“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” (James 1:9–10).
What does being rich or poor have to do with what James has been describing about handling trials? Evidently, the have-nots of the congregation were being looked down upon and even oppressed by those who had. But James will address those matters later. Why bring the groups up now?
We can put it this way: whether you wear Armani or you wear hand me downs, you have the same need for wisdom in the face of trials. When James earlier said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach” (vs. 5), the “any” and “all” of that verse relate to both rich and poor. Money does not give you a leg up for handling trials in pursuit of God's purposes.
Money can be a problem for both rich and poor. It’s a problem for the rich because wealth can blind them to their need and lull them into a false sense of security and self-sufficiency. It’s a problem for the poor not because they lack riches but because they can buy into the delusion that if they only had money everything would be okay.
James presents a level playing field and common need for the wisdom and grace of God. That posture is achieved through humility. Humility is what will drive us to ask for wisdom, and as a matter of first recourse. Solomon recognized his inadequacy to lead the people God has entrusted to him. He saw himself as a little child and saw his desperate need for wisdom from God.
As James will later say, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
“Lord, grant me grace to adopt the attitude of my Lord Jesus who humbled Himself before Your perfect will.”