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James 1:10

ESV and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.
NIV But the rich should take pride in their humiliation--since they will pass away like a wild flower.
NASB but the rich person is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.
CSB but let the rich boast in his humiliation because he will pass away like a flower of the field.
NLT And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field.
KJV But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

What does James 1:10 mean?

Verses 9 through 11 offer an important teaching on the question of Christian perspective. Earlier passages in James challenged Christians to tally their hardships as joy, and to give God complete trust when seeking wisdom. In verse 9, James wrote that those who truly trust the Father can boast about their exalted position, even if they're completely destitute in this life. The lowliest Christian believer is eternal royalty with endless riches through their faith in Jesus.

Here, James explains that for the rich Christian, their faith in God is demonstrated by the mirror-image of that view. The rich Christian should take pride in their "humiliation." In other words, those with great wealth in this life should not see their money as evidence that they are significant in any way. They are significant, as Christians, only because they are children of God with a place in eternity. Whatever earthly wealth they have now is nearly meaningless because of how briefly it lasts.

Notice that James does not condemn the wealth of rich Christians. However, he will have harsh words later in this letter for those who abuse their wealth and power. Instead, in this verse and the next, he compares life on this side of eternity to a wild flower, beautiful but alarmingly temporary. The ability of a rich believer to see her own wealth as a fleeting thing, and to boast instead about her place in eternity, is evidence that she is trusting God. Conversely, Christians who presume that worldly wealth somehow makes them more important than the poor are failing to trust God's perspective for how the universe really operates.
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