Read James 5:1-6
As I read through James 5:1 – 6, I’m reminded of the Dickens story A Christmas Carol. We have an old video tape of a movie version entitled Scrooge, starring Alistair Sim as Scrooge. This is the best one I’ve seen.
You know the story, Scrooge is completely self-absorbed and his whole life is about his money and wanting to get more. It doesn’t matter to him that he takes advantage of people like Bob Cratchit. He’s not concerned about being fair but only gaining more wealth.
Then he’s visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley and the three spirits. In the version we have, he clearly repents, turns to Christ and is saved. We see a complete transformation where he now takes great joy in giving raises and gifts. With the change that has occurred within him, he’s in a position to start repairing relationships and humbly asks for forgiveness.
He has been freed from the chains holding him down and is absolutely full of joy.
I love seeing positive life change!
Back to James, I’m convinced the wealthy people he’s addressing are not followers of Jesus and he doesn’t seem to have any hope for them. They’re not guilty because they are wealthy, they are guilty because of what they do or don’t do with their wealth.
Their crimes are:
- That they have hoarded wealth and not put it to work for the benefit of others
- They have acquired wealth by cheating others
- They are living in luxury and self-indulgence with no regard for others
- They have even murdered innocent (righteous) men. Think Jesus, Stephen and ultimately even James the author.
As followers of Jesus Christ we have been given much, especially in this country. It’s OK to enjoy what God has given us but we also need to put it to work to help others. I’m thinking of material things but also, and perhaps more importantly, spiritual things.
We’ve been given the cure for eternal death!
Will we just keep it to ourselves or will we share it with others who haven’t yet come to know Jesus Christ?
Just like Scrooge, we can experience great joy when we put others first and share with them the blessings we have received, while treating them as we want to be treated.
It’s an incredible testimony to a lost and dying world!