I am Rich, but am I Murderer

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasures in the last days. Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the ear in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you (James 5:1-6).
These six verses convict me more than any other verses in the Bible. I may not be rich relative to my peers, but I am rich compared to 99% of the other people who live in the world. If you make greater than $34, 000 USD, you are in the richest 1% of the entire world. I don't have treasures of gold in a storehouse, but I am putting away large amounts of money for the last days of my life, otherwise known as retirement.

Although I may be rich and storing up treasures, I have not done it by fraud. This used to assuage my conscience until I started to think about how I gained my riches. An ideal economy would be a zero-sum game were the amount of work is the only differentiator, but that is not always the case. One of the key differentiators is paying less for something than it is actually worth. For example, the worker who makes a $14 dollar shirt is only being paid 12 cents. Shirts are just the beginning, what about food, and electronics? Most of these are produced through cheap labour. Since we are the distributers of these workers wages are we not responsible?

There is no question that we are living in luxury and in self-indulgence while the majority of the world is turmoil. What is our responsibility? How does God see these things or has He already made that clear? Is it possible that He considers us murderers of defenceless people?


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