Living in Light of Eternity

Scripture: James 1:9-10, ‘The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.’

 

Observations: James has a long term view of wealth, and it doesn’t lie in what we amass in this life, but what we amass in the life to come. The believer (or brother), who finds themselves in humble circumstances i.e. they don’t have many worldly possessions, ‘ought to take pride in his high position.’ It’s important to note that James is not suggesting that poverty makes us more spiritually mature, rather he sees poverty as encouraging greater dependence on God. Later James writes, ‘has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith. (2:5)’ On the other hand, ‘the one who is rich should take pride in his low position. Again James is not condemning wealth, but he just recognizes that wealth is temporal, it ‘will pass away like a wild flower,’ with this life. However, James is also aware of the dangers of wealth. Later he says about wealthy people, ‘You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. (5:5)’

 

Application: We need to view our possessions in light of eternity. We must be careful that they do not distract us from our need for God. We must see them as opportunities to serve the Lord. As we focus our attention on God, everything else should fade to insignificance in comparison. Like Jesus said in his parable about the rich man, ‘who will get what you have prepared for yourself? (Lk 12:20)’ Instead Jesus encourages us not to store up things for ourselves, but to be rich toward God (Lk 12:21). In the end it’s not about how much we do or don’t have, but about how we have put our faith in Jesus and followed him.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, it’s so easy to become comfortable in this life, to invest myself in making a good home and enjoying life. And while You are a loving Father, and You want to bless me, it’s so easy to forget that my true home is with You in heaven, and my true life will be lived in eternity with everlasting joy. Lord, keep me from thinking that this life is better than the life You have given me in Jesus Christ. Lord, help me live this life in light of the life to come. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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