What have you done with your Riches?
James 5:1-6 (NRSV) 1 Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. 2 Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. 4 Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.
We are coming now to the end of the Epistle of James, and in these verses he speaks of what happens when we store up our treasures without thinking of others. James is probably not speaking to the believers, but instead to the Jewish unbelievers. The actual blessing of people having wealth is not so that the individual can live in luxury, but so the person who has money and belongings can help others.
James is not condemning those who have money, but he is making the point that what we have accumulated in this life will ultimately do us no good. But when we share with others who are less fortunate, then and only then will our wealth become a blessing for us and for those we help.
Our country has become more and more separated, and much of the conflict centers on the great divide that wealth, or lack thereof, can create. The Scriptures do not condemn the rich unless they have no concern for the poor, or worse yet, have tried to take advantage of the poor.
This past week a synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA was invaded by one man who hates the Jewish people, and as a result of his hatred eleven people died. Did you that when Jews began to migrate to America, many did well economically because they were different than other immigrants. These early immigrants who were Irish and the Polish never intended to stay and make a life on these shores. They were here to make money, send it back home, and then eventually they would return to their homeland. As a result, many did not learn the language nor did they try to assimilate into our society.
For the Jews, America was the last stop. They learned the language, tried to fit into American culture as much as they were allowed. They worked hard and ultimately opened their own storefronts and became successful. Still, they were resented and the anti-semitism continues to this day.
For those people who hate people simply because of their heritage, may I tell you that none of us is pure-bred anything. Take a 23 & Me test and you will see just what a mixed breed you are. Until we understand that each of us is a Child of God, we will be doomed to continue in hatred and discord until Jesus returns again. All I can say is, Come Lord Jesus, Come. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Father God, we ask for Peace and Healing for the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania. May each of us be instruments of your peace, and may we be generous to those who look to us for jobs, for security, and, yes, even for those who need a helping hand and can offer nothing to us in return. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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