“If we get caught up in the materialistic things of this world, we could miss much of what God has in store for us here on earth and more importantly lose out on eternal treasures in heaven.”
“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.”
James 5:1-6 (NIV)
It has become easy to fall into the snare of feeling we must have what others have, go where others go, and do what others do, hasn’t it? Advertisements, social media, and just a ride through Raleigh with all the huge new homes going in sometimes gives the impression that we should all have whatever we want! No matter where we look we are encouraged to “Buy Now, Pay Later,” “Go Big or Go Home,” and promised “Bigger is Better.” We are told we should have it because we deserve it! HA! We know as Christians what we really deserve. God is gracious, and because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, He does not judge us as we ought to be judged. Therefore it is important for us to heed the warnings to the rich about holding on to possessions and cheating others for our own gain in James 5:1-6. These verses remind us of the coming judgement on the unbelieving rich. Though they may live today with every toy and modern convenience one could ever imagine, James warns that what is to come will never be worth all the riches in the world.
I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do occasionally click through the channels, I am always drawn in by the reality show Hoarders. Many of the people featured on the show hold on to their possessions as a means of security. No matter how much money or how many things we hold on to, our only true source of security is Jesus Christ. James addresses the hoarding of the rich by saying “your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.” We may all be guilty of buying things we do not need only to have them sit at the back of our cabinets, closets, or garages unneeded and unused. Heed the warning and refrain from over-buying and hoarding for yourselves and instead give your excess away for the benefit of others.
I encourage all of us to enjoy the blessings the Lord has bestowed on us but to remember, as we see others enjoying all this world may have to offer, that Jesus told us in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When it is difficult to find contentment in this life because of financial struggles, remember that James says those that are living in luxury in this world are “fattening your hearts in the day of slaughter.” Paul reminds us in Romans 8:18 that, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
If you struggle in this area, as I seem to quite often, let this serve as a reminder and even a warning: Time is short. God’s blessings for us are many. If we get caught up in the materialistic things of this world, we could miss much of what God has in store for us here on earth and more importantly lose out on eternal treasures in heaven.