Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Sobering Reading on Wealth

It’s a long weekend, Labor Day weekend, and Pensacola awakes to rain-sodden streets and forecasts of a rain soggy three day weekend (bad for hotels and restaurants at the beach who hope for a sell-out Labor Day) and high surf from off-shore storms.

The reading for today from James is equally gloomy. I always think of “Insh’allah” when I read it, because it probably has an equivalent somewhere in the Quran, and my Muslim friends say “Insh’allah” (As God wills, or If God wills it) when they state a planned event.

While we are not rich, we have a large homeless population in Pensacola, sleeping out under the skies in hidden camps, scrounging for food, often with a dog, seeking handouts, seeking scraps. They are a constant reminder, to me, of how comfortable we are, and how comfort wars with the religious spirit. When we are too comfortable, we often fail to keep our focus on God, and are distracted by our toys and interests.

(I told you this would be gloomy.)

On the other hand, I wonder how spiritual I would be if I were hungry, worried about getting enough to eat, worried about my safety sleeping out in one of the camps. I wonder if their community looks after one another, or if it is a brutal and chaotic life. I wonder how you can keep your mind on things of the spirit when the search for basic necessities takes up a large part of your life.

James 4:13-5:6

13 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ 14Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’ 16As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.

5Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. 2Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure* for the last days. 4Listen! The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

5You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts on a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.

September 2, 2011 - Posted by | Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Florida, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Spiritual, Values


  1. Intlxpatr :

    On the gloomy rainy day , we really can do with some clouds and rain right now , hoping it will be a soft and a blessed rain .

    Now lets attempt a bit of comparative study on religion ;

    On God’s willing , in the Quran it says (وَلا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَلِكَ غَداً(23) إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ )
    God is telling Prophet Muhammad PBUH “Not to say I will do this thing tomorrow ,except with the will of God. Chapter 15 ,Surrat الكهف The Cave , v.23

    On focusing on getting close to Allah , it happens when one is really Afraid of things that is beyond his control that threaten one’s life , like during war or invasions ( Iraqi Invasion of kuwait 1990 ??? ),but when one is hungry , people tend to focus on finding food unless they are reminded .

    On Gold and wealth . the Holy Quran states this threat

    والذين يكنزون الذهب والفضة ولا ينفقونها في سبيل الله فبشرهم بعذاب أليم، يوم يحمى عليها في نار جهنم فتكوى بها جباههم وجنوبهم وظهورهم هذا ماكنزتم لأنفسكم فذوقوا ما كنتم تكنزون “. التوبة/ 34 :35 .

    For those who store Gold and Silver for treasure and they don’t spend it in the way of Allah , foretell them of painful torture , when it (Gold and Silver) is heated in the fires of hell then they ( the treasurers) are branded with it on their foreheads , sides and backs , This is what you have treasured for yourselves ,so taste what you have stored . Chapter 3 , Surrat التوبة Repentance .v.34 ,35

    But not to despair ,here is what happens when you spend your money rightly ;
    (الذين ينفقون أموالهم بالليل والنهار سرا وعلانية فلهم أجرهم عند ربهم ولا خوف عليهم ولا هم يحزنون)

    Translation , for those who spend their money night and day , in secret and in public they will have their reward with Allah , and they shall not have fear nor have sorrow. Chapter 3 , البقرة , The Cow , V.274

    So look for the silver lining in every cloud .

    Have a great day

    Off with my Turbine

    Comment by daggero | September 3, 2011 | Reply

  2. Those verses are a great help, Daggero, and I am once again amazed at how closely many of our scriptures parallel. The quote on “insh’allah” is almost identical to the verse from James.

    When I think of putting too much value on material wealth, I think ‘what if in the afterlife you have to carry it all on your back?’ like a turtle. It helps me keep things in perspective.

    Off with your turbine? Now there’s an image, LOL! I am betting you meant turban, as in Ayatollah Daggero, is that right?

    Comment by intlxpatr | September 3, 2011 | Reply

  3. A lot of you mentioned rings a bell and Daggero beat me to it. You’d be surprised how close all the scriptures are. Its one of the reasons I love reading about comparative religion. Thanks for the great post.

    Comment by Bader | September 4, 2011 | Reply

  4. I remember how surprised I was to know that most of the Jewish and Christian prophets are also prophets in Islam, Bader. We all have a lot to learn about one another and our religions. 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | September 4, 2011 | Reply

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