Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. – James 1: 9-11
Tonight, fans of a certain football team (Tampa Bay at this writing) are boasting of their success in the Super Bowl. On a personal level, I knew a man who measured his success in life by the amount of money he has acquired over the years and he did boast about it often. I know some who are defined by their career or their family, So, where do you find your sense of identity?
In the passage above James gives us a little dose of reality. Life is brief and nothing lasts forever so we should consider the words of the LORD recorded by Jeremiah –
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9: 23-24a)
“…God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:27-30).
Whether we are rich or poor, wise or foolish, the only thing worth boasting about is knowing and understanding God. Anything else comes up short.