Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Rich Man’s Curse

Jas 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Jas 5:2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
Jas 5:3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Jas 5:4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Jas 5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

Consider for a moment, Tiger Woods, Bernie Madoff, David Hasselhoff, just a small sampling of some rich and very unhappy people at the moment.

What does money tend to buy, happiness or sorrow? If you think about it, most often the more money a person has, the less they trust other people. When you don’t trust people, you become cynical. Cynical people are not happy people.

The more they have, the more they have to worry about protecting it. It is ironic that the rich build nice dwellings to impress, then, for the purpose of security, eventually they have to erect fences so nobody can see the property.

Many of the rich tend to look down upon those who are without. Many are kind only to those who are in a position to do something for them. Subsequently, they have no use for “the little people.” They are placed in a position to oppress the poor. They become the lenders and, as the Bible says, the borrower is servant to the lender.
The rich may also feel they are above the law or moral standards which are the norm in society. Therefore they may abuse drugs, sex, money and privilege to their own destruction.

Joy comes only when we place others above ourselves, when we serve rather than being served. Constant pampering and being catered to causes discontent and a lack self worth and fulfillment.

Also, riches have a tendency to be very transient. They can mean nothing in the wake of a law suit, a divorce or a prison sentence.

There are those who have monetary riches who are very happy because they have learned to use their resources to be a blessing to others. They give heavily to the Lord’s work and to charitable causes. They have found that they have been blessed to be a blessing.

Having said all of that, we Americans need to realize that we are relatively rich. Our standard of living is so far above the average person in the world that we cannot deny that we are living luxurious lives. Just the fact that we have a house, a car, a cell phone, a computer, 3 meals a day and snacks to boot, hot and cold running water and plumbing, heat and air conditioning, furniture, TVs (plural), a job, closets and drawers full of clothes and an education, place us among the world’s richest class. We may not be considered filthy rich with money to burn, but we are in the upper 3 percent of the world’s population.

Therefore, we need to take James 5:1-5 personally. We have to avoid the pitfalls of the rich and be responsible with the monetary riches we are blessed with. Rather than using what we have to buy multiplied sorrows, put your riches to work in tithing, blessing the missionaries, alms-giving, serving our fellow man and helping those who are in need. These are the things that remove the rich man’s curse from us and enable us to be on the path toward joy.

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