Summary: Wealth, Hoarding, Tithing, Others
LIFE APP – Using Things, But Loving People
James 5:1-6 (p. 849) October 12, 2014
[They called him “Trey” even though his real name is William. He was a bit of an underachiever. He was the class clown in school...somewhat of a rebellious “goof-off.” It got to the point that Trey’s parents felt it necessary to send him off to a private school which would provide a more strict and structured environment for him. He visited a psychologist for a while to help him better understand how to focus his concentration. When Trey was 13 he met a friend who had similar interests. As these two “nerdy” friends grew older, they went off to college, but quit after a couple of years to form their own company. They had some interesting ideas and a little bit of money, about 15 grand. But they made the right decisions with Trey’s first simple product, and received the attention of a business giant. They paid Trey to develop something they needed. He did...and he continued to build on that success...and 10 years later at the age of 35 he became the youngest person in America to reach Billion (that’s with a B) status. Now in his late fifties he was one of the richest private individuals in the entire world with a net worth of over 81 billion (yes that a Big B).
You know young Trey as William (Bill) Gates III, the founder of Microsoft. He returned as CEO in 2008 and spends his time working for his foundation.
But Bill Gates has already told his children he will not be leaving them a vast fortune. He is only giving them a miniscule (10 million each) part of his empire...Why: His response “I will pay for my children’s education and health care but I expect them to be a contributing part of society...I expect them to become independent enough to support themselves.”
Most of us don’t have to worry about vast wealth or being “billionaire trust fund babies” or having to make it on our own with a measly 10 million.
But as James opens up Chapter five he writes “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery coming on you.” (v. 1)
Who’s he talking to? Is it the “rich guy in Chapter 2 who comes into the church meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes?”
In fact...early in his letter James mentions that “The rich should take pride in their humiliation – since they will pass away like a wildflower.” (1:10)
Clearly James hasn’t written his letter to rich people...His letter has been addressed to the 12 tribes scattered among the nations...the recipients of this letter are poor Jews, scattered and persecuted all over the place throughout the world. So who are these “rich people” who should “weep and wail” because of the misery coming. James identifies these people with 3 characteristics...first:
I. THEY HOARD THEIR WEALTH
Right now in my pantry I have 2 giant supermarket cases of Donut Days Coffee...
SHOW PICTURE OF RICK WITH COFFEE
for our Keurig Coffee Maker. Kari has a hard time finding it...so when she found it on clearance at Krogers she bought all they had. I have become a coffee hoarder. A selfish collector of my Java riches....Why? Because I love it, and I was afraid someone else would come along and get it!
(“It’s mine I say...my precious!!!) – Lord of the rings voice imitation)
James describes individuals who love their wealth like Gollum
SHOW PICTURE OF GOLLUM
...loves the ring in J.R.R. Tolken’s trilogy. It’s obsessive, it’s their primary focus and love...It’s their security...it’s their “precious” God.
I’ve got to hold onto it...store it away so I can selfishly take care of my wants and needs. And if I have more money, I’m even more set for this life. (By the way I’m not talking about saving money and being free from debt I’m talking about “Loving Money.”
1 TIMOTHY 6:9-11 (p. 831)
When James says, “You have hoarded your wealth in the last days” he is echoing the parable of Jesus in Luke 12
LUKE 12:15-21 (p. 727)
Hoarding is that attitude that stores up things for ourselves, but is not rich toward God.
This isn’t about retirement or a college fund...It’s about our gratitude towards “riches.” Who’s in charge or your life? What motivates you? There are only two.
“I am the master of my fate! I am the captain of my ship” or
“Father, I work for your kingdom...I seek it first in my life...I love people and use things, not the other way around.”
There is accountability for how we view our stuff and how we use it. If we claim to be Kingdom dwellers...who want to seek it first.