The Outcry

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.” James 5:1-6
“The check is in the mail.” As often as this statement is made in the local church to those who perform itinerant ministry, it ought to be put on a Hobby Lobby throw pillow. Anyone who has ever travelled to administer a wedding, conduct a funeral, preach a revival, lead a conference, speak at a banquet or hold a concert in a local church has heard these words. They have all the comfort and substance of “Be warmed and filled.”
The last building program I led robbed me of my last shred of confidence in a written contract or a man’s word. Verbal or written contracts have very little power over greedy people who overpromise and under deliver. It amazes me how many people believe doing business with a church involves cheating a group of people who have God on their side. They seem to think that when we asked Jesus into our hearts, our brains fell out.
Nothing can be more comforting than knowing that The Father hears the cries of His children. He does not turn a deaf ear to those who pray to Him after they have been cheated, or have had honest pay delayed or withheld after performing honorable labor.
“The outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord.” V. 4
An American Proverb attributed to Abraham Lincoln, and sometimes to Will Rogers says, “God must love the common man, because He so many of them.” In spite of producing the world’s wealthiest nation with a standard of living that is the envy of all, the American people still have an uneasy relationship with those who are rich. The Book of James reveals that God does too. When they cheat those who work for them, and hoard stolen resources, He calls them to come to Him to reevaluate their net worth, and to repent.
“Your net worth is based on what money can’t buy and what death can’t take away.” Adrian Rogers
Cheating someone out of a timely payment for a service rendered is a form of theft, and James reminds those who do it that God is not pleased about it. It is always wise to pay what you owe, when it is owed.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Proverbs 3:27
In Jewish culture, the righteous man was considered to be someone whose private and public worship was matched by private, and sincere giving, praying and fasting.  Jesus affirmed these signs of righteousness in The Sermon on The Mount.
The righteous, those who love God the most, are often respected the least by those who are graduates of  the P.T. Barnum School of Business. Their mission statement is, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
“You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.” V. 6
Just because a righteous man doesn’t demand proper treatment from those who abuse his trust in them doesn’t mean it isn’t owed to him and expected by God.  The righteous may not offer up resistance to those who dishonor them, but know this. God hears them when they cry. Jesus offered wise advice to His followers when they were cheated, robbed or persecuted.
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44
The Father always hears the cries of His children. Those who are the cause of their discomfort may be rich or poor, thief or employer, friend or enemy. Any and all should take to heart that The Father is not happy about it when He hears His children cry.
“Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.” Psalms 116:2
The Father invites His children to bring their helpless cries to Him. He inclines His ear to hear them. Holding onto resentment, and expecting a benefit is hopeless. It is not an expression of helplessness. It is like trying to cash a check that is never sent. It helps to pray.
“Helplessness is the real secret and the impelling power of prayer.” O. Hallesby
Note To Self: Take your cries of resentment to The Father and leave them there. He can’t bless you with something else while you are still crying over spilled milk. Stop complaining about having to clean up after a stampede of unmilked cows. Your prayers have been heard. Don’t follow the herd. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!