In today’s verse, James has important words about investing in the Last Days…
Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. (James 5:3)
One of my all-time favourite TV shows is Family Ties. My favourite character on the show is Alex P. Keaton (played by Michael J. Fox). He was an intelligent young man who was destined to go places in life. Unlike most young people his age, he wore a jacket and tie, and carried a briefcase – even to school. He had an entrepreneurial mind and a wisdom beyond his years, but a negative factor in his character was that he lived for money!
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:10)
Contrary to what some may think, Paul did not say that money is the root of all evil. He said that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils, because the love of money can lead us into sin.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
It is not a sin to have money, and I don’t think it’s a sin to like money. But if we love money so much that it takes precedence over the things of God, that is sin.
There is a big difference between working for money and living for money. The Bible teaches that working for money is a good thing, but living for money is a bad thing. God does not want to compete with money for your attention. He wants you to value Him the most. He wants you to make Him your first priority. He wants you to live for Him.
The Bible teaches the importance of hard work, and says that hard work should be rewarded. Many Christians do well financially because they are such good workers, and God will often bless people financially when He knows they will invest in His Kingdom and be generous to others.
There is also a big difference between investing and hoarding. It is important to invest for the future. We may live to a ripe old age, and we want to be able to pay our bills and fulfill our financial responsibilities. (That is a part of our Christian testimony.) It would be nice to leave a little something for our children, and for the Lord’s work.
James confronted his wealthy readers about storing up wealth in the last days. James thought that the Second Coming of the Lord was near. (That will be clear later in the chapter.) He was trying to get people ready for eternity, but all the rich people cared about was how much money they could store away for a future that might not even happen. Their wealth was evidence against them because it was corroding. They had way more than they needed to provide for themselves and their families, but were hoarding the excess from people in need who could have used it now.
Even though Jesus did not return in James’ day, James was right about living in the Last Days. That is a term that refers to the Church age – the time between Jesus’ first and second comings to the earth. We are still living in the Last Days, and we are about two thousand years closer to the return of Christ than James was. We should be living with an even greater sense of urgency to invest in things that hold eternal value. I leave you today with these words of Jesus, and I ask you, how are you investing in these last days? Where is your treasure?
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Today’s Good News is that we have a wonderful opportunity to invest in eternity.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you have missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.