6 Questions to Ask Your Wallet

6 Questions to Ask Your Wallet


In James 5, James paints a pretty bleak picture of the rich oppressors. They denied others what they owed them, indulged themselves, and harmed those they could have helped. While James was not describing wealthy Christians, it’s still worthwhile for us to ask hard questions about our money to make sure, as Christians, we’re living with financial integrity.

Matthew 6:24 reminds us that money can be a dangerous competitor for our heart, so we must take an honest account of how we give, spend, and save. Craig asked us to wrestle with this question: “If I were accused of being the wicked rich James is talking about, would my bank statement be evidence for the prosecution or the defense?”

Here are some follow-up questions to help us figure that out:

1 // What do I dream about financially, buying more for myself or for more opportunities to be generous?

2 // Do I ask God what he wants me to do with 100% of my income and not only the portion I’ve set aside to give to the church?

3 // Do I primarily use my money to make myself more comfortable or to further God’s mission to the world?

4 // As my income has increased, have I increased my giving year after year and become more generous than I was before?

5 // Do I ask God to increase my income or to increase my generosity?

6 // Does the amount that I’m giving require me to trust and depend on God more?

What is Wisdom?

What is Wisdom?


Wisdom isn’t just a series of sage sayings. It’s not always gained with gray hairs and it’s not only achieved the hard way—by making the wrong decision. It’s not even the same thing as knowledge.

Wisdom is “applied knowledge.” If knowledge is the invisible ideas in your head, then wisdom is the visible actions produced by putting that knowledge to work in your day to day life—with your kids, spouse, co-workers, and neighbors. You can’t just read more books to become wise. Wisdom is displayed by one’s deeds.

James agrees. Concerning wisdom he wrote,

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom…But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:13, 17)

Let’s unpack those qualities to see what they look like:

1. Pure: Free from the world’s system of valuing others for what they can do for you

2. Peace-loving: Values peace even when it’s personally costly.

3. Considerate: Chooses not to remember or return mistreatment.

4. Submissive: Changes its mind when the evidence requires it.

5. Full of mercy and good fruit: Quick to bless others whether they deserve it or not.

6. Impartial: Uses God’s standards to judge value, even if it’s personally costly.

7. Sincere: Has no hidden motives.

Enacting wisdom isn’t just a good idea in particular situations. It actually displays and determines who we are and become. N.T. Wright, in his book “After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters,” argues that wise actions have a culminating effecting, stating, “Virtue is what happens when habitual choices have been wise.” Begin building your a character of virtue for tomorrow by making wise choices today.

20 Truths About Words

20 Truths About Words


The book of James in your Bible was originally a letter, but its content and topics also display characteristics of Jewish wisdom literature, like the book of Proverbs. The topic of speech wasn’t only a favorite of James, but also of the writers of Proverbs. They both emphasize the power of words, to give life or bring death, to heal or to destroy, and to show oneself as wise and righteous or foolish and wicked.

As we consider James’ warnings in chapter 3 about words, Proverbs about speech can teach us some additional truths that James also believed about speech:


1 // The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. (Proverbs 10:11)

2 // Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. (Proverbs 10:19)

3 // The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense. (Proverbs 10:21)

4 // From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced. (Proverbs 10:31)

5 // Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue. (Proverbs 11:12)

6 // Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk, and so the innocent escape trouble. (Proverbs 12:13)

7 // The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)

8 // Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25)

9 // Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)

10 // A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them. (Proverbs 14:3)

11 // A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

12 // The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (Proverbs 15:2)

13 // The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4)

14 // A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23)

15 // The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight. (Proverbs 15:26)

16 // The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:21)

17 // Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)

18 // Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. (Proverbs 17:28)

19 // The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)

20 // Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. (Proverbs 21:23)

4 Ways to Care for Those in Need

4 Ways to Care for Those in Need


James reminds us that God has a heart for the poor and the outcast. This isn’t new. God has always unexpectedly chosen those who the world hasn’t esteemed—like Rahab the prostitute or Mary, the mother of Jesus, whom he places in Jesus’ lineage.

God is not off-put by others’ needs and as people representing him, neither should we. But day to day, it’s hard to know how to best respond to those in need in our community. You may be in a hurry or worry that giving money to someone directly won’t best benefit them. However, we can’t let those fears or discomforts dictate our priorities. Instead, God’s priorities to care for the poor should become a priority for us, too.

Here are some things you can do that show that you care for the poor and homeless in our community:

Be empathetic.

An urban ministry leader once asked me, “What point would you have to get to before you would stand on the street and hold a sign?” The answer is a pretty desperate and painful place. Sure, we all make choices that have consequences, but we also want people to help understand us and our stories—not just make assumptions about us based on our current circumstances. Believe the best and show compassion because it’s only by God’s grace any of us experience any good in this world.

Say “Hello.”

Most people who are homeless are often ignored, as people avert their eyes or rush past them. It’s a small but powerful thing just to make eye contact and say “hello.” No, it doesn’t change their current circumstances, but it shows them that they’re seen and still part of our community.

Share resources

In the winter, pack bags of gloves, hats, and chapstick to hand out to people you may drive past. In the summer, keep water and snacks handy in your car to give to someone standing out in the sun. Being prepared with these things shows that you took time to consider the needs of others and took action to do something to meet them. You can also share information about community resources, like the Life Center, to help individuals get connected with those who can offer even more help.

Support local partners

Mission Hills intentionally partners with local organizations who meet practical needs, attempt to fight systematic poverty, and share the hope of Jesus in our area. The Life Center feeds hundreds of low-income individuals and families in Littleton each week through their Food Bank. Open Door Ministries serves individuals and families in the Denver metro area through providing long-term housing, job skill training, quality preschool and childcare services at low cost, and more. Denver Rescue Mission provides emergency housing, meals, and long-term housing to those in Denver experiencing homelessness. By supporting these organizations with your time or your money, you help to serve those in our community receive help and hope from people who care and tangibly share the love of Jesus.