“But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.”
---End of Scripture verses---
There are at least a couple of different ways to look at today’s verses. Set within the greater context of enduring trials when our faith is tested, James may be talking about drastic changes in financial circumstances. It is a great challenge to remain faithful to the Lord if a rich disciple should suddenly lose everything that he has (“his humiliation”). Stock market crashes have plunged many a man into the depths of depression and to thoughts of suicide.
It is equally if not more of a test for a poor Christian to remain faithful after the sudden acquisition of a financial windfall (“his high position”). Jesus said it is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom (Matthew 19:24). But, all things are possible with God so we should give “glory” to the Lord for whatever changes that take place, and learn to be content in every circumstance that we may find ourselves in (Philippians 4:11). If we have the Lord we have every good thing we could ever need!
Another way to look at this passage, and my preferred position, is that death is the great equalizer of all mankind therefore it matters not whether you are rich or poor or somewhere in between (Ecclesiastes 2:12-16). A “brother of humble circumstances” has much reason to glory if he is rich toward God in his faith. All the riches of heaven are at his disposal. A “rich man is to glory” when he humbles himself before the Lord and makes God his Master and not his money. “Not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Life is short and our lives, like our money, will soon “fade away” (verse 11). But if we are storing up treasures in heaven we will “obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away” (1 Peter 1:4).
Please read James 1:12-15 for tomorrow.
Have a blessed day!
- Louie Taylor