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James 1:11: So Also Will The Rich Man Fade Away

James 1:11
[11] For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. (ESV)

"Defensive lineman Warren Sapp spent 12 years in the NFL, earning more than $82 million over the course of his career. But a bad real estate deal, alimony and child supports payments totaling $74,495 a month, and a lavish lifestyle all contributed to a bankruptcy filing in 2012, five years after he retired. Sapp claimed he couldn’t pay his $6.7 million in debt, even though he was still earning $115,881 every month as an analyst for the NFL Network and in appearance fees."

Money. Easy Come. Easy go. It is hard to believe that someone like Warren Sapp could go from being a millionaire to being bankrupt. Many of us read that story and think, "It would be different if I had that money!" Maybe so. Maybe not. James talks to us in today's verse about just how fleeting wealth is.

James uses this illustration of flowering grass that is beautiful in the spring, but eventually is destroyed by scorching heat. The rich man is compared to this withering grass. What is the point that James is making? Is he saying that we should all take a vow of poverty? I don't think so. James makes the point that we should never place our trust in wealth. It will always let us down.

I have seen people trust in wealth and lose it all. I have seen churches place their security in a large bank account while ignoring the needs of their community. Wealth is a deceptive thing that we need to be very careful with. God is our provider, not our current accumulation of material things. As the great Old Testament figure Job aptly said, "The Lord gives. The Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21)

Are you seeking wealth? That's a risky game. Seek the Lord instead. I will leave you with the Savior's words in Matthew 6:33:

Matthew 6:33
[33] But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (ESV)