whytheology

For the Intersection of the Everyday and the Sacred

James 1:9-11 (Lent Readings)

Text

KJV below, NIV Link Here

Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:

10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

11 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.

Comment

This is an interesting flip on what is expected. The poor/low degree person is made high and should rejoice in that, while the rich person should be glad that she or he is humiliated or made low. Some of the background here maybe Luke’s version of the beatitudes (click here for NIV) where the poor are blessed and the rich are cursed. Personally, I think that this is the sort of “leveling effect” that happens in the kingdom of God. (“The first made last, the last made first.”) The rich are materially rich but, as James points out in the last verse, these things are not eternal, but will all fade away. Likewise the situation of the poor is temporary and, relative to eternity, pretty short. Thus they are brought high. The rich are not made lower than the poor, that would violate the inherent equality, but, at least in their relative relations to each other in this world, they are not as high in the Kingdom of God. That is, there is rejoicing in the inherent equality that comes from the kingdom of God.

Question

Are you putting a lot of effort into wealth here? What does the bible say the use of that is? Considering that most people who are able to read this (on a computer and whatnot) are relatively rich, do you find joy in your humiliation?

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