Summary: We can go from Riches to Rags in a hurry!


• SLIDE #1

• I was watching one of those crime shows on the dish the other day. This was a story of a young lady who went missing after going into a bar.

• Authorities have no idea where this young lady went, or what happened to her.

• In an effort to locate this young lady, the police started pursuing all the leads they could find.

• One of the leads they found which they thought to be important was some video footage of a young lady at the bar ordering some drinks. The mother of the girl told authorities what her daughter was wearing when she left home.

• The video which was not too good showed a young lady but this girl was wearing different clothing. The authorities based their investigation on this video footage of a young woman whose clothing did not match what the mother told them she was wearing.

• Now it is my understanding that in a missing person’s case, the first 24-48 hours are very important.

• Six weeks later, information surfaced that the young woman in the video was NOT the missing girl.

• Six weeks pursuing the wrong leads. The mother was very upset.

• Now imagine that you spend your whole life pursuing something that you feel is important. Your pursuit lasts for years.

• One day when you get to the end of life you find that what you were pursuing, you pursued based on bad information. What you thought you were going to find, you did not find.

• How devastating. Today we are going to examine a couple of verses that deal with both a poor and wealthy Christian. Now it is easy to look at the passage at a glance and think that God is condemning wealth, but wealth is not the real issue at hand.

• Things are not always as they appear. We need to understand there is more to this life than what we see.

• We do not want to get to the end of life and find we wasted it pursuing the wrong things.

• Let’s turn to James 1:9-11, we will begin with verse 9.

• SLIDE #2

James 1:9(ESV) 9Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,

• SLIDE #3

• First let us understand…


I. Worldly rags do not exclude one from heavenly riches.

• It is so easy to get fixated on the here and now that we can forget about what is waiting for us.

• James is trying to bring some encouragement to those who have very little economic means.

• The phrase “lowly brother” denotes one who is seemingly insignificant, weak or poor in the eyes of those around him.

• The context speaks of one who is financially poor.

• It would be easy to surmise that if I am not doing well financially that God must not be caring for me.

• In Jesus day there were basically rich and poor, there was not much of a middle-class.

• I would imagine it would have been hard to sit back and see those who had so much and being one who had so little, wondering where God was.

• It was not like today when we are dealing with a 36inch TV verses a 72 or a Mercedes verses driving a Ford.

• The poverty was real and pronounced.

• There was also the issue of persecution that was hitting many of the folks.

• James reminds the readers that instead of focusing on financial issues focus on what is waiting for them!

• He says they should boast in their exaltation. The word “boast” is not used in an arrogant way but rather to celebrate.

• The poor are urged to boast not in their own ability, but in what God has done for them.

• No matter what our position in life is James calls us to delight in our position in Christ.

• Depression, resentment, and selfish ambition can easily characterize the lives of those who are not well off economically.

• Poverty is not a virtue, but how we handle the adversity can be.

• SLIDE #4

Philippians 4:11-13(ESV) 11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

• Rags on earth do not mean rags in heaven!

• Let’s look at verse 10

• SLIDE #5

James 1:10(ESV) 10and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.

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