Words of Faith 4-8-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.
James wrote at a time when the persecutions in Jerusalem were taking their toll. The young Christian movement had taken on a mission of mercy-- feeding the many Jewish widows in Jerusalem. At one point, the Christians in Jerusalem were near starvation, and only the special offering collected by Paul made a difference. Through it all, James had discovered that there is great wealth in humble circumstances. The brother, in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.
"Pride" is probably not the very best translation. The Greek word used here can mean "to be boastful," but also simply means to "rejoice in.” James suggests that if we have very little, we should rejoice in that. James was not suggesting a sort of spiritual pridefulness rooted in poverty. But he was clear that money means nothing to God. God is never impressed by wealth; how could He be?
All this sounds strange to a culture that is obsessed with material things. But remember, Jesus said that it is a blessing to be poor (Luke 6:30). How can that be? What does that mean? Didn't He mean "poor in spirit"? Actually, Luke's report is simply "poor.” Certainly, hunger and poverty are not commonly thought to be blessings. But we do find that times of great need or difficult circumstances are also great spiritual opportunities.
There is no way around the fact that we find true wealth by developing our spiritual life, not by developing our financial assets. God is interested in what is lasting-- our souls-- not in what is temporary-- our money and possessions.
If you visit the Christian tables of any third world country and you will hear the prayer: "Give us this day our daily bread..." said in a different sort of way than we have typically prayed it before. James knew that these Christian people going through hard times were, in fact, in the high position: a place of utter dependence upon God. There is a blessing in that.
Many times, I have been astounded to hear Christian people tell me of the blessing they have found in humble circumstances. Many speak of the blessing they received when they lost a job but found their family or the blessing of a lost fortune and rediscovered dependence upon God or the blessing of a trial that brought estranged people back together. God uses hard times. There is wealth untold... in humble circumstances.
Lord, I give thanks to You for the humble circumstances I have experienced in life. Help me to discover my spiritual poverty that I may draw near to you. Give us this day our daily bread. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.
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