“But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court?” vs. 6
James couldn’t believe what he was seeing in the early Christian community. From his perspective the leaders were showing a definite preference for the rich…they were the ones who were welcomed effusively and given preferred seating. He had seen first hand how the poor behaved…they didn’t have fine clothes or gold rings but they were rich in faith. He questioned whether those who showed favoritism to the wealthy even believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. What James saw has continued to plague the witness of the church through the centuries and it’s particularly troublesome in our country with its emphasis on prosperity and material gain. Some say that our whole society is geared to favor the rich and that the poor have a hard time feeling at home in many of our congregations. Of course there are worship centers that spring up in the poorer sections of our cities…storefront churches that welcome the homeless without question. It may be that here is where the message of Jesus Christ is proclaimed and heard most clearly! This is an issue for all followers of Jesus to wrestle with. The trappings and the excesses of wealth are a great temptation…and they can easily threaten our faithfulness to the gospel.
Thought for the Day: How are the poor honored in your community?