James – Wednesday, March 18
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? 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? If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
A friend of mine recently told me that once, while staffing a hiker’s camp for prestigious donors of a prominent non-profit organization, the staff was purposely not told details regarding the participants.
They were not told what companies they owned, where they lived, or given any information which might have intimidated them as camp leaders. As a result, the staff was able to treat the big money supporters equally without favoritism. They were all on equal footing.
That’s the idea behind James 2:1-10. Everyone in the Body of Christ is equal, and every single person that comes into our assemblies is the same. The wealthy should not make others feel as if they should receive preferential treatment, and those with less should not be made to feel that they are second-class citizens of the Kingdom. To do so is to dishonor them. Their honor is important to God.
Besides that, the wealthy are those who oppress the poor. Apparently James’ readers were poor themselves, because James cites their own experiences of oppression as his example.
Our law is the royal law: the law of love. It’s the law of kings (royalty), especially King Jesus. Failure to keep this command of love—or any other of God’s commandments—makes us guilty of breaking the whole law. Therefore, we should not allow ourselves to be guilty of the respect of persons.
Daily Devotional Book • James Application Questions
1. How do you view or evaluate those that come into your church? How does a person’s clothing or kind of car he drives influence the way you treat him?
2. What did this section of Scripture say to you, personally? How will this teaching be applied to your life?