Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.James 1:9-11 ESV
James makes this comparison a few times in his book—he is comparing a poor, humble man to a rich man. He is most likely referring to monetary status, but it can also refer to material possessions or position. It’s important to note that James isn’t just comparing the material wealth of a man, he’s drawing our attention to our attitude toward the wealth. Being rich in and of itself will not cause us to perish, it is our focus on the money that he is addressing. He uses the phrase “In the midst of his pursuit” to helps us to understand he’s referring to the chasing after of possessions, not just the possessions themselves.
In other words, if our focus is on pursuing money or material things or power, then we will perish. These things are of the world and only temporary—just as grass fades away, so will our money, our things, and our power. They may seem as beautiful to us as the flowering grass, but their beauty is only superficial. Pursuing anything that is temporary and of this world is futile. James warns us here not to get distracted by these things, but rather speaks of the lowly man being exalted.
The lowly man is not exalted just for being poor, but his focus is once again on the attitude. If you struggle financially, and if you’re frustrated and always striving to get out of the situation you’re in, James is not talking about exalting you. He’s talking about the person who is not focused on their financial status and is completely content with where God has them. Don’t get me wrong. Blessings are not coming your way if you’re lazy; God honors hard work. But if you are bitter or angry over your position, and you are consistently focused on the negative aspects of your situation, your blessings will be minimal. In other words, you’re not just exalted just because you’re poor, you’re exalted because of your attitude toward your financial position.
Money and marriage can be a volatile mix if the focus is in the wrong place. Money has the honor of being the number one source of conflict between married couples. It is the reason we fight the most. What should we do with our money? How should we invest it? How much should we save? How much should we spend? Why don’t we ever seem to have enough of it? If the focus of our attention is on our bank account or our material possessions, whether they are many or they are few, we will not experience God’s blessings in our marriage. He wants our focus to be on Him. He wants our pursuit to be of Him.
It can be so easy to be distracted by the things of this world because they are tangible and right in front of us. We often get caught in the trap of thinking we need material things to make our lives more comfortable, or in focusing on our earthly accomplishments because that’s what the world teaches us is important, so those things become the focus of our pursuit. It is our time in the Word every day that resets our focus on Him and Him alone. Our pursuit should only and always be to glorify our God and King.
Though you may be in a difficult position financially these days, pause and praise God for the ways He has blessed you and your spouse through the years. Find time to spend resting in His Word every day, cling to the promises that He will provide for your every need. Shift the focus of your conversation with your spouse to the things of God instead of the material things of this world, and you will find His peace in your marriage.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗