Thursday, November 20, 2008

James 4:13-5:6

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Those words are attributed to Mother Theresa, but they might also have been spoken by James.

Rich people tend to be pretty confident about tomorrow. Their riches are a way to get things done, make people notice, create a safety net that protects them from the things that trouble so many people in the world today. They are pretty sure they'll do what they want when they want how they want and nobody is going to stop them.

Rich people in some way generally need to cut themselves off from their humanity. How else can we explain the willingness of the rich to enjoy luxury while other humans die from lack? They do not see these inequities as a manifestation of their selfishness, but as their right and privilege based either on their station in life or on their hard work.

James will have none of this. Riches for him create an illusion that will be dispelled on the day of judgment. What for a brief time seemed like a source of pleasure will now become “evidence against them”, “eating their flesh like fire.”

Boy, I’m glad I’m not rich. Stick it to them, James!

Because if I were rich… if I happened to be living in the top 5% (and most likely, top 1%) of the wealthiest people who ever lived… if I happened to have a home with more space than I need, multiple cars, enough food to be overweight, gadgets and conveniences most the world doesn’t even dream of…

Wow, would this be scary. This would shake me to my very core. If I took this at all seriously, I’d have to change the way I live.

Yeah, I’m so glad I’m not rich. Aren’t you?

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