Regular readers of this blog will probably have noticed that I have been away for a few weeks. I have been quite ill, and I would like to thank my guest authors for filling in the gap while I was unable to write. It started out as a pretty average illness, but a reaction to medication made it quite serious. I honestly thought I might die. That’s the kind of feeling that tends to change your perspective on life, and make you think about eternity.
I believe that James was trying to teach a similar lesson in James 1:9-11. He says that the poor should take pride in their high position, and the rich should take pride in their low position. That is not to say that either are necessarily in the position they are in because of the amount of money or material possessions that they have. The point is that those who have little money tend to put their trust in God, while those who are wealthy face the temptation of putting their trust in their own riches and their own ability to control things. Unfortunately that is a false hope, because we truly do not have control over what happens to us. Yes, there are some aspects of our lives that we control; we do have the power to make wise or unwise choices that can affect our future, but there is a large part of our lives than can be affected by outside forces as well. Anything could happen at any moment that would change our life forever, or end it instantly.
The Bible is not against having wealth, but it is against making it a priority in our lives and trusting in it for our salvation from the trials that we face. The Bible tells us that God can provide for any need that we may have. (Matthew 6:19-34, Luke 12:29-32) God wants us to trust in Him, and to be men and women of strong character. He does not look at our outward appearance or at our possessions, but at our heart. (I Samuel 16:7) We need to make sure that our hearts are wholly devoted to Him, and then we will be ready for eternity.