Skip to content
On Kingdom Business

On Kingdom Business

By: Alistair Begg - April 30, 2023
Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg

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

The most famous work of the Scottish economist Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, was first published in 1776, the same year that the Thirteen American Colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. In the years that followed, the new nation (along with most of what became the Western world) embraced this book and its argument, becoming one of the finest examples of economic prosperity that the world has ever witnessed—and, along the way, reinforcing for its population the unfortunate idea that human existence is largely about financial success.

James does not say that there is anything wrong with wealth. Through him, though, the Holy Spirit does remind the affluent that life in God’s world is not about the accumulation of riches. Rather, we are to remember that we are as frail as a summer flower and that riches are fleeting. James calls us to use godly wisdom, which enables us to view our possessions and circumstances from a perspective that is both right and radical—right because it is a view based on the reality of eternity; and radical because it will lead us to hold loosely to what we have, being far quicker to give it away than to grasp it tightly.

There is nothing wrong with wealth, but there is danger in having it. Jesus gave his own warning: “Be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). He spoke of a rich fool who didn’t apply this wisdom, instead building bigger barns in which to store all his crops and relying on his wealth to enjoy his life—yet that very night God demanded that life from him (v 16-20). This man relied on foolish wisdom rather than God’s, and Jesus said we, too, are foolish if we lay up treasure for ourselves and yet are not rich toward God (v 21).

True riches can never be found or placed in earthly banks, vaults, or portfolios. We might be tempted to use these as a basis for significance or security, but the wisdom of God shows their hollowness. So, instead of pursuing that which will fade, do as James instructs: focus on using your possessions wisely, generously, and for kingdom business—no matter how great or small they might be.

About the Author(s)
author profile image

Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. His Daily Devotionals are presented here via a syndication agreement.
More From This Author
Previous Story
Faith  |  Alistair Begg  • 
April 29, 2023

The Second Reaction

Next Story