Oppressors and Laborer

Passage for Today

James 5:1-6

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.


  1. Is it sinful to be rich?
  2. What is James warning rich people about?
  3. List out where you find true wealth in your life.


By Lifeway

James went to great lengths to warn the church about the corrupting power of wealth. His words often echo the teachings of Jesus, specifically the Sermon on the Mount. 

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
~ Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus’ teaching sounds a lot like the harsh condemnation of wealthy oppressors in James 5:1-6. In this portion of the Sermon on the Mount, however, Jesus did more than warn against the fleeting, fragile nature of earthly comforts. He provided insight into the nature of treasure and the motivation behind work.

God’s Word is clear about our attitude toward wealth and worldly ambition. Yet it clearly teaches that wealth itself isn’t inherently evil. Serving wealth as our master is the problem. Storing up treasures means we’re investing in that which will last into eternity: God’s mission in the world. Much of what we pursue that leads to our glory and comfort here on earth won’t serve us in eternity. Instead of using our material resources to build wealth here, we must build what will outlast this world and continue into the next.

Work is meant to glorify God. When we begin to see our work as a means to glorify God instead of a way to gain more for ourselves, our relationship with wealth and material possessions changes. From the Scriptures we can draw clear principles and specific applications for our own work situations.

*  This devotion was found at Bible.com titled “James: Faith/Works” by Lifeway.

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