Kevin looked at James 5:1-6 in the Bible study last night, identifying 4 warnings to the rich:
1) the dangers of hoarding
Matt 19:16-23 talks about the rich young ruler who, though outwardly obedient to God’s commandments, still failed to enter God’s kingdom because he focussed on the wrong things and ultimately neglected God. Matt 6:19-21 reminds us that where are treasures are, there our hearts will be also. What we set our hearts on determine our ultimate goals. We need to hold onto the world’s possessions lightly.
2) the meanness of wealth
Rich people often withheld wages from their servants and were not fair with money. Lev 19:13, Mal 3:5 and Jer 22:13 all talk about the sins we can so easily commit with money. God’s character is just and He demands justice and fairness from all, especially those with wealth. Wealth is to be used wisely!
3) the dangers of hoping in wealth
It is dangerous to put one’s hope in wealth. Heb 13:5 urges us to be content with what we have, a sentiment echoed in 1 Tim 6:17-19, where we are urged to keep our lives free from the love of money. Phil 4:11-13 reminds us of the need to be content with whatever we have, content because we have found the ultimate treasure in Christ.
The rich took advantage of the weak. In Rom 12:17-21, we are urged not to seek revenge. There is far more to life than riches. Trusting in God helps us to live without an over-reliance on wealth and frees us from trying to take matters into our own hands. God is the just judge and we leave justice in His capable hands.