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Today, we pick up in verse 9:
9 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.James 1:9-11
This passage is about humility. Humble circumstances could be someone who doesn’t have much, but what they do, they do for others. This person’s rewards will be in heaven. But, we live in a society that wants it now. Fast food, microwave ovens, fast and free delivery with Amazon Prime. We can do our Christmas shopping from the couch in our pajamas if we want. We’re not used to having to wait for much. We pick up our cell phones to text a message that is delivered immediately.
The man who is rich has everything he needs. It would be easy for this man to feel he needn’t rely on God for anything. The rich man as he goes about his business may fade away like the blossom from the flower that falls and withers away. He has received his reward already. But the lowly will find treasure in heaven because he does not receive his reward on earth. This is a reversal of status which is referred to in other verses in both the Old and New Testaments. God exalts those who are low and brings down those who are high. (Examples are found in 1 Sam, 2:7-8, and Job 5:11 in the OT and in the teachings of Jesus as found in Luke 1:52-53 and Matt. 23:12 in the NT.)
At the cross the humble are exalted and the exalted are humbled. That’s something to keep in mind.
So, where do we put value in life? Do we put it in God or in the things of this world? It’s easy to get distracted by the shiny things that divert our attention, but it’s important that we return to God to establish balance in our lives. We reconnect by several ways. For many it’s attending church on Sunday. But merely attending a church service isn’t enough. We must go much deeper in our relationship with God. Reading the Bible is one way to get a better understanding of what Jesus was like. He is the one we should be trying to live like. Prayer and worship are also what we are commanded to do. Jesus gave us an example in the Lord’s Prayer. And we were created to worship God. Do we just sing songs or are we transforming to a vertical offering of our praise and worship? Reaching out to other people to do what we’ve been commanded by loving our fellow man, taking care of the least of these. So many ways we can do this. Sometimes we need to think outside the box to find simple ways to help others. It could be visiting someone in a nursing home, spending time with someone who can’t get out of their house or they just need someone to talk to. You’d be surprised how much those simple acts of kindness can mean to people.
We’ll continue looking at the trials and tribulations James discusses in this chapter tomorrow. I hope you’re finding this thought provoking if nothing else. I don’t profess to have all of the answers, but I find satisfaction in pursuing God’s wisdom.