Read This Week’s Passage: James 5:1–6

What Do You Do with What You Have?

After the rich young ruler walked away from Him, Jesus shared with His disciples that “it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:23). Contrary to how it’s sometimes portrayed, the Bible holds no criticism of riches themselves. All of the negativity about wealth focuses on one’s relation to riches; in the case of the rich young ruler, he chose his wealth over following the commands of Jesus. The focus is on the posture of the heart.

Like all gifts from God, one’s usage of riches determines more than the riches do themselves. In this week’s passage, James explores how the rich often use their power to defraud, condemn, and even murder. This is the condemnation—how power and influence gained by wealth is wielded as a weapon instead of as an opportunity for love.

James spares no words as he rebukes the rich in his audience. Continuing his focus on actions, he details specific ways the rich have failed to live up to the standard of love. Though they may not be conscious of consequences now, James assures them that the day is coming, and what they have so trusted in will be witnesses against them in the end.