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