James 5:3 – Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.
As we’re going through the book of James by Jesus’ younger brother, the blue-collar scholar of the New Testament, we come to James 5 this week talking about wealth and stewardship, and I want to take a moment to honor my mom and dad.
When I was growing up, my family would’ve been in the category we’d call “godly poor” – my dad was an extremely hard worker, working with his hands the entire time I was growing up, hanging sheetrock and drywall, and once even slept on the job site or in his truck so he could send all the money he made back to our family. We didn’t have a lot but the way my dad made money was in an honest way.
As I got older, I started playing baseball and a few of my friends and I started to field a team. The only problem was that, as we looked around, none of the other boys in my neighborhood had dads. To my recollection, it turned out I was the only one in the entire neighborhood who had a dad that I knew and who lived in my home. With that revelation, even though my dad had never even worn a baseball glove, he became the coach of my team.
Every year, even though we couldn’t afford new gear, my dad would drive around to different second-hand and thrift stores and pick up baseball gloves, cleats, and bats. Once the season rolled around, he would open his trunk and all the boys who didn’t have dads and couldn’t afford gear would get their own set of gear. I remember one time he even bought the uniforms and hats for our team and, as a young boy, I will never forget the pride I had in my dad as he put new hats on each one of the little boys’ heads.
My mom, on the other hand, would take my siblings and I to the Sears surplus store, because the regular Sears was too expensive. Every year before school started, we could each pick out one coat and one pair of shoes for the year. My mom would then go to the clearance rack and buy as many coats as she could afford and put them in the closet. I always wondered why until I realized many of my friends didn’t have coats so, when they’d come to our house to play, she’d open the closet so they could grab a coat.
The point is, it doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, it only matters if you’re godly or ungodly. We’ll each go through seasons and years of highs and lows, boom and bust, but if we’re godly, we’ll want to be generous with whatever money God has entrusted to us. I am incredibly grateful that my parents passed down a giving attitude, and that I’ve been able to do the same for my own kids, continuing the legacy of generosity.
Wealth is a relative term. All of us find ourselves richer than someone else, even while we may feel poorer than many others. What wealth has God blessed you with? In what ways can you better steward His money for His glory and the good of others?