15 January 2012
After getting straight to the point about the attitude one should have regarding impending trials and tribulations, we come to these three verses (9-11) which seem to drift off the topic. After all, what does poverty and wealth have to do with expected trials? This is the point that Steve sets his sights on and starts digging. And what he uncovers presents the intent behind James' address to the Jewish diaspora (who form James' audience).
Relatively poor, powerless, and of humble circumstances, James exhorts these brethren to glory in their high position of being co-heirs with Christ. And to those who were well-off his message is similarly paradoxical - do not forget the rubbish-heap from which you were saved.
Needless to say, these three verses have tremendous implications for the way we see ourselves today. More importantly, the exhortation is to take our focus off fleeting, material things and glory in the eternal treasure we have in Christ. If only we'd spend less time in running after that which we cannot keep, and more time glorying in that which costs us nothing to procure - being co heirs with Christ.