Summary: This is the final part of James’ sixth test of faith—the pride test. This third part of the pride test deals with our pocketbooks--greedy pride.
1. The first example of greedy pride is hoarding treasures
2. The second example of greedy pride is defrauding measures
3. The third example of greedy pride is indulging pleasures
A story is told about a rich man who was in the hospital on his deathbed. The doctors had only given him a short time to live, but there was something he felt he needed to take care of before he died. But he also knew it wasn’t something he could take care of for himself. So he called his three closest friends in by his bedside. He called his pastor, his doctor, and his business partner. As they all gathered around his bed, the old man began to talk to them about his money. He said, “I know that everybody says that you can’t take it with you. But who really knows? What if they’re wrong?” All his life he had prided himself in preparing for every possibility. Just because he was dying didn’t make that change. So here was his plan. He told his friends, “I’m giving each of you an envelope containing $100,000. After I die, I want each of you to slip the envelope in my jacket pocket at the funeral service. Then if I do need the money in the afterlife, I’ll have it. I’m giving each of you an envelope because you are my most trusted friends.” Well, it wasn’t long until the old man died. Just as expected, each of the three men slipped something into the man’s pocket as they passed by his casket at the funeral. After the service, the three men met up to talk about the parting of their dear friend. As they were talking, the doctor said, “Guys, I have a confession to make. You know with the cost of medicine and insurance and other expenses, my clinic is broke. We desperately needed repairs on our equipment, so I took $20,000 out of the envelope to pay for them.” The others were quiet for a minute. Finally, the pastor broke the silence. He said, “I’ve got a confession to make too. As you know, the church hasn’t been able to make our budget for a while now. We need to start a new mission, but haven’t had the money. I just couldn’t see burying all that money that could be going for the Lord’s work. So I took $50,000 out of the envelope for the new mission.” The businessman looked down his nose at both of them. He said, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I can’t believe you would betray our friend’s solemn trust like that. I want you both to know that I placed the full $100,000 in his jacket pocket just like he asked. As a matter of fact, I wrote him a personal check to cover the full amount. When he cashes it, it’s his. Money does funny things to people, doesn’t it? Actually, money doesn’t do anything to people. Money is an inanimate object. It’s a thing. It can’t do anything. It can’t really change people. But what happens is, money reveals who a person really is on the inside. It removes many of the barriers that keep people from acting like they really want to act. From showing who they truly are. From uncovering their innermost self. Over the past two sermons in James, we’ve seen who we really are in our innermost self, haven’t we? Apart from Christ, we are all full of ourselves. That’s called pride. Pride is placing our selfish nature and desires in the place where only the Lord should be. A few weeks ago, we saw what happens when we place our selfish desires above God’s desire. Last week, we saw what happens when we place our personal plans above God’s plan. This morning, we’re looking at the final part of James’ sixth test of faith—the pride test. This third part of the pride test that James covers in our passage this morning deals with our pocketbooks. What a way to start the New Year—talking about money. More specifically, talking about the greedy pride that can come from using our money the wrong way. This morning, I want each of us to avoid greedy pride. I want us to avoid greedy pride by using the resources God has given us the right way. By using them the way that He expects us to. By using them in a way that honors Him. In order to do that, we’re going to look at the wrong way that James highlights in this passage. We’re going to look at three examples of greedy pride. The first example of greedy pride is hoarding treasures. Look with me at verses 1-3: