Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
The greatest commands are to Love God and love your neighbor. These cannot be separated; they go together and impact each other. Whatever God blesses us with, He intends for us to share it with others. If we are blessed with wealth, it is for the purpose of blessing others with our resources. If we are blessed with talent, we should use that talent to benefit others, If we chose to hoard our wealth or other blessings from God, then God becomes very displeased.
James has already chastised the “rich” of looking down on the poor, and he had rebuked them for the arrogance of making plans without considering what God wants them to do. James attacks this issue from two different angles at once. first, the issue of hoarding, which means that we are not sharing God’s blessing with others who need it much more than we do, and second, on the Day of Judgment, all things with be made right, justice will be done regarding all inequities. By not sharing God’s blessings, this is interpreted as pure defiance towards God.
To me this is saying that those that do not help others, that always worry about themselves, making sure they are taken care of and treating the ones that are ‘below them’ with hatred, harshness, callousness, and like they are trash. They try there best to cheat people so they won’t have to pay the full price for what they truly deserve. Like they are nothing and not worth the time. They hired them so they should pay them fully. They are defying God’s wishes.
James is not just speaking of monetary wealth but also the wealth of God’s blessing. There are also those Christians who look down on LGBT Christians, not making sure that LGBT Christians are met with loving embrace within the church and instead treating LGBT Christians like they are ‘below them’ with hatred, harshness, callousness, and like we are trash, undeserving of God’s love because we love someone of the same sex. Christians who reject other Christians for whatever reason believe themselves to be rich in God’s love, but they are hoarding God’s love all for themselves.
Christians should stop hoarding God’s blessings and start giving it to some that need it, such as charities, children’s hospitals, etc. When we die, none of this will go with us, and we will be judged on the things we did, or did not do, while on this earth. Only God’s record of our good works and faith in his love will follow us to the afterlife.