“Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low…” (James 1:9-10a)
Two different types of people are mentioned in this verse: The Poor believer (“the brother of low degree”) and the Rich believer. What is interesting is that both are told to rejoice because of their circumstances. Let’s look at them backwards.
The RICH are to rejoice.
It is easy to imagine a rich believer rejoicing; he has riches. Anyone could rejoice if they were rich. Ah, but he isn’t telling the rich man to rejoice in his riches. He says the rich man is to rejoice “in that he is made low.” What does that mean?
The biggest temptation for the rich man is to trust in his riches. Therefore, the rich believer should rejoice when God allows circumstances into his life which bring him low because it will keep him from trusting in those riches instead of trusting in God.
The POOR are to rejoice.
It says “the brother of low degree” is to rejoice. “Now, preacher, I can certainly understand how the rich believer can rejoice, because after all, he is rich! It’s easy to rejoice when you have everything you need, but how can the poor believer be expected to rejoice,” you ask?
The poor believer may not have much money, but he should rejoice because God has given him “true” riches which cannot be taken away. Riches often bring more heartache and trouble than you realize. Therefore, “the brother of low degree” is to be thankful for the things he has which money cannot buy!
So, no matter which place you find yourself, today (poor or rich), if you are a child of God, you have a reason to rejoice!