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Rich Man, Poor Man (4 of 22)
Series: Behave Yourself
Remember the nursery rhyme, "Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief." We're going to talk about "Rich Man, Poor Man."
One of the reasons I enjoy studying the book of James is because it is such a down-to-earth, practical book. James has a way of touching life where you and I live it. In the previous verses, for instance, James has talked about the fact that life has its share of trials and difficulties, and he says that the purpose of these trials which come to the life of the believer is that our faith might be tried and purified and made strong.
James continues by talking about something which we know to be true in everyday experiences. He says that there are different economic and social levels in life. There are some people who are well-to-do. There are other people who do not have a great deal. There are some people who live in economic abundance, and there are some who just struggle and they just barely can get by.
No only is this true in society in general, but it is also true among the people of God. There are some Christians who do not have a great many of this world's possessions. They live in lowly circumstances and they just barely get by. They know the Lord and they love the Lord, but they have a struggle. On the other hand, there are Christians that seem to do quite well. They prosper and they have an abundance of materially things. So just like it is in life, even in the family of God there are these social and economic distinctions.
James is going to approach this particular matter in a very unexpected and unusual way. James is going to say to the rich believer and also to the poor believer that both of them are to rejoice. He says to the poor believer, "Rejoice." He says to the rich believer, "Rejoice."
What you have here is what you call a paradox. You will find these paradoxes all through ...
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