"Money is the best deoderant"....Elizabeth Taylor

"Money is the best deodorant" says Elizabeth Taylor.  It makes even the bad smell good!!!

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.  For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
James 1:9-11

At first glance, it seems a bit odd that James inserts this comment about the rich man and the poor man right after he implores us to ask God for wisdom when we are handling trials.  He's told us that our thoughts ("consider") towards trials are to be those of joy...because we can trust that God is doing a great work to develop endurance in us and that endurance will make us whole, lacking nothing.  Indeed, that is reason for joy.  Even in the midst of trials.

And we don't default to that position naturally - we need God's wisdom for that.  We have to ask Him for that perspective, for that ability to see trials like He sees them, for the grace to trust His purpose.

Got it.
But why then the comment extolling the poor man and pretty much feeling sorry for the rich man?  In this context?

Maybe lots of reasons but I think this is at least one of them.
Because when times are tough, our human tendency is to think that something we can see --- like money -- would ease the pain, solve the problem, make the trial go away.
Think about it for a minute.  Focus on a tough time you've had recently or are in right now.
Did it cross your mind that an additional influx of cash would make you feel better?
Chances are, somewhere in the midst of that problem, you at least entertained the thought that money might be a help.

And maybe, in some respects, it might have.

But James turns that thought upside down to tell us that God's economy is different.  Unlike Elizabeth Taylor, God tells us that money is not able to make a bad situation into good.  Instead, it has the potential to make it worse.  If we have don't have "enough" money to get us out of a tight spot, then we are more likely to realize the truth --- that our only hope is God.  That's what James calls "exaltation"...a high position. 
On the other hand, if we have "enough" money, James exhorts us to focus instead on the truth that, in reality, we are spiritually impoverished  -- "humiliation" and in desperate need of a Savior.

They stink.
Maybe so.  But we gotta be careful not to trust that money is gonna make 'em smell better.
It won't.

Only realizing our helplessness and clinging to God's help will.