Well, I’ve made it to the final chapter of James in my lectio divina study. Here’s what stands out to me:
“You have lived on the earth in luxury and self-indulgence.” James 5:5a
When I compare my life, and the things I own, to others around me, I like to imagine my lifestyle is modest. However, the truth of the matter is:
*My husband and I own two cars
*We have a nice condo in a quiet neighborhood
*We buy pretty much whatever we want at the grocery store
*We have a tidy sum set away in our retirement accounts
*We go on vacations and other trips a couple of times a year
*We go out to eat several times a month
*We have a closet full of clothing
To most of the world, somebody like me, somebody with a pretty “average” life in the United States is living in the lap of luxury. Most people in the world live in poverty. 85% of the world live on less than $30 per day, two-thirds live on less than $10 per day, and every tenth person lives on less than $1.90 per day. In each of these statistics price differences between countries are taken into account to adjust for the purchasing power in each country. In addition, many of the consumer goods we enjoy (things like clothing, electronics and even chocolate) depend upon the work of people who are either enslaved or forced to work in horrible conditions.
I feel guilty and I should. However, I’m not sure what to do about it, or how to change things .I can only rely on the forgiveness of God and His mercy.
“ Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.””
Those who heard this asked, ‘Who then can be saved?‘
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:25-17
For more on the book of James see:
Luther and the Book of James
James Chapter 3–What Stands Out?
James Chapter 1 — What Stands Out?