“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 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. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men who were not opposing you.”
The underlying theme of James, which we see throughout the book, is humility. Today we want to discuss one of the dangers that believers and unbelievers alike can fall into and that is materialism. Materialism is an enemy of humility. It causes us to place our trust in something other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Materialism is a form of idolatry. It is a spiritual issue that has caused many today to be enslaved by the very things they “had to have.” Their lives are dictated and centered on the need to make money in order to pay for the things that they possess. Money has become their master:
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (mammon)!”
How do we fall into the trap of serving money? It begins when we believe that attaining wealth is the only path to prosperity. By doing this we to put a “high value” on money and possessions. We begin to trust in it. We deceive ourselves into believing that not only can it (wealth) purchase me tangible items, but we start to believe it can secure the intangible too. We begin to believe things like wealth can give me happiness; wealth will bring me peace; wealth will bring me security; wealth will give me confidence; or even wealth will secure my salvation.
Possessing wealth was a huge concern for Jesus! He spoke often about it, because He understood its potential dangers. He told his disciples in Matthew 19:23:
“I tell you the truth; it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
This astonished His disciples because they had been taught in their culture that prosperity was a sign of God’s blessing and poverty a sign of His displeasure. It caused the rich young ruler, Jesus was speaking to, to walk away sad, because he possessed great wealth. Wealth that he was unwilling to let go of…making me wonder “Who possessed who?”
Pastor Scott Burr