James 5:1–6 (ESV)
Warning to the Rich
5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 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. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which
you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in
a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
James condemns the wealthy for living as if
this life is all there is to live for and as if Christ will not return. God’s Word repeatedly warns against this attitude. It is easy to think that such words do not apply to us because there is always someone wealthier, someone greedier. But Scripture
teaches, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich” (2Co 8:9). In Christ, we have the riches that come from God alone—above all, the
gift of faith. He will give us the crown of life.
I pray: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!… For from Him and through Him and
to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen”
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2143.