"Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.” James 1:9-11 (NLT)
This is an interesting statement here in James concerning being poor. In my study of this passage R.P. Martin says that poverty forces one, “...to humble themselves before God and to place their total dependence in Him…” In sports it is said that winning covers up a lot, and sometimes wealth can do the same in terms of our spiritual development. Poverty and the testing that come from that bring a humility and maturity in Christ that might be hard to achieve any other way.
In terms of the rich, everything we have comes from God and none of us, whether rich or poor, should take pride in what God has provided. This is can easier to do when your means is meager, but when great provision comes it is easy for that person to take credit over God. In one reading on this passage it says that to take credit for provision over God is to slander the name of Jesus. Whether rich, poor, or in the middle…we must humble ourselves and actively point all credit for our provision to Christ and Him alone.