As we progress into chapter two of James, he touches on a topic that many people (especially) parents are bad about doing.
My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4 NIV)
James is notorious for being blunt. And blunt he is here. The very first line says DON’T do it!!!!!! To be honest, that should be enough. But James knows how most people are and that they probably don’t see their actions as showing favoritism. So he gives an example. He gives a good example of how you can act different to people based on how they are dressed. I would love to say that we have advanced far beyond that in our churches. I’m sad to say that we haven’t. Notice who gets treated better in business meetings. Notice who people defer to the most. The one with wisdom or the one with the pocketbook? Usually the later.
If you can, take time and sit back and watch. Step out of the activities and watch the interactions. It might be shocking to see what believers really do.
James continues in verses 5-7.
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? (NIV)
Stop and think of your actions. This is not saying that every rich person is taking advantage of you. But during the time of James and so many other times, many of the rich get a taste of the power that comes with wealth and begin to treat those that are poorer with disdain. In the churches I’ve seen the one with the deep pockets call the shots and step on others. Is that what a believer should do? Remember that the money in the first place is not ours and we are to handle it the way He wants.
Reflect on your actions today. How do you really treat those around you? Do you treat them differently after you learn the balance of their checkbook or who they know in the capital or film industry? Are following the Lords command?