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James 5

Warning to Rich Oppressors

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on 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 workers 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.[a] You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

I’m going to start posting my readings regularly, so I can keep disciplined myself. May not be everyday, but we’ll see.

This caught me today as a good reminder. How can a person’s wealth corrode and testify against them? When I look at all the people trying to amass wealth, and these are people who are either obsessive about it or subtle. I believe that God’s conscience in them will start knawing away at their guilt. And if their hearts are too hardened, there will be testimony from others who see their wealth objectively.

I’ve been reading about the different empires and wars and fighting recently, and this is a fact of life: we’re born, we live, we die. All the way from biblical times during the days of the judges, to the fall of Carthage, to the rise of the Holy Roman Empire, people have fought and struggled for power and wealth. But, after 40, 50, 70 years or so, they’re done. What eternal fruit do they have to show for it? Probably none.

When my wife and I had our apparel contracting business, sometimes my wife would joke that I operated it like a charity because we didn’t really make too much money. I was always trying to make sure we served our customers, and took care of ou workers. We may not have enriched ourselves during that time, but I can at least know that I didn’t take advantage of people under my care and responsibility.

Money is to be used to help people. I understand the need to save to take care of your own family. That’s a given because if you don’t, then you become other people’s burden. That’s not right. So, we all have t discern what is “enough” for us.

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