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Answer to Question 1

Why should the wealthy of the world worry?

James tells the wealthy of the world that they should "weep and wail" over the miseries that are coming to them (verse 1). Then he goes on to say that their riches have rotted away and their clothes have been eaten by moths and their gold and silver will be covered with rust.

The ravages of time turn everything to dust, eventually. Thus, it is fruitless to pile up great stores of wealth. James says, "This rust will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire." It is not the wealth itself then that is evil and that weighs down the soul, rather it is the squandering of wealth, its rotting away by non-use.

Perhaps James can be called the first economist. For he seemed to understand that unused wealth merely decays. Put to use it works to the benefit of all of society. He notes how many have not "paid wages to the men who work in their fields." Invested capital, wages paid, will end the "cries of those who gather in your crops." Like any other instrument or tool, it is how wealth is used that is important. James says, "You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter." In other words, do not be wasteful, slothful and squander your lives.

Invest and work for the good of others.

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