Laying Up Treasures
by Joanne Ellison
02.26.24
02.26.24

Jesus wrote the following:

For where your treasure is there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)

red heart

The question we must all ask ourselves…

What do we treasure most in our hearts? 

On the surface, as believers, it seems like a no-brainer. Of course, our hearts are with Jesus. But upon examining where we spend our time, treasure, and talent, we may discover another story. We may take note that our money is not going towards kingdom purposes and our time is frittered away doing things that do not advance God’s kingdom. Or perhaps our talents are not being used for God’s purposes.

Do any of these things describe you? This week we are doing a heart exam. James is good at pushing the envelope for us to look at our lives through our actions towards others. And this week is specifically about withholding something owed to another.

James writes that rich landowners were not paying their laborers. In those days, wages were given at the end of each day because the people were poor and needed the money. But the rich oppressed the poor workforce, expecting them to work and withholding their wages. It pains me to think of people who live hand to mouth daily needing provisions and having to wait for their wages.

James paints a vivid picture in chapter 5:1-5:

Come now; you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted your garments and are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you…. You have laid up treasures in the last days. Behold the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you…

These are pretty harsh words. James, writing to scattered Jewish Christians, is having a moment. He is calling them out for oppressing the poor.

Perhaps in the 21st century, you cannot relate to any of this. Or perhaps you can relate as you have seen employees mistreating employers. But we can all relate to withholding something from others because of our selfishness or lack of trusting God. At some level, we can all agree that James is speaking to all of us.

This week as we consider God’s extravagant grace extended to us, let us ponder how we can love our neighbors as ourselves and give generously to those to whom we owe something, as well as to those we don’t. Generosity knows no bounds in those who have received so much from Jesus.

 

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