You might ask yourself what this scripture has to do with Biblical finances. When you read this chapter in its full context, James is giving a discourse on “faith that has meaning.” He is making an observation on how someone of faith should carry themselves. In verses 9 through 11, he points out that a rich man should not esteem themselves above a poor man, pointing out that riches are temporal, and he, just like everyone else, will fade away too.
James makes the statement that faith can do more for a man than money. He points out that faith has visible implications. Having faith not only saves a man, but it changes a man. Faith brings with it an internal change that can be observed externally in your actions. This is why he said in verses 26 and 27 that if religion produces results; it bridles a tongue and moves men to visit orphans and widows.
Bringing this back to our original scripture, for James it isn't enough to be hearers of the Word. The Word must yield results. It must produce something of value in one's life. When it comes to finances, those who do something of value with finances give evidence of being hearers of the Word and doers of the Word.
Think of the example of Zaccheus found in Luke 19:1-10. Zaccheus was rich because he was the chief tax collector. Jesus, the Word of God, came to him, and this encounter changed him. Zaccheus encountered the living Word which changed him, and caused him to do something with his money. He said he would pay back anyone he cheated.
In kingdom finances, it's not enough to be just hearers of the Word. It's possible to read the entire Bible about finances, but if you don't do something about what you have read, then you have only prepared yourself for success. God makes it clear that knowing the Word is very important, but equally important is doing the Word, which yields certain blessings. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
Jesus didn't just speak about the kingdom or the Word of God; he walked it out by demonstrating it through his compassion, and healing all those who came to Him. The Father demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die for us. This is why today, it isn't enough for a husband and wife to say, “I love you.” A spouse's actions will speak louder than words; demonstrating by action one's love is like a beacon to the rest of the world, and to your spouse, who you treasure most.
Getting back to the topic of finances, hearing the Word alone is just one element of prospering God's way. The other element is doing the Word that is planted in your mind and heart. Think of it this way: to make a cake takes a number of ingredients in specific amounts and combinations. These ingredients are similar for pancakes, muffins, or even cookies. However, the amount of each ingredient, and how long they are baked, distinguishes one from the other.
When it comes to Biblical finances, success happens when you follow all the elements that lead to it. Hearing the Word is one ingredient, while studying to show one approved, giving, money management (stewardship), and putting the Kingdom first are all part of the other ingredients to the whole picture.
Stewardship involves managing the money, investing it to grow, taking care of your needs, and giving to where God directs you. These are all part of the doing of the Word, these are the elements that make up your promise to be successful and prosperous. To leave out one of the elements would be like altering the end product; instead of a cake, you make a muffin.
How did Abraham and Joseph prosper? Did they do nothing to gain their prosperity? Only God can prosper one's crop or flock, man doesn't have control over that. However, when it came to land, money, or other forms of wealth, Abraham and Joseph did their part and God blessed what they put their hand to. Should a Christian today just pray and expect prosperity, but do nothing to create the avenue for it to flow to them?
Joseph did his part by taking charge of Egypt's economy. He prepared during times of prosperity by storing grain. When the famine occurred, he bought all the surrounding land and took care of the people. Joseph created an avenue to prosper; he was a doer, while God blessed his hands. Even the heathens could see that God was with Joseph.
Remember the story about the widow with two sons who owed money to the creditor (2 Kings 4:1-7)? Elisha told her to get some empty jars and pour the one jar of oil that she had into all the empty ones, and then go sell those jars to pay off the creditor. The widow was a doer of the Word and did what God asked of her through the voice of Elisha. Had she not done as Elisha asked, she would not have created the avenue in which finances could flow.
Christians today will learn to prosper effectively when the entire Word of God is heard and applied properly. Finances in the kingdom require hearing God, doing as He directs, and managing it as it comes in. Gratitude and giving become a welcomed element in the big picture of being a success God's way. The reason why our generation is blessed is because we have the Living Word in us to direct us, council us, and bless us. The closer we come to Christ, the more we benefit from the Word.
As James said, being a doer of the Word is just as important as being a hearer. It's the call of action that leads you to prosperity; not just with money, but with everything you do. Seek first the kingdom, which includes hearing the Word, drawing close to Christ, and being doers of the Word, and all these things will be added to you. Money will be the least of your concerns. Your goal is to pursue God, not money.
For further reading on money, please find my book which was released this month, on Amazon. See the ad on the sidebar.
Images courtesy of Evelyn De Morgan and Sommai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Faith News Niagara and Joshua Ray are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.
This article was an excerpt from “Renewing the Mind; Seeing Money From A Different Perspective.”
This book is now available on Amazon.com for Kindle readers.
"Finances in the kingdom require hearing God, doing as He directs, and managing it as it comes in. Gratitude and giving become a welcomed element in the big picture of being a success God's way."
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"22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
with Joshua Ray
Local author Joshua Ray shares his thoughts on the Scriptures, faith, & Biblical finances.
"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves"