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What Do You Thirst For?

May 3, 2023

Leadership Notes


In a couple of weeks, we’ll be tackling an element of James that hits hard at the wealthy elite. Toward the end of chapter five, James invokes the work of Old Testament prophets, who pronounced God’s judgment on people in positions of power and influence. It fits right in with the way he opens chapter five, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.”


The wealthy and ruling elites weathered the 2020 pandemic better than others over whom they were lording their compassion and expertise. The negative impact on families, businesses, schoolchildren, will be microscoped and autopsied for years. People were frightened and bullied by those who didn’t follow their own rules. That’s what totalitarians do. Great money was to be had by those who knew how to work the system. This was especially true for elected officials and government bureaucrats.


Muriel Blaive is Advisor to the Director for Research and Methodology at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Czech Republic. Here’s a keen observation:


The difference with the flu is, with Covid people got convinced they can avoid it if they, and us, “do everything right.” Therefore they feel betrayed and obsess over the culprit who “gave it to them” when they inevitably catch it. This attitude is much more damaging than Covid. It poisons the social fabric for years. It turns one’s neighbors and friends, sometimes even one’s family, into a sort of enemy. The vaccine adds to this, because “everyone” has to get the shot in this frame of mind and there is no room for dissent. It is a sad frame of mind.


If you really want an interesting rabbit hole to go down, look into Jordan Peterson, Gad Saad, and their work on The Hive Mind and The Parasitic Mind, among other topics.


All this is to say, money, position, and power {and the thirst for them}, corrupts. This thirst stands in the way of a saving relationship with God. As James reminds in verse two, “Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.” God’s Word testifies to how difficult it is for the rich and influential to enter heaven. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.


On June 30, 2008, Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to procuring for prostitution a girl below age 18. Worse part wasn’t that he only went to prison for 18 months. Worse part was how many rich and/or famous continued to visit his island. Too many people were too willing to curry his favor. It’s sickening. Such is the powerful lure of this wicked and fallen world. As James writes in 5:5, “You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.” Makes me understand why people want the escape of isolation.


But alas, we are in the world but not of the world. We are merely temporary travelers through this broken land. Heaven is our permanent home.


Tangential to James 5 sits the prosperity gospel and its spawn, celebrity pastors/leaders/authors. {Do I criticize thusly because I am envious of the position?} The lure of riches is strong. And so we patiently resist. We resist by not loving money. We resist by humbly serving our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We resist by not caving in to the narcissistic pull of our culture. We resist by living out of the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. We do all we can to bring the light of God’s grace and mercy to our little corner of His world.


And now, Three Moments of Spurgeon:


1. “How many are they who have made a god of their wealth,

and in hasting after riches have been drowned by the weight

of their worldly substance.”


2. “Observation shows us that there is a fascination in wealth

which renders it extremely difficult for the possessors of it to

maintain their equilibrium; and this is more especially the

case where money is suddenly acquired; then, unless grace

prevent, pride fumes, and he who is respectable in poverty,

becomes despicable in prosperity. Pride may lurk under a

threadbare cloak, but it prefers the comely broadcloth of the

merchant’s cloak: moths will eat any of our garments, but

they seem to fly first to the costly furs.”


3. “It is very difficult for a man to have much money running

through his hands without some of it sticking. It is very

sticky stuff; and when it once sticks to the hands, they are

not clean in the sight of the Lord. Unless a man is able to use

money without abusing it, accepting it as a talent lent to

him, and not as treasure given to him, it will very soon

happen that, the more money he has, the more troubles he

will have.”


Be of Good Cheer!


Richard

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