Lesson 20

Here are a few verses that can really be misapplied.  James begins to address how riches in the end are worthless.  Do NOT add to that and say that the rich are worthless and all evil.  God blessed Job with riches, David with riches, and Solomon with riches.  These were not evil people.

James 5:1-6

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.  Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.  Your gold and silver are corroded.  Their corrosion will testify against you and eat  your flesh like fire.  You have hoarded wealth in the last days.  Look!  The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you.  The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.  You have believed on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.  You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.  You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. (NIV)

In the end, money is just paper and metal.  It will rot.  It will disintegrate. It can be very useful and fun while you have it, but it can and will disappear at one time or another.  You could put all your money in a fault, but in the end it is paper and will burn.  Many people interpret good stewardship to imply that you have to have a large savings account not have to worry about money.  That is not at all what the Bible says.  Remember to take the Bible as a whole and pick scripture out without reading others.  A steward is someone who manages an area in which they were given responsibility.  They are to handle it wisely and in a way the owner desires.  No where does it say that being a steward meant locking it up.  Many also use the parables of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) to support increasing your wealth.  What it is telling us is to invest!  Did I just contradict myself?  No.  Invest means to place possessions in use so that there is multiplication.  When you take possessions that are owned by God whether it is money, time, belongs, yourself, you are required to invest them.  When you invest your time, you CANNOT multiply and acquire more time.  Just because you physically can with money does not mean you can apply such blanket applications across the board.  When you invest for the Lord, it is not to multiply that item.  It is to multiply the kingdom.  That is the goal of a believer.  Not to acquire more time, money, or possessions.

Having possessions is not wrong unless God has called you not to.  What are you doing with these possessions?  Just accumulating wealth?  Just saving up personal time to spend on yourself?  Just sitting and admiring your beautiful art?  When you do any of this you become guilty.

James goes on to talk about once you’ve acquired these possessions (time, money, position, possessions), how you begin to treat those that don’t have as much very badly.  You turn on those that are innocent and focus totally on yourself.  Do you pay your employees fairly?  Do you take advantage of people who do things for you?  Do you sit back and watch as others work to benefit you?

Take today to look at how you are as a steward.  See how you use your time, your money, yourself.  Are you an oppressor of others? of your time?  of your possessions?