9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
I was reading through a sermon on the book of James and got some really great insights on these 3 verses about the rich and the poor. Click here to see the whole sermon. I'm going to just take some of the Pastor's points and share them with you.
"There are two perspectives of riches here.
First: Riches are temporal. They have no eternal value. You’ve heard this: There are no hearses with U Hauls. You can’t take it - what? with you. The pursuit of riches of this world has no value in God’s eternal kingdom.
Second: Riches are temporary. We need certain things for the day-to-day stuff of life. But beyond that, we need to realize that all the stuff we surround ourselves - spend so much effort acquiring - what we’re tempted to think is so valuable - beautiful in appearance to us - James says, its just fading away. They don’t last - even in this world.
A temptation for both poor and rich is to place great a value on what has no eternal value and is only fading away. A poor person might see riches as the solution to all his problems. A rich person - surrounded by all the latest toys - can be blind to his real needs.What James is getting at here is not material stuff - but the character of our relationship with God and what really are the eternal enduring things of life. What we need to understand - encountering trials - what we need to understand is that having stuff - pursuing the things of this world - trying to control our world with riches - all that doesn’t move us through trials deepening our relationship with God and growing us as Christians. All that is not what we really need."
My insights: Material things do not bring us happiness! Even Oprah had a show on this very topic today! I didn't get to view the entire show but the few minutes I watched were a no-brainer that the top 4 happiest jobs in America (a survey of 1 million was taken) were 1. Special Education Teachers 2. Firefighters 3. Clergy and 4. Social Work (I think...it's hard to pay attention to shows with two toddlers, trust me) Not in this order but these 4 jobs brought the most happiness because they were jobs that didn't necessarily make a lot of money, in fact most of them on average only make $50,000 annually, but these workers felt the most fulfilled not because of money but because of working with people. The experience was more important and valuable than the actual money making.
As a classroom teacher in a Christian school that made much less than the average teacher with a Masters Degree (I constantly had to defend my job and tell people I taught at a Christian school because I could actually pray with my students and teach God's Word and that it was my ministry...I would have done it for free, quite honestly) I was the happiest girl alive! I loved my job because it was a gift to me and because of the impact I had on each child's life.
Material things will pass away and fade, and break. But the memories and experiences we share with people have eternal value because people matter not things.
So the next time I am window shopping and a great sweater catches my eye or a cute pair of shoes...I need to remember that those things won't bring me happiness. They are temporal. I need to watch what I put value on. And it is SO easy to become materialistic in this world, isn't it? With the stores, the competition with our neighbors, the commercials, the billboards, the advertisements. We constantly have to say, "Lord, I am thankful for food and and shelter and the clothing on my back that you have provided today." "Lord, please help me to be content."
|Mark, mommy wants to make great memories for you little one!|
This year, and you all can hold me accountable to this, I want to focus on people and the memories and experiences I create and the people I can bless and reach. I don't want to just acquire things...I want to connect with people on a deeper level. I don't want to be blind to my real needs--do you? I want to be aware of my need for Christ only!!! Not my need for stuff!