James 2:5-6, James and the Poor

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?

//There seems to be disagreement among Christians about what the word “poor” means. Some, reading the words of Matthew regarding the “poor in spirit,” argue that Jesus isn’t really interested in the plight of the poor. God is interested in their soul, not their lack of money.

Would James agree? Today’s verses seem clear to me: God favors the poor over the rich. In the day of the Lord’s Coming (which James insists will be very soon, since the last days have begun), the tide will turn in favor of the poor. Read especially the following passage, where James tears into the rich, because they became rich through nefarious deeds:

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you. Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. –James 5:1-8

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