Read: James 5:1-6
Reflect: An acquaintance spent $10,339 to buy 36 buckets of food which are all stored in the bunker of his basement. The food is supposed to have a shelf life of 25 years. My friend is a “Prepper”. According to Google a prepper is “a person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.” The shipment in his home contains 507 days of food, and he only needs 4,320 cups of water to reconstitute all the packets. What has he got for his money? Nary a vegetable in site and lots of carbs. His “Prepper Pantry”, consists of freeze-dried foods, with the emphasis on “dried”. This goes way beyond when my mom canned a full pantry of food each summer to prepare for winter. In contrast, my friend has spent a quarter of his current yearly income to take care of himself so he can be all prepared for his last days on this earth.
This is the problematic attitude addressed in James 5 when it talks about the world view of the rich. The difficulty is when people forget the transitory nature of their wealth and think it all belongs to themselves. Material blessings come and go, eventually turning to dust. “Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have corroded, and their corrosion will serve as a testimony against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” (James 5:2-3). I like the Amplified version of that last phrase: “You have stored up your treasure in the last days [when it will do you no good]”. These people are filling their calendars with possessions and attitudes which will carry them through the day, but not through eternity. My friend is prepped for a catastrophic physical disaster, but he has not comprehended he presently has a catastrophic spiritual disaster going on in his heart. He has forgotten eternity.
What does God think of this heart attitude that says, “Life is all about me”? James makes clear that it has “come to the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth (the Lord of Hosts)” (verse 5). God is not pleased when we think that life is all about us; when we short change others to assure our own comfort. The mark of a mature Christian is that they have an extreme attitude of generosity. Their overriding attitude is to give, rather than take. They open the doors of their pantry and share, regardless of the personal price to themselves.
Apply: Whatever God has given us on this earth eventually turns to dust, and that even pertains to all those shopping carts filled to overflowing with toilet tissue at the beginning of COVID. I Timothy 6: 17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. Whether or not you feel it, as believers we are rich. Our Father owns everything in the universe. How are you giving regularly and deeply to others, rather than yourself? Why not become an “Eternity Prepper”? (I coined that phrase myself).