Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (ESV)
Imagine for a moment that you are a King, building your own kingdom. If you could choose people to belong to your kingdom what kind of people would you choose? Maybe you would choose rich people so that they could contribute more to your treasury. Perhaps you would make sure the people you choose are healthy, not bringing unwanted diseases into your kingdom. Or maybe you would choose the beautiful? The charming? Witty?
I doubt you are going to get to choose people for your kingdom. But, our God has been building his kingdom for some time. And you might be shocked to find out who he has been choosing for his kingdom. James tells us that God has chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom. His standard is not the same as ours.
Why not the rich? Listen to Jesus' words in Matthew 19:24:
 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (ESV)
Jesus was not saying that it was impossible for the rich to be saved. But he used this exaggeration to make the point that it is very difficult for the rich to inherit the kingdom of God. The main reason is that riches tend to own a person and they fail to see their need to give their lives to someone else, namely God.
God's kingdom is made up primarily of the poor, the downtrodden, the weary, the broken, and the rejected by the world. If God is focused on these kinds of people for the building of his kingdom why would we spend our time catering to the rich? James is talking to the church in this verse. The church of today should be careful to love the people whom Jesus loves. All varieties.
Are you part of God's kingdom? Be careful to love your brothers and sisters in God's kingdom with you. The poor in the world are those who God has made rich in faith.