The first half of this week’s verses should have been placed with last week. It is a continuation of the paradigm shift of pride in both the poor and the rich. The first section of these verses continue the thought of how a rich man’s life play out. James does give credence to the fact that the rich are looked at like flowers with beauty and blossoms.
However, the main point should be recognized that it is a fleeting thing. Perhaps the rich man can take pride in the fact that his “beauty” will not last forever. Instead, the truth, wisdom, and riches of God are ever-lasting.
Everyone can only be confident in himself for so long. Sooner or later, their pride has to fall. We are all fallible creatures and as history repeats itself, our riches will (must) pass away. If we do have riches it would be wise to use that resource to store up treasures in heaven. In fact, it not only the rich who have that opportunity. Just because you have wealth does not mean you have more chances to store up treasures in heaven, it just means you have access to different methods. Both the poor and the rich have the same amount of time throughout the day; 24 hours to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.
James starts this letter with a call to be joyful in trials. Now, we see him tell his readers that those who persevere are blessed. Of course, we have to stand the test though. It does us no good to crack under pressure, but drawing strength from friends, family and, ultimately, God, we can endure any trial that comes our way.
Motivation is important and the crown of life is excellent motivation for those that understand its value. I have often said that “heaven is a perk.” Living out this relationship with Jesus and having life in abundance now is the true joy. Heaven just adds to that. This “crown of life” is our true joy. Because of our salvation in Jesus Christ, we already live in the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s not necessary to die and go to heaven to experience the joy Christ has for us. We will see him face to face and worship him directly someday, but for now it is awesome to know he lives within my heart and share that same joy with others.
For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.