Growing a Faith that Works – A Study Through the Book of James – James 2 – Part 9

Honor for All

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“My dear brothers and sisters, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, never think some people are more important than others. Suppose someone comes into your church meeting wearing nice clothes and a gold ring. At the same time a poor person comes in wearing old, dirty clothes. You show special attention to the one wearing nice clothes and say, “Please, sit here in this good seat.” But you say to the poor person, “Stand over there,” or, “Sit on the floor by my feet.” What are you doing? You are making some people more important than others, and with evil thoughts you are deciding that one person is better.”  James 2:1-4 NCV

If I told you that tomorrow, you are scheduled to have lunch with President Barak Obama.  Assuming that you believed me, it is likely that you’d get ready for your meeting.  You’d brush your teeth, use mouthwash, comb your hair, put on deodorant, and find your best clothes in order to prepare for your meeting.

What if I told you that tomorrow, you are scheduled to have lunch with the homeless guy who lives down the street?  Would you spend the same time and energy to prepare for that meeting?

I think this is the point that James is making in James 2.  We’re all guilty of treating people differently depending on how we see them outwardly.  We may tend to honor those whom we think are worthy of honor.  Although we don’t want to admit it, the truth is far too often we care for people based more on their appearance than on their hearts.  1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us that man looks at outward appearances but God looks at the heart.

James turns that idea on its head and says that we are instead called to give honor to ALL.  We are called to bless and treat the poor as well as the rich.  We are called to give love and encouragement to the poor as well as the rich.  We need to see people… all people… as a treasure of God.  Whether they have money or not; whether they are rich or not; whether they are pleasant or not; whether they smell good or not… we as believers are called to see people as a treasure of God.

Holy Spirit forgive my judgmental heart.  Renew my heart to be like Yours.  Help me to recognize when I am being too judgmental and favoring those who have over those who do not.  Increase my heart to serve the poor.  Increase my heart to love the unlovely.  Increase my capacity to treat ALL people as You desire I do.  In the strong name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

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