James 5 v. 1 – 6
‘Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.
3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.
4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.
6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.’
James makes the point very sharply, that amassing wealth, storing up treasures on earth, is worthless – not only will these treasures ‘corrode’ and be eaten away, but they will also affect our well-being (‘eat your flesh like fire’).
‘Wealth is to be used in the service of others – not amassed for selfish pleasures.’
There is gospel appeal here for fair-trade, paying workers a good wage.
help us to recognise
the wealth and the resource
You place at our disposal.
Confront our complacency,
combat our self-indulgence,
and stir our heart
and extravagant generosity.
May we be neither envious,
nor bitter, nor aspiring
towards those with great wealth,
but rather focus
on ‘Your kingdom, Your right-living’,
and depend all the more
on Your daily provision
(Your ‘just enough…for everyone’s need
not enough…for everyone’s greed’).