10 May 2011

James: Warning to Rich Oppressors

After reading the first 6 verses in James, chapter 5, I couldn't help but think of how we as Americans are rich.  We are so rich and spoiled and we have so much STUFF.  We have yard sales and donate to good will because we collect so many things throughout the years.  I could comb through every inch of my house every day and still find things I don't use, need, or want.  We get stuff for our birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and the more kids you have and the bigger your home is the more stuff you find to cram into it.

Have you ever seen the show Hoarders?  It's a show on the TLC channel I used to watch before we did away with cable and it is so interesting to see how these people can barely live in their homes anymore because the stuff house taken over.  It is truly an example of storing up treasures here on earth.  On the show the people have their items piled high in each room, there isn't an inch of space not covered, and you can barely see counter space, floor space or even the ceiling.  Stuff.  That's all it is.  And Americans have this mind set that we need more, bigger and better.  Keeping up with the Jones' is an ever popular saying because we all do it.  We all compare ourselves to our neighbors and friends and we all want new things.  New things aren't bad in and of themselves, but that drive for more and more stuff can truly take over and cause you a lot of grief in the end.

Just look at what happened on Wall Street in 2008, our economy suffered because everyone wanted to line their pockets and have more stuff instead of thinking of all the consequences that their greed would create.  And now many people have lost their life savings, their pensions, their 401ks, and there is no way they can retire because of the hand of greed.  "You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.  You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter." Whoa.  To all of the Madoffs out there, there is judgment on your head.  You won't be in luxury forever.  This life is temporal.  There is an eternity and the way we live now does matter and does affect our eternal destiny.

Have you ever pulled into your driveway and thanked God for your vehicles.  How about thanking God for your home.  Today I was thinking how lucky I am to have three bathrooms, when there are people who don't even have running water in their home and use outhouses.  I think of how I live in luxury compared to so many others.  And am I thankful for what God has given me, or do I wish for more?

I have a huge confession, and my husband will be the first to tell you, I complain about our television.  We only have one.  It's located downstairs in the basement.  We never wanted one in our bedroom or in the living room.  We wanted those rooms to be sacred.  We wanted conversation and family time to be more important than a t.v.  Well, that was 8 years ago.  Our t.v. is 8 years old, we bought it before flat screens came out...and well, I've always wanted a flat screen.  Not a super big flashy one, but a medium size one to replace the one we have.  And John's saying is, "Our t.v. works and we don't need another one."  And he's absolutely right.  But have you watched a show on a flat screen t.v.?  Oh its so clear and the colors are so bright, and ...see what happens?  I want bigger and better.  So this passage reminds me to be happy with our family t.v.  No it isn't a flat screen, no it isn't the latest and greatest, but its ours and it works.  And I'm thankful.  I need to be.

James 5: 1-6 says

1 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.[a] 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you. 

God helps us to be happy (content) with what you have given us.  As Americans we have so much more than the average person on this earth.  Help us to remember how blessed we are.

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