"Money Matters" - Andrew Nishimoto
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. - James 5:1-3
"You have no control
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story"
This line from the Broadway musical, Hamilton, is extremely powerful. Once you become history, you can no longer control your story. I often think about this in light of the history of the Church and Christianity. There are so many moments in church history that make me want to weep, turn back time, and convince the church to be different. I think about the crusades, slavery, abuse and so much more. There were many times in which the Church stood on the wrong side of history.
But, we can't go back in time. We can't change the past. We can't undo what has been done. So, what can we do?
First, we can acknowledge that as humans, we get it wrong...a lot! We can acknowledge our mistakes and the ongoing ways those mistakes continue to impact others. But beyond acknowledging our past mistakes, we can take time to think about and pray about what history we are making now. What are people going to say about our generation as a church?
The fear that I have is that our treatment of the poor is going to be our historical narrative. Poverty, both abroad and locally, is an ever-growing issue within the church. We either ignore the problem or treat it with a band-aid through soup kitchens and clothes closets and continue to ignore the sacrificial, relational elements that need to be addressed. James 5 speaks to the severity of this issue and the urgency with which we must take notice.
David Platt, in his book Radical:Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream states, "Yet, while caring for the poor is not the basis of our salvation, this does not mean that our use of wealth is totally disconnected from our salvation." Matthew 25 emphasizes this even more by directly correlating how we treat and interact with the poor with our understanding of salvation, condemnation, and relationship with Christ.
Where on your priority scale is caring for the poor? Do you spend time in prayer concerning the poor? When you budget, do you plan to save for the bigger house, the better car, the tastier food, or do you budget so you can give? When you give, do you hand out the scraps or do you give your best? When you see someone who has no home, do you think to get them a hotel room? Maybe pay for their apartment? Or (an even more radical idea) maybe Christ is asking you to offer them your home...
HOW TO PRAY:
Ask God to show you how you can use your finances to bless others suffering locally and globally
Pray for the homeless neighbors you see on the streets and riverbed in Bellflower
Pray for the elderly and widows/widowers in our community
James 5:1-6 “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.”
About the Author: Andrew Nishimoto is the Deputy Director of Kingdom Causes Bellflower