Summary: "If money talks," said a popular comedian, "all it ever says to me is good-bye"
"If money talks," said a popular comedian, "all it ever says to me is good-bye"
There are several miscellaneous matters in this last chapter, but the key thought seems to be that of the second coming of Christ (vv. 7-9). When Christians honestly look for the return of Christ, the evidences of this hope show up in their lives.
When we gain an eternal viewpoint, our earthly perspective is never the same. Our view of money changes.
After all, our viewpoint is all important:
A man in New York City had a wife who had a cat. Actually, the cat had her. She loved the cat. She stroked it, combed its fur, fed it, and pampered it. The man detested the cat. He was allergic to cat hair; he hated the smell of the litter box; he couldn’t stand the scratching on the furniture; and he couldn’t get a good night’s sleep because the cat kept jumping on the bed. When his wife was out of town for the weekend, he put the cat in a bag with some rocks, dumped it in the Hudson river, and uttered a joyful good-bye to the cat. When his wife returned and could not find her cat, she was overwhelmed with grief.
Her husband said, “Look, honey, I know how much that cat meant to you. I’m going to put an ad in the paper and give a reward of five hundred dollars to anyone who finds the cat.”
No cat showed up, so a few days later he said, “Honey, you mean more to me than anything on earth. If that cat is precious to you, it is precious to me. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll buy another ad and raise the ante. We’ll increase the reward to one thousand dollars.”
A friend saw the ad and exclaimed, “You must be nuts; there isn’t a cat on earth that is worth a thousand dollars.”
The man replied, “Well, when you know what I know, you can afford to be generous.”
If we have any inkling of what it means to be part of God’s kingdom, we can afford to be generous. We can establish priorities by the way we give and live.
In James 5, money talks about three sins of the wealthy.
I. Money talks about the sinful accumulation of wealth, (1-3) “. . . a witness against you.”
James 5:1. Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
The point he’s making here is that whatever you simply accumulate, DETERIORATES. God gives us wealth to be used for eternal values.
You either use your wealth for God or lose it. Someone asked of a wealthy man who died, “How much money did he leave” expecting the answer to be about the millions he left. But the answer was, “all of it.” You either use it for things of eternal value of you lose it.
Matthew 6: 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
In the Parable of the Pounds in Luke 19 the servant that received one pound hid it in a napkin which indicated that the servant did not really expect the king to come back. He was not at all concerned about the king’s return so he did not bother with the king’s business.
The corruption of the possessions of wealthy people witness against them. People who hoard don’t believe God gave them wealth for a reason.
For many years Hetty Green was called America’s greatest miser. When she died in 1915, she left an estate valued at $100 million, an especially vast fortune for that day. But she was so miserly that she ate cold oatmeal in order to save the expense of heating the water. When her son had a severe leg injury, she took so long trying to find a free clinic to treat him that his leg had to be amputated because of advanced infection. It has been said that she hastened her own death by bringing on a fit of apoplexy while arguing the merits of skim milk because it was cheaper than whole milk.
At one time, she was the richest woman in America. Her estate was valued at from 65 to 100 million dollars. Her income from real estate, stocks, bonds, etc.—was $5 a minute or $300 an hour. Yet Hetty lived her life on a lower scale than her scrubwoman did.