Rich Oppressors Will Be Judged

After Jack Eckerd, founder of Eckerd Drugstore chain traveled with Chuck Colson, he read the story of Watergate and Colson’s testimony out of Colson’s book. One day he called Chuck Colson to tell him he believed and was a Christian. After that Jack Eckerd walked through one o … More


James does not say that it is a sin to be rich but he does condemn those who have put their trust in things that are doomed to decay (vv. 1-3). In the ancient world wealth was of three types: food (Luke 12:18), costly garments (Acts 20:33) and precious metals (v. 3). When James says, “Your riches are corrupted” (v. 2) he is probably including every kind of wealth.

As believers our own lives do not even belong to us (I Corinthians 6:19-20). God is the owner and He has placed us here as caretakers. This places a big responsibility on us with each thing the Lord has entrusted to us. It is possible to be poor in this life and to be rich in the next life. It is also possible to be rich in this world and poor in the next world.

James shows how the greedy attitude of the rich had manifest itself through the withholding of wages from those who had worked for them (v. 4). The Mosaic law specifically condemned this: “Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is  poor and needy ..” (Deut. 24:14). It seems that these rich, selfish, pleasure loving people were living in luxury while those who worked for them were living in circumstances of the most distressing character (vv. 5-6).


A good question to ask is - How much of my time is spent in accumulating things that will only rust and decay? On the other hand how much of my time is spent on things that will last for eternity?

James 5:1-6 (English Standard Version)

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