Wednesday, November 30, 2011

“So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.” (James 1.11)

New Testament Challenge – Day 16
Epistle of James, 1 & 2 Peter

I was discussing the economy yesterday and commented that I believe, as do other so-called experts, that our economy is undergoing a substantial change in America. I believe the “American Dream” is over and that our new way of life eventually will return to a new normal of working for today and being satisfied with the basics. There are already millions of Americans living this way, referred to as “paycheck to paycheck” by commentators. But what is so wrong with working paycheck to paycheck?

In today’s reading we hear St James urging on to wisdom in the face of trials and tribulations.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits. (James 1.5-11)

I chose to blog about this today because, in addition to my conversation yesterday, the daily news in overflowing with stories on the economy and whether this “Black Friday” was better than last year and what that reveals for the state of the economy, etc. etc. etc. Wherever you turn, you cannot escape talk of our economic affairs. And I really think it’s too bad because it pushes an emphasis away from the basics in favor of wealth. Some will be wealthy and some will be poor, but we must begin to embrace, not just acknowledge, that money isn’t everything. As the old saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” So, why the preoccupation with wealth?

The more we focus on the world and all it has to offer in terms of wealth and boasting etc, the less we focus upon God. Only one can be at the root of this…the devil

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself and enemy of God..” (James 4.4)

I long for the time when coffee talk turns to the questions of theology and God rather than the suffering economy. At least then we will be focused upon God.

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