Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
James is writing in verse 9 to the poor in the church. His instruction is simply, “Rejoice.” James writes to rejoice—when exalted: This would be referring back to the “divers temptations” and the “trying of your faith”. While “exalted” doesn’t really suit this line of thought, it is believed that James is leaning this way as the context of the passage lends to it. The idea is that for the poor, even a trial gives a sense of worth. The other line of thought would be the literal “exalted”. This would leave the only application as something heavenly or in eternity.
Earthly exaltation would surely lead to pride.
However, while poor, notice James still writes “brother”. This brings home the sense of True Value this text shows. Christianity brings to the poor a new sense of value. They are lifted out of the value-less-ness in which they live into a new sense of worth and importance.
They learn that they matter in the church. In the early church, there were no class distinctions. It was not uncommon for a church to contain both the master and the servant in the same congregation. Also, it has also been noted that at times, the “Pastor” or the one who would share the letter and conduct the service would be the servant. While the very same servant’s master would be nothing more within the church than a faithful member. In the church the social distinctions that divide the world are unimportant.
No one is more important than any other.
They learn that they matter in the world. We believe that each Christian, no matter who…has a task God wants them to do. As long as God leaves us in the world…we have a purpose. No one is useless; everyone is of use to God. Even someone confined to their home can still send up powerful and useful prayers. They learn that they matter to God. “Call no man worthless for whom Christ died.” Everyone is dear to God.
Pastor Chance Strickland
Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN