Dear Rich man, rejoice when you’re broke

We all love the underdog. I can still hear the tun of Rocky playing in my mind when I think of the movies that became an American icon of the underdog story. The guy who has been beat up again and again, can rise to the top. There is something in us all that rejoices to think that strength of will, perseverance, and heart can overcome any circumstances. It’s an ideal that has been marketed as the American dream. And in a sense, it is how the world is.

When the guy underneath gets up, we all rejoice. And in James 1:9 God says that this is good and right, but there’s another part that few of us stop to read.

James 1:9 says, “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:” But it doesn’t stop there. The rest of the sentence beyond the colon reads, “But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.”

What? What’s that supposed to mean!?

Why would the rich man rejoice when he loses his money? How is he supposed to be happy?

I don’t believe the answer to understanding this is clear at a glance. God says he should rejoice because “as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.”

Consider what happens when a man looses all his riches. He is reminded how transient and vain his riches are. They are here for a moment and then vanish away. In an instant, man is given a metaphor for his entire world. Snap your fingers and it’s gone.

Consider a person’s focus when tragedy hits. People say, “Why would God do this?” “Why do I deserve this, God?” Even in our lawless and godless society, hurricanes and natural disasters are sometimes called, “Acts of God.” What happened when Job lost everything? Was he talking about the physics of the hurricane force winds that tore his children’s house apart?

No, he was talking about his relationship with God.

So I challenge you, view the circumstances you see with purpose. Next time you see a man who picks himself up and makes something great of himself, Rejoice! Such is a great reminder that we have the opportunity and responsibility to better ourselves. And next time you see someone loose their material possessions, or even if you loose some yourself, Rejoice!

Let us give thanks that our lives on earth are full of reminders to look heavenward and see past life’s transient surroundings and see the eternal riches of God on High!

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” – 1 Peter 1:24-25b



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