The Rich, The Poor & Favoritism (James 2:1-13)

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

- James 2:1-13
As we move into chapter 2 of the Book of James we have been examining our reactions to different tests in our Christian lives.

The first test was how you respond to trials (James 1:2-11)
That will show you whether your faith is real.

The second test was how you respond to temptation (James 1:12-15)
that too will show you whether your faith is real.

The third test was how you respond to frustrating situations. (James 1:19-21)

The fourth test was how you react to the Word of God (James 1:22-27)
that too will reveal the genuineness of your faith.

And here is the fifth test, are you partial?

What is your reaction to the poor and needy? Do you show favoritism or distinctions among people? Every trial that comes in your life is a test.

This next test that we face in our lives is much more subtle. It is not something overt like pornography or anger or pride. Do we show partiality to those in authority or influence? When we visit larger churches, how eager are we to go and talk to the popular speaker or Christian celebrity? In Jesus ministry, he spent time with all sorts of people. He ministered to everyone from tax collectors, to Pharisees, to the sick and to the poor. However we see from reading the Gospels that Jesus was not eager to go and meet with a long list of “important” and influential people. Jesus didn’t preach to the rich in order to get a large offering or to gain influence. He ministered to all people. At one point in Jesus ministry, Jesus even offends his own family by calling those that were around Him and following Him His “True” mother, brothers, sisters and family.

Who is Paul and who is Apollos?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

- 1 Corinthians 3:5

What is unfortunate in the church today is that so much preferential treatment is given the rich and popular. Often times the rich in the church have a higher place of honor in the church because of what they bring into the church.The sad reality is that in many churches, if a millionaire walked into the church, someone may notify the pastor and the pastor would make a point to meet and greet that rich person, simply based on their riches. That is wrong. This attention is not based on any merit, but simply the fact that they have something that could bless the church. The Bible puts an interesting emphasis on the poor.

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

- James 2:5

How do we treat those who are poor? When we see people to minister to, do we minister to the beautiful, rich and people of stature and renown? Now there is a seemingly contradictory statement in the book of Galatians in chapter 6 verse 10

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

- Galatians 6:10

Post a comment