To Be Better Off is Not To Be Better
“Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.” James 1:9-11
To be better off is not to be better. A believer’s attitude toward wealth must be carefully honed by God’s Spirit. Wealth and the power that comes with position are two chief tools of the enemy to snare the souls of men. These are not the idle words of a poor man but the truth that is presented countless times in Scripture.
This passage speaks of how the rich man fades away in his pursuits. We understand that much is implied by what he is not pursuing. If our life’s pursuit is for things that do not last, our life will fade as they do.
The brother of a lower station in life should rejoice in his righteous relationship with the Lord (vs. 9). When our soul is at peace with God we have things that money cannot purchase. We have a clean conscience; we harbor no ill toward others; we are happy with God’s provision and content to live in peace with others. This is certainly not to say that the poor should succumb to indolence or slothfulness, but that the righteous poor should find satisfaction in the good blessings of God.
The righteous rich, should rejoice that God leads them to true humility. The Lord teaches the rich that to be better off is not to be better. We must all humble ourselves before God. The rich who are still humble should be grateful to God for such a gift. After all, grace only flows toward the humble. The rich that lack humility are consumed in their pursuits and weighed in God’s righteous balance. But the rich who are consumed with the pursuit of God’s righteousness are rich indeed.
“For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.” James 1:11
The believer’s attitude toward wisdom and wealth are two key factors that determine success or failure in the Christian life. Practical Christianity demands balance and steadfastness in both areas.
The wise and those who seek godly wisdom will be rewarded. Those who are poor in this world yet rich in God’s goodness should rejoice in their blessings. Those who are rich in this world as well as rich in godly humility should rejoice in God’s goodness to them. To forget the source of true wisdom and true wealth causes many to pursue the wrong things.