Saying No to Prosperity
James 5:1-6 (The Message)
And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You'll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you've piled up is judgment. All the workers you've exploited and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger. You've looted the earth and lived it up. But all you'll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse. In fact, what you've done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it.
I have been reading these verses over the past few days, and I am beginning to wonder. . . am I the arrogant rich spoken of? By American standards I am by no means rich - hardly even middle class, but when I compare myself to the rest of the world (as God does, no doubt), I am most certainly in the "rich" category. That is a bit disturbing to me. If that is true, how can I avoid the judgment that these verses say is coming? Although I have not directly exploited and cheated workers, I have undoubtedly done so through my consumer choices. . .
I don't have any answers, I just continue to have more questions. This is an issue that has many layers yet to be unveiled, and one that seems to stand in contradiction with popular American culture.
What if I CHOOSE to not pursue prosperity? What would that even look like?