What does this mean, ‘humble circumstances give you glory’? Very clearly James is speaking to the poor person who is a follower of Christ. Don’t get me wrong. You can find poor people that are just as evil as any rich person. You can find rich people who are wonderful, devoted Christians. But, what we see here is James speaking to those who are Christians living in poverty.
So, why is poverty such an humble state? For one thing, those who are poor feel powerless. Secondly, those that are poor tend to feel very discouraged and sometimes great despair about how little they have. Thirdly, the poor tend to feel a lack of respect from the world in which they live.
I want to ask you, who are the five richest people in American? Now, I realize a lot of you can’t answer that question, but anyone can find out. When Fortune or Forbes comes out listing the wealthiest people in the world, you would be able to name them all.
But, could you name the five poorest people in America? Have you ever seen a published list of the five poorest people in the world? You ever see People magazine talking about the glamor of a person living in abject poverty that literally gets their food off a trash dump there in a third world nation? Yet God says to the Christian poor, “Glory in the world is your high position.” How can this be?
Their glory in their humble circumstances is because in the world to come in heaven, they are to have a greater reward because they endured such hardship in this life. The rich and affluent experience lots of material blessings in the here and now, but God’s heart is always tender toward the poor. He is a God of justice. Hopefully, this will give hope to those who do live in humble circumstances. If you do live in glory, it’s what is to come in heaven.
So, whether you live in humble circumstances or you live in affluence, take heart. Because whether you are poor or rich, if you live a life honoring God, your will have a just reward in heaven.