The Witness of Corrosion
Mentoring Manna: The witness of corrosion
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
The witness of corrosion: James 5:1-3 “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.” James the Just, the brother of Jesus, wrote these words. He addressed the rich of his day with a scathing rebuke. Who are the rich? The Greek word here for “rich” means “wealthy” or “abounding.” Webster’s Dictionary defines “rich” as “having more than enough of material possessions.” It is true that many of us have more than enough clothes, money, and material goods to meet our basic needs for life. Much of our money is put in savings or spent on surplus desires. God wants to bless His people and prosperity is a part of His plan. However, we will one day give account of our stewardship. The indictment that James makes to the rich is that they have hoarded up their riches and refused to be a blessing to others. Rather than give away their surplus blessing of clothes, they have stored them until the moths have eaten them and made them worthless. Corrosion has eaten away at those things in storage. Now they are worthless junk to be discarded. Rather than being a blessing, they have been selfish. The corruption and corrosion that comes upon their riches will be a witness or a testimony against them in the last days. Paul gave Timothy the following instructions for believers who were rich in this life: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come; that they may lay hold of eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Here is the contrast between the rich who hoard their riches to the point of corruption and corrosion and the rich who store up a good foundation for the time to come through giving and sharing with others. If we have been blessed with more than enough, then we are rich. Let us heed the warning and exhortation given to us in Scripture. Let us be rich in good works and not in possessions alone.
Application: Many of us have been trained to save up for hard times. Many times good things become junk as they sit around in storage. Things that could be a blessing to others now soon become unusable and out of style. Moth, rust, and rats eat away at our “riches.” When they do, the Scripture says that they will be a witness against us in the last days. Why not become “rich” in good works by giving and sharing out of our abundance? This might be clothes, shoes, jewelry, furniture, food, automobiles, bikes, toys, and equipment that we would be better off giving away than storing. We usually get a small portion of the price we paid when we sell things in a garage sale. However, if we give we increase the profit we make spiritually. When we sell things, we bless ourselves and only add to our riches. When we give, we bless others and God has promised to multiply the seed we have sown. Not only this, but we store up a good foundation in God for the days to come. So, why allow our surplus to be ruined through corruption and corrosion? It will only be a witness against us if we do.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank You for being rich toward me in this life. Forgive me for hoarding up riches in this life that have been ruined through corruption and corrosion. From this day forward I choose to be rich in good works by giving and sharing out of my abundance. Teach me where and how to give into the lives of others. I believe that as I do, that I will lay up for myself a good foundation for the time to come and lay hold of eternal life. I thank You for this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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