“My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?” vs. 1
Not all was so lovey-dovey in those early Christian communities of faith as we sometimes think. James had noticed a disturbing tendency–leaders were catering to rich folks and doing all they could to make them feel at home. Special seats at worship were reserved for them, while the poor were made to stand in the rear. It may not seem like a big deal to some, we’ve gotten used to the favoritism that is shown to the rich, but for James it was a matter of faith. He questioned how people tilting toward the rich could even consider themselves Christian. It was just so antithetical to everything that Jesus had stood for. Some wonder the same thing now. The teachings of Jesus have gotten so twisted that they can scarcely be recognized. How can we even begin to think that he preached a message of financial prosperity for his followers? There’s no hint of that in the gospels at all, yet some preachers are not at all shy about making their pitch to the rich. Never has a person achieved sainthood in the eyes of the church by amassing a fortune! But countless persons are remembered and glorified because they gave their riches away and chose to live in poverty! There’s a lesson for us in that history–and faith is imperiled when we fail to learn it!
Thought for the Day: How are the poor welcomed in my congregation?