God loves you! He wants a personal, intimate relationship with you. He loves you so much that he sent his only begotten Son to die for your sins. If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus died for you, you will be saved from eternal damnation and will spend eternity with God. Everything is going to be alright. Hallelujah!

But today is April 27, 2020 and you may be among the 6.6 million who have applied for unemployment benefits because of the coronavirus outbreak. You may have been counted among the poor even before shelter-in-place took effect around America. You may have been among the middle-class, but your employer may have to close his business before the year is over. During this scary, financial time you may be wondering, “Where is God? Why would He let this happen to His children?” You may be rich and think you are safe from all harm.

There have been conflicting opinions about the rich and the poor among God’s people since Jesus walked the earth. For example, our great, great grandparents believed there was a blessing in being poor because it kept you humble before God and showed your holiness (the poor gospel).  

About thirty years ago, the “poor gospel” was replaced with the “prosperity gospel.” The prosperity gospel is the belief that financial blessings are always the will of God  and that faith, positive speech, and financial giving to your local church or favorite tele-evangelist will increase one’s material wealth. 

Which “gospel” is correct, and which is important to God?

James, the brother of Jesus, taught the poor Christians that God does not care about their bank account. God wants to know if they have accepted Jesus as Savior. Poor Christians are heirs of God and He will supply their daily bread.

“Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position [as a born-again believer, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God];” (James 1:9). 

James taught the rich Christians that God does not care about their bank account. God wants to know if they have accepted Jesus as Savior. They should rejoice because God’s grace is a greater wealth than their money and only His grace can keep them safe from all harm. 

“ and the rich man is to glory in being humbled [by trials revealing human frailty, knowing true riches are found in the grace of God], for like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; its flower falls off and its beauty fades away; so too will the rich man, in the midst of his pursuits, fade away” (James 1:10-11). 

Being poor does not signify humility and holiness; and being rich does not signify safety from all harm. Both the poor and the rich must depend on God for life’s sustenance in this world and the reality/experience of life everlasting. Being in the kingdom of God is the great equalizer.

The truth that God wants my heart and does not care about how much money I have comforts me. I am released to build my relationship with Him and not spend excessive time building my financial portfolio. What are your thoughts on James 1:9-11? Join the conversation.