Passage: Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you? Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment.
Journal: The rebuke of the first six verses of this final chapter finds great application in our culture. The rebuke is not generally of wealth, but specifically of the worship of wealth. It is the very object of this worship that steals the soul -- it eats the flesh and fattens the heart ("Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire . . ."; "You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter."). It is the object of this worship that is patently temporal -- it corrupts, it is moth eaten, and it corrodes ("Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten . . ."; "Your gold and silver are corroded . . .").
If water has no outlet, it stagnates. It breeds mosquitoes, and it stinks. It is not potable, and is worthless. Wealth piled up for pleasure (current and future) is tantamount to stagnant water. Water that is released and keeps flowing becomes more and more pure. It does not stagnate, and is good for multiple uses. So it is with wealth. Riches that are used for God's glory are a pure offering, a form of worship to the provider of all things. It is the responsibility of the child of God to allow the abundance of this age to become abundance for God's glory. A child of God should be a spring flowing out of the ground, joining with other waters to become a pure sacrifice for God's glory. The child of God is to seek pleasure, but this pleasure cannot be sustained by decaying materiality. Rather, the pleasure sought by the child of God must be eternal, for it is in the presence of God that our pleasure is realized. It is in His very presence that our abundance overcomes stagnation and becomes a flowing blessing for all to enjoy.
Heard 'Round the House:
While this may be in contrast to today's journal, Ella (age almost three; down syndrome) used sign language for the first time yesterday by indicating she wanted more (my guess would be of a banana). This small thing is a rather big thing for her, as she progresses more and more away from that little girl in a shell that wasn't even walking when we first adopted her about 9 months ago from Colombia.