“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you…You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen…are crying out against you. The cries…have reached the ears of the LORD Almighty. You have lived on the earth in luxury and self-indulgence.” James 5:1-5 (Read passage)
This morning in my quiet time I hit this passage and got hit between the eyes. I don’t remember ever reading it before. I know I have, several times, but I guess I never really saw it. I suppose I didn’t see it because I never connected it to myself. I never considered myself rich. I certainly never saw myself as an oppressor.
I see the world differently now.
I’ve seen the world.
I’ve held small children abandoned with aids.
I’ve met young women selling their bodies to feed their children.
I’ve learned that almost half the world is living at a level of poverty, and that one child dies of related causes every three seconds.
I’ve learned that there are more slaves today than there were in the whole 400 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
I’ve learned that many of those slaves are laboring to produce clothing and other merchandise that I unknowingly buy.
I’ve learned that I am rich, and that I play a part in a widespread slavery system.
And I’ve learned that God cares about that part of my life.
Why have I never seen this passage? Why have I never heard a sermon on it? Why in all our church talks on finances and giving do we live in ignorance of this? I think we fear that the problem’s too big. I think we’re afraid of admitting that we fall short of God’s standard. I think we don’t know what to do. Does God?
“My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” Psalm 25:15
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