10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.
It’s amazing how easy it is to let a great thing be crowded out by good things. This has been an incredibly busy week for me. It has been full of meetings with people who are facing various types of crises. As I was walking into work yesterday, knowing that I had over-scheduled my day, I found myself singing a line from an old Veggie Tales song that my kids used to sing:
I’m busy, busy, dreadfully busy
You’ve no idea what I have to do.
Busy, busy, shockingly busy
Much, much too busy for you.
In the Veggie Tales video, the character was too busy for other people. I was too busy for God. That is not a good thing. So, here I am again. I don’t want to be too busy to take the time that I need to take to dig into my relationship with Jesus.
Today’s verse is James 1:10. It follows James’ teaching on those who are lowly being able to boast in their exaltation. James understood the upside down Kingdom of God. God loves to exalt those in lowly positions. In James 1:10, our attention is turned to those that the world naturally exalts. There has probably not been a time in the past several thousand years where those who are rich are not exalted by the world.
When I was growing up there was a television show called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Each week, the affable host of the show would take you into the luxurious estates of celebrities, corporate moguls, and trust fund babies. I have to admit, I was a little envious at the end of every episode.
As a full-time pastor and part-time realtor, I find myself in some beautiful homes. One of my favorite things to do is to walk through the annual Parade of Homes here in the Twin Cities. These are the crème de la crème of model homes that the builders here in the Twin Cities use to showcase their new communities. It is so fun to see some of the new trends in real estate and to walk through homes that I will never be able to afford. But, truth be told, sometimes it is a little sad too.
The wealth that we acquire here on earth is temporary. We can’t take it with us. It is also fragile. I’ve watched many of my wealthy friends lose everything when a poor decision, a turn in the economy, or a health crisis took them by surprise. If our value comes from our wealth, then we will eventually succumb to the humiliation that James speaks of in this verse. It might happen in this life. It might happen in eternity. But, it will happen. True wealth isn’t found in possessions, bank accounts, or IRA’s. True wealth is found in Jesus. Like a flower of the field, the earthly wealth that we acquire will eventually fade away.
Jesus said, “19 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).
A person in a “lowly” position that is storing up treasure in heaven is exponentially wealthier than a “rich” person whose treasure is simply stored up on earth. Jesus showed us what storing up heavenly treasure looks like in Matthew 25:31-40.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.’
Living our life with eternity on our minds and in our actions matters. May you lay up treasure in heaven!