9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
I am struck by the phrase “the rich should take pride in their humiliation.” Who ever liked being humiliated? Why would James exhort people to take pride in their humiliation? I think that James is saying – in God’s Kingdom, God is no respecter of persons. Those in humble circumstances and those in great wealth are treated the same in my eyes. Wealth or lack thereof is no qualification for better position or higher priority in my Kingdom. God loves everyone the same, and values everyone the same.
The challenge in this passage is to not get sucked into the temporal allure of wealth. In this world, wealth does often get you a better position or does make you higher priority in lots of different situations. But in God’s Kingdom, there is only one way God relates to us and interacts with us – belief. Verse 9 starts with the term “believers”. Through faith, particularly, faith in Jesus Christ, the rich and the humble can likewise call upon God, and see God move in their lives. God has given the possibility of truest riches to every human being – by faith, we can have the riches of direct access and real relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Can any amount of wealth, or lack thereof, trump this rich offer? Not for me!
Lord, I thank you that relationship with you is truest and most lasting of all riches. I thank you that your word keeps the temptations and allures of different things in this world in check. I thank you that your word also exalts the humbled, and humbles the exalted. Lord, teach me to live by faith, all my days, because by faith, every human being, no matter rich or poor, can know you!
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh