James is clearly rebuking the rich who have misused their wealth in James 5. He is not condemning every person with money. Note the clear indication that he is speaking to someone who was dishonest and did not pay what he owed, someone who was focused on their own pleasure above other people, who put to death the righteous. This is not true of all rich people by any stretch of the imagination. Abraham is one quick example of a man held in esteem for his faith and he was wealthy. Job was another.
Misuse of Riches
1Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.
We will be held to account for how we use what gifts YHWH provides to us, whether they are time, talent, or money. We do not have to give up all our money either. Quite the contrary, for those who have wealth, they have opportunity to help others with it, even if just to provide jobs and pay… it is not always about just giving it away.
Another thought to remember… a lot of people judge if they are wealthy or poor by comparison to others around them. However, in countries like the USA, compared to much of the world and historically speaking, almost all of us are wealthy. We have plentiful food, clean water, shelter… even TVs and smartphones. Do not be quick to dismiss the message in James 5 assuming it applies to those who are richer than yourself. It applies to most of us, even if we don’t feel rich compared to “the other guy” who has a bigger house and fancier car.
Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.