Now the believer of humble means should take pride in his high position. But the rich person’s pride should be in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a wildflower in the meadow. For the sun rises with its heat and dries up the meadow; the petal of the flower falls off and its beauty is lost forever. So also the rich person in the midst of his pursuits will wither away. Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him. (James 1:9-12)
I’ve often wondered on James’ excursion into people of high and low means. It has just seemed to come out of the blue. Where does his discussion come from? Here’s my guess.
Everyone is going through trials–rich and poor, but the rich man’s transience is being contrasted with the longevity of those who are refined by trials. In his pursuit of money and riches, the one who pursues riches finds himself consumed and chasing a vision which cannot fulfill him or grant him life.
The one who follows Christ on the other hand, is settled on a truly life-giving source whose apprehension sustains and refines rather than consumes as riches do.