Summary: Money can be used to leave a ’lasting legacy’, or dammage our souls. It all depends on how you react to the trials and blessings that it brings

“lasting legacy” Jas 1:1-11 (focus vs 9-11) WBC 28/9/3am

A rich man named Carl loved to ride his horse through his vast estate to congratulate himself on his wealth. One day on such a ride, he came on Hans, an old tenant farmer who had sat down to eat his lunch in the shade of a great oak tree. Hans’ head was bowed in prayer. When Hans looked up, he said, "Oh, excuse me, Sir. I didn’t see you. I was giving thanks for my food."

"Hmph!" snorted the rich man, Carl. He noticed the coarse dark bread and cheese which made up the old man’s lunch. "If that were all I had to eat, I don’t think I would feel like giving thanks."

"Oh," replied Hans, "it is quite sufficient. But it is remarkable that you should come by today, Sir. I . . . I feel I should tell you, I had a strange dream just before awakening this morning."

"And what did you dream?" Carl asked with an amused smile.

The old man answered, "There was beauty and peace all around, and yet I could hear a voice saying, `The richest man in the valley will die tonight.’"

"Dreams!" cried Carl. "Nonsense!" He turned and galloped away.

Hans prayed as he watched horse and rider disappear.

Die tonight, mused Carl. It was ridiculous, of course! No use his going into a panic. The best thing to do about the old man’s dream was to forget it. But he couldn’t forget it. He had felt fine, at least until Hans described his stupid dream. Now he didn’t feel too well. That evening he called his doctor, who was also a personal friend. "Could you come over?" he asked. "I need to talk to you." When the doctor arrived, Carl told him the old man’s dream--how the richest man in the valley would die that night.

"Sounds like poppycock to me," the doctor said, "but for your peace of mind, let’s examine you." A little later, his examination complete, the doctor was full of assurances. "Carl, you’re as strong and healthy as that horse of yours. There’s no way you’re going to die tonight." Carl thanked his friend and told him how foolish he felt for being upset by an old man’s dream.

It was about 9 a.m. when a messenger arrived at Carl’s door. "It’s old Hans," the messenger said. "He died last night in his sleep."

This story is told by Henry Gariepy in PORTRAITS OF PERSEVERANCE, (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1989).


You know- it’s hard to keep up with James’ apparent changes of themes!

- this bit can leave you kind of bewildered! How did we get onto wealth?

o We were on trails of various kinds only a second ago!

 Maturity, wisdom being the aim. Perseverance the means

But, though he may be a grasshopper- he’s a preacher, too. Must be linked somehow!

They are. It’s continuing the theme, in fact:


Money can be a trial, too. And like any ‘trial’ it can be a threat or a blessing to the journey of our soul

- either way! Not enough; “oh, I wish I had their money, then I wouldn’t have to worry’

o or “I wish I didn’t have this responsibility”

o seriously! I’ve counselled some to take the HARD option, and be good stewards of their money

It’s not just the rich who have money probs!

Of course, money is neutral. But because it has great power (out there, and on us)… and because it is sneaky, subtle and insidious in it’s workings on us

- the Bible tells us often how to win the trial and tests it puts on our lives.

o And your attitude to money can be a litmus test of the health of your soul

It’s true that material things can – be a great blessing, or can wage war against your soul

- in our culture, they are mainly a hindrance, I reckon

- Illustr: still processing the comparison between the people of Lagos who have so little yet are SO RICH, and us who have everything… but can be so poor

’We are a society with everything to live with and nothing to live for’.

- Victor Frankl.

I don’t want that of you or me, this morning. I want us to have life to the full… and leave a LASTING LEGACY behind us.

And the incredible thing about the church… here … James’ audience is the diversity of the group

- those happy (encouraged ion ch 5 to ‘sing songs of praise’

- those in trials…. Those about to go through trials

- those rich…. Those poor

Where else would you get this? At the golf club? Working man’s club?

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