So, the first issue James seems to have with the rich people he condemns is that they're sitting on their money, not using it productively. Their gold and silver are corroding with disuse.
Now, I'm going to tread in some dangerous territory here, because I am SO not a financial or economic expert. But I'm also not a dummy, and there are a few things about money that are hard to deny. One is that people with a lot of it don't hide it in their mattresses, or use it to "line their pockets with". They invest it. And money that is invested is being used to grow someone else's business, supporting someone else's family.
Another thing I know: when rich folks spend their money on some luxury like, say, an in-ground heated pool, somebody out there is selling them that pool. Somebody is getting paid to install that pool and probably to maintain it. I know "trickle-down economics" is the worst of curse words in some circles -- and as I said, I'm not even going to pretend to be any economics expert -- but let's at least admit that the vast majority of wealthy people are NOT corrupt and their money is not sitting dormant. Somebody, somewhere, is using that money to live.
But getting beyond the national scope of the question (which really is above my pay-grade), I'm more concerned with my own money. Our savings. Are we "hoarding money in the last days"? Hoarding is an ugly word. What constitutes the difference between wise saving and sinful hoarding? Maybe I should think about that more, but off the top of my head, hoarding has connotations of obscene excess and selfish motive.
How much money is too much money to have? Yeesh, that's an impossible question to answer. Personally, I've always been of a mindset that you can't ever have too much money in savings because you have no idea what financial needs are in your future. (My father's twenty-one year battle with Alzheimer's solidified that conviction in my mind.) Saving money is wise. Maybe one of you would like to weigh in on that question of how much is too much, but I'm going to move on to . . . what's happening to that money while it's in savings? Is our wealth "rotting", our "gold and silver corroding"? Is it sitting, wastefully unproductive, or is it being used to manifest good?
I'll be perfectly frank -- my husband is the financial expert in our family, and he knows better than I do how our money is invested. And maybe I should pay more attention to that.
But for six or seven years, our family sponsored (in my eldest's name) a girl in Indonesia through World Vision. A couple months ago, we got notice that our sponsorship was going to be terminated; I called World Vision asking them what-the-heck. They said that the community Jelita lived in had come to the point now of being fully self-sufficient and did not need financial support any longer.
Fully self-sufficient -- the whole community! Now, THAT was satisfying! That thirty dollars a month was well-spent. Makes me want to sponsor a few more kids this time around. Makes me want to put more of my money in local efforts, where I can personally see the good coming of it. Where I have concrete evidence, in front of my own eyes, that my "wealth" is not rotting, but is being multiplied like the loaves and fishes to be a blessing.