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. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
Money is the topic Jesus taught more about than anything else in the Gospels. It’s not most people’s favorite topic, but it mattered a lot to Jesus! When we think about money now, it’s easy to get lost in all of the advice, tools, and resources. How much do we save? Money’s tight, so how much do I give? How can I afford all of my bills this month? For all the questions we have about money, there’s wisdom we can find in Scripture.
In this passage of James, he’s giving a warning to the rich. It’s not the happiest of passages, but it teaches us one thing: we are not meant to hoard wealth on earth. It serves a literal purpose that we’re not meant to hoard money for ourselves. We are called to make a difference in our community. We do this by tithing or giving what we can—think of this as giving your first and best. It also serves a spiritual meaning: our purpose and identity are not found in what we have on earth. When this is true, it’s easier to look beyond ourselves to serve. This goes back to what we’re called to do: make a difference.
When Jesus is Lord of your money, you’ll find it impacts more than just yourself. Instead of hoarding, you’re giving; instead of self-indulging, you’re serving; instead of finding your identity in money, you’re reminded that your identity can only come from God.
So, how is Jesus Lord of your money? How can you use your first and best to make a difference?