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Summary: James gives Christians advice the issue of money. 3rd in the series

Jesus Holy Name September 3, 2006

Text: James 1:5-11 Pentecost XIII, Redeemer

“Wisdom and Riches”

The Book of James 3rd in the Series

The issue of money has been and will continue to be a prominent topic that every Christian must deal with. We live in a society were money speaks. The world does not live on the “barter” system, nor do we. We all have either exchanged our time for money and are presently exchanging our time for money. We may be receiving a retirement check, or a SS check, or income from those for whom we work.

Money drives the stock market. Money and interest rates drive the housing market, which in turn drives jobs. Money builds parking lots. Perhaps no area in our lives affects us, tempts us, or troubles us more than money.

Jesus spoke a great deal about money. Of the 38 parables recorded in the Bible, 16 are concerned with money and possessions. The Bible contains 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2000 verses on money and possessions.

Today we turn again to the book of James where he challenges us to use wisdom in regards to our money and possessions.

Read the text. James 1:5-11

The TV show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” has become an intriguing show to watch because of the individuals and the dependability of their lifelines. Yes, they are going for a million dollar pay off but how long will their life lines last? The constant is always asked: “Is that your final answer?”

Suppose God came to you and offered you one wish. You could ask for anything in the whole world. What would be your final answer? What would you ask for? (pause for reflection)

God gave that very choice to Solomon. Solomon had recently become king of Israel after the death of his father, David. I Kings 3 records this event. “At Gibeon (where Solomon had gone to offer his worship) the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream and God said, “ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon responded: “You have shown great kindness to my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. …you have made me king in place of my father David.” How can I lead your people? May I have a discerning heart to govern your people and distinguish between right and wrong? In other words, Solomon was asking for wisdom to be able to see life from God’s perspective. He wanted to make decisions that were right and just. The bible says that God was pleased with the request. He gave Solomon a “wise and discerning heart” and then he added wealth, fame and a long life.

Would that have been your final answer?

James writes: When trials and troubles come your way… if you lack wisdom, ask God for it. If you are rich, or if you are poor….if your circumstances are humble, ask God for wisdom. Why? Because at the end of the day the ….the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the plant, its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the famous line used at all Lutheran gravesides becomes an equalizing truth.

“We brought nothing into this world and we take nothing out of this world with us.”

Ben Franklin wrote: “Money never made a many happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in nature that creates happiness. The more a man has the more he wants. Instead of it filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and triples that want another way.”

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