Summary: What is our attitude about money?
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882 in New York City in accordance with the Central Labor Union. In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow their example.
Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. Municipal ordinances were passed, state bills and finally Congress passed a bill on June 28th, 1894, making Labor Day an official holiday on the first Monday in September.
Anyone who works likes a holiday. We even celebrate Labor Day by calling it the last official weekend of summer. Many travel and spend time with their families over this long weekend.
In our text James speaks about money. Let’s be honest we work because we have to make money. We sing like the seven dwarfs Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go. Or like the famous bumper sticker, I Owe, I Owe, so off to work I go.
But here in God’s Word it’s not talking about making more money, or paying off debt, the Bible is speaking to our attitude about money. James says here that how we treat people, fellow workers, and our leisure time, speaks volumes of our character. In other words Money Matters.
Some have the attitude of extravagance. Some have the live within their means attitude. Others have money but live like there are broke:
John G. Wendel and his sisters received a huge inheritance from their parents. They spent very little of it and did all they could to keep their wealth for themselves.
John was able to influence five of his six sisters to never marry, and they lived in the same house in New York City for over 50 years. When the last sister died in 1931, her estate was valued at more than 100 million dollars. Yet, her only dress was one that she made herself, and wore for over 25 years.
Again we see that James is the most practical book in the Bible. What He is preaching about in our text is the Lord is the Lord. It’s a continuation of chapter 4 and what we are to see is that Jesus is the Lord of everything including Money Matters. The problem wasn’t that wealthy people were sinful. The problem was God was blessing His people and God’s people were hoarding the money God blessed them with.
We must see today that our attitude about money must come from a proper biblical perspective about who is the Lord of our lives. When it comes to Money Matters, who is the Master of our Money?
Let’s examine today the three Warnings James gives us on Money Matters.
I. The Prophecy of Money (v.1-3) Here we see that Money Talks. It speaks volumes about people and what their attitude is about money. The Bible teaches us that we are stewards of what God has entrusted to us. In Psalm 62:10, the Bible says, “if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” (NKJ) That is if God entrusts us with more we should never take our focus of what the Lord wants and put it on our wealth. Here James warns us of what God will do if we put our trust in our bank accounts and not on Him. Notice first of all:
A. Future Warning (v.1) This warning is to the Christian men of chapter four who pushed God aside and placed material possessions on the throne as and idol. This idolatry will turn into a judgment a misery that is coming upon them. It might mean that they throw away their families or lose God’s blessing and because of their idolatry they need to wake up to what is coming.
1. Attention (v.1a) “Come now,” it means look here, pay close attention to what you are sacrificing and what you are losing. Why? God wants them to understand that we must:
a) Pay attention to how the wealth was gained
b) Pay attention to how the wealth was used.
These businessmen had a business plan in chapter 4 verse 13-14 and remember that plan didn’t include God. It is when we try to arrange our future and predict our profit without any regard to the one who knows the future that we are heading for disaster.
2. Admonition (v.1b) “weep and howl” this indicates the lamenting and grief that awaits someone when disregard God’s plan for their lives. Weep is the same word used to describe Peter’s repentance following His denial of Christ.
Miseries refer to hardships that will come upon us as God disciplines His children. Let’s remember that faithful stewardship, tithing and giving to the work of the Lord is not a plea from the church to get money. God is not raising money He’s raising people to do His work and faithful stewardship builds people.