“What a tragic waste,” wrote John Piper in Don’t Waste Your Life, “when people turn away from the Calvary road of love and suffering. All the riches of the glory of God in Christ are on that road. All the sweetest fellowship with Jesus is there. . . . All the deepest discoveries of God’s Word. All the most earnest prayers. They are all on the Calvary road where Jesus walks with his people. . . . On this road, and this road alone, life is Christ and death is gain.”
Followers of Christ should live lives that prioritize and pursue eternity! Today’s passage underscores that mature faith understands what is of eternal value. It does so by treating poverty or “humble circumstances” as one of the trials of life (v. 9). To persevere or endure the suffering that poverty brings is therefore an opportunity to grow toward mature faith (v. 4). For this reason, the trial of poverty can be considered “pure joy” (v. 2) and poor believers can “take pride in their high position” spiritually. This is true despite the fact that poverty can be a result of sin, for example, when the rich exploit the poor (see Feb. 22).
Continuing the reversal, rich believers are to “take pride in their humiliation” (v. 10; see 1 Tim. 6:17–19). Whereas worldly people boast in their wealth and social position, followers of Christ instead rejoice that the first have become last, and the last first, in the eyes of God (see Luke 13:30).
James puts earthly wealth and poverty into proper spiritual perspective. Riches are temporal and thus ultimately worthless (v. 11). As even the world says, “You can’t take it with you.” To pursue such things is to head for “ruin and destruction” instead of toward mature faith (see 1 Tim. 6:8–10; Matt. 6:24).
Please uphold in prayer another campus maintenance team at Moody—Exterior Maintenance Services. The landscaping work of Ryan Yoder and Nathan Detwiler is evident as soon as you enter MBI’s beautiful campus in Chicago.