In 2006 Bob Kitts, a contractor,was tearing out the walls of a bathroom he was renovating and just below the medicine cabinet he found two green metal lockboxes hanging from a wire. Inside was $182,000 in Depression-era currency. He quickly alerted the homeowner Amanda Reese and great was their excitement!
In the end, however, both only got a few thousand out of the find. What happened? They began to argue about how much each got. Amanda offered him 10% and Bob wanted 40%. It got ugly from there. Eventually their legal battle gained public attention and the legal heirs of Patrick Dunn (who had hidden the money to start with) sued as well. In the end everybody got a little… the treasure dwendled to nothing. “If these two individuals had sat down and resolved their disputes and divided the money, the heirs would have had no knowledge of it,” said attorney Gid Marcinkevicius, who represents the Dunne estate. “Because they were not able to sit down and divide it in a rational way, they both lost.”
In today’s passage James issues one of the sternest warnings about hording wealth in the Bible. While we tend to think that being filthy rich will make us deliriously happy, James says it should be an occasion to be miserable. Why? To begin with, stored up riches tend to evaporate. Rich foods rot, fine clothes become moth-eaten, and gold and silver corrode. Last to go is YOU! (v. 3)
Jesus offers the alternative: “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38) And where does one store such a winfall? “…store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where theives do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)
Strive today that you will live a life of generousity. It will come back to you… in good measure.