Here are my thoughts, insights, and time studying Chapter Two.
Favoritism….I think to some degree we all struggle with this. In my opinion….the American church has a HUGE problem with this. The “American Church” has become so much like a business that it seeks out the elite of our communities to sit in the pews of their buildings. I understand that it takes money to run a church. We have to pay for the mortgage, the light bill, the water bill. We need money to build up the benevolence fund, the youth ministry, the children’s ministry. We need money to stock up the food pantry and so forth and so on. However, at what expense are we to bring money into the church?
- What I have read about seating in the synagogues and assembly halls in bible times is that there were few benches set up. Most of the congregation sat cross-legged on the floor. There were benches along the walls and maybe one in the front of the congregation. The ones who sat on the benches were usually the elite…these seats were the ones the Pharisees wanted most.
Although in most of our churches, seating is not a problem or issue. However, I think we still struggle with favoritism in the 21st Century church.
My friend Michael, is the prime example of not showing favoritism. Every time the church doors are open, a homeless man is there. This man claims to be one of the founders of the church and has been there long before any of us have been there. This homeless man is an alcoholic and he lives under a bridge near our church. He stinks, he has several missing teeth, his clothes are very worn out, and his hands are tattered with blackened nails. However, he is there with my friend Michael in the morning greeting people and opening the doors for them. I have observed Michael talk to this man like he was just a regular ol’ guy. I pray for a heart like my friend Michael…a heart that treats everyone the same whether they are wearing Armani or Rags!
- Throughout scripture we find God being concerned with the poor…so much so that he put the poor or the non-elite in the genealogy of His own Son!
- Christ was raised in a city considered to be of no good.
- Where Christ ministered was to be considered contemptuous by Israel’s leaders.
The world caters to the rich and elite….obviously, from what James was writing, it has been around for a while!
We must not show favoritism anymore!!
- This “Royal Law” is Christ’s sovereign law…Christ said that the law of Moses can be summed up as this…love God and love others.
- When we show favoritism…we are breaking that royal law.
I really love verses 12-13…
We need to speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom…that law is summed up in Christ. When we show mercy to others we will be shown mercy. We shouldn’t judge others without first putting on the lens of mercy. If it wasn’t for Christ’s mercy in our own lives…we too may have ended up like those who are needy and poor!
Mercy triumphs over judgement!!
- I love when the bible uses the word…IF
- IF someone claims to have faith…then it will show by what he does.
- Faith alone just doesn’t work….our actions must accompany it!
- If we have faith that God is going to provide a job for us…do we sit at home and wait for it to knock on our door? No…we need to get out there and knock on every door until God opens one.
Abraham was considered righteous by what he did….
Rahab was considered righteous by what she did…
It is our actions that will speak of our faith…our actions will show others where our faith lies.
James used the parallel of a dead person being without a spirit to show the importance of deeds making our faith living!! If a person dies…their spirit is no longer within them. If there is no deeds following our faith…then our faith is not alive!
We must put feet on our faith and walk it out!!