The Misery of the Rich

My first sermon in 2020! Given during the Ikthus East-Bacolod City Midweek Service, January 1, 2020.

James 5:1-6 ESV

[1] 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. Continue reading “The Misery of the Rich”

Praying to be Rich

Sometime ago, I asked God to make me very rich – as in very, very rich! I now think that prayer was motivated by greed. Come to think of it, what would hundreds of hectares of land and billions of pesos in my bank account really mean to me on my deathbed? I am reminded of a Tolstoy short story: the man who ran all day to cover a large piece of land – he was promised that it’ll be all his, as much as he could cover by running all day – only to fall dead at sunset. Now all the land he’ll own is the six feet of dirt he’ll be buried under.

What about praying to be rich? I’m not saying that to pray in such a way is absolutely wrong all of the time. But I remember two examples from the Bible that seem to teach that praying to be rich is not ideal.

First, Agur. “Give me neither poverty nor riches.”
Second, Solomon. He prayed for wisdom. Riches were just a bonus.

That too is now my prayer: Lord, make me wise.

“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7, NIV)