Because the book of James was the first book written in the New Testament, the following passage is the first mention of the last-days.
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 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.
Please understand that James is not condemning you simply because you have a lot of money. It’s the attitude that’s wrong. There are certain key words that give us a clue.
He keeps repeating the word “your” in this passage. Your wealth, your clothes, and your gold and silver. He explains that these were things that were amassed or reserved for your own use in the last-days.
This is in stark contrast to what the believer’s attitude toward wealth should truly be. Everything I own actually belongs to God – it’s all His property. He’s made me to be a steward over it while it’s in my possession.
The person who thinks that this wealth is all mine for me to do with as I please is acting according to their flesh. It’s selfish and has no place in the kingdom of God. That’s what James is speaking to. He takes it even further.
Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
I believe that we’re very close to the coming of the Lord. I also believe that in our generation we’ll see a last great harvest of souls before Christ’s return. But the reality is that this harvest needs to be financed.
In the last days God is going to bring financial blessings into the lives of His people. But these riches are not for us to spend totally on our own pleasures. Much of it is to be used to preach the Gospel. We need to reach as many as we can before the end comes.
As a minister of the Gospel, I’m trusting the Lord for the finances I need to do my part in winning this generation. I have to admit, I’ve cried out to God, asking Him why there seems to be so many uncaring Christians. I’m talking about those who simply hoard up wealth with no thought toward missions giving, or even getting involved in any kind of outreach project.
You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.
That’s the problem. Not that they have money. But that they’re using it for luxury and self-indulgence. When we withhold money that God is calling us to use for outreach; men and women are condemned to eternity without God. Many of them could have been reached and saved if the Gospel was financed and presented to them.
Don’t fall victim to this trap. According to James’ prophecy in this passage you have a choice to make. If you hoard it up, with no though of God’s will, you’re going to lose it. If, on the other hand, you obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting on how to use it; you’ll have a rich reward now and waiting in eternity.
Question: How have you been blessed by financing the Gospel?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017