This is a short one, and post #6 in our study of James. If you need to catch up, click on the “Current Study Series: James” link at the top of the page to read the first five posts in the series. And check back next Saturday and Sunday as we look at James 1:12 & Trial and James 1:13-15 & Temptation. I hope you’re enjoying the series! I am really being challenged.
Here’s the next section from Chapter 1.
“Let the lowly brother boast in his exultation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.” (James 1:9-11)
How amazing that themes that were written about in 40-45 A.D. are still so applicable today. James’ main point was that either state, lowly or rich, can detract from and cause conflict in one’s relationship with the Lord. Matthew 6:24 says, “You cannot serve both God and money.” James is helping us see that some of the greatest trials and temptations the Christian can and will face will be related to money. James challenges the lowly to boast in God (richness in relationship) and the rich in his humility (dependence on God regardless of finances).
Here’s a chart I made based on Barclay’s commentary of this verse. I call it Poor vs. Rich:
James puts it all in perspective—life is short. We will pass away like a flower of the grass. This is a theme we see throughout Scripture:
- Jeremiah 9:23 (don’t boast in wisdom, might, or riches, boast in the Lord)
- Psalm 102:4, 11 (as humans, our days are withering)
- 1 Corinthians 7:31 (the present form of this world is passing away)
- 1 Peter 1:24-25 (our flesh is withering away, but the Word of the Lord remains forever)
- Isaiah 40:7-8 (the flowers & grass pass away)
The question really is, whether we have it or lack it, is money an idol? Is it something we worship more than God?
“To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with Him? An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains.” (Isaiah 40:18-19)