he had considered His servant Job. God told satan that he could take everything from Job, just don’t touch Job himself. Suddenly, one thing after another happened, taking his house, his animals and family. Job’s response however was that he fell down in worship to God!
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,Job 1:20-21, NIV
and naked I will depart.[a]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
So, what is your attitude toward money this holiday season? We just celebrated Thanksgiving where hopefully, we realize all that we have, we can be thankful for. This includes all that God has done for us, including answering prayers. Are you already thinking about more items to add to your home or your closet? Do you bless other people or are you only interested in pleasing yourself? What has become your focus during Christmas especially? We get so consumed in our rush to get things done, buy and have, that we don’t worship the child that was born to save us from our sin. Jesus was innocent and born in difficult circumstances, yet He came and still gave His life!