Sunday, September 30, 2018

Accountability

According to James, “Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.  Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire.  You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.  You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter…” 

This condemnation of the rich made sense in Jesus’ days.  The rich got richer by stealing the land of the poor who were driven off their lands by those taking advantage of their misfortune caused by droughts and failed crops.   Those who owned the land lost it and became tenant farmers on the land they lost to those with the means to buy – the rich landlords.

James warned those landowners that luxury and pleasure at the expense of the poor and downtrodden had fattened their hearts, and on the last day that treasure would do them no good.  They did not hear the cries of the workers, but those cries were heard by God.

Oh, oh, accountability.   Being held responsible for our ambivalence and neglect of  those in need and for acts of greed and selfishness is not something we think about or perhaps even expect.

When we find ourselves with God after our last day, what will we say?  We probably won’t need to say anything for God will know already.   God won’t need an X-ray machine to see fattened hearts.       

Deacon David Pierce

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