“But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position.” – James 1:9
One of my favorite Biblical authors is James. He tells it like it is and doesn’t pull any punches. It’s like every time I read from this book, he’s talking straight to me. And if you’ve ever read it, you probably feel the same way.
So, what do you think today’s verse means – “humble circumstances give you glory.” Very clearly, James is speaking to the poor person who is a follower of Christ. Please 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, here, James is speaking to Christians living in poverty.
And why, you ask, 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 can 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? Do 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 only gets better 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, you will have a just reward in heaven.