My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes is. 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?
James 2: 1 – 4 [NIV]
Don’t show favouritism; don’t show partiality. That is what James wants us to understand in these words. The word he used for favouritism is one which means ‘receiving the face’ – so he is saying to us, ‘Don’t judge people by what they look like on the outside’.
God chooses people to serve him without any reference to their status. The pages of the Old Testament, for example, are populated by ordinary people who were not rich or influential. So people like Moses, David, Samuel, Ruth and Joshua all had humble origins. And the pattern is repeated in the New Testament. Jesus chose humble fishermen and hated tax collectors for his inner circle of disciples.
Our society is one in which the rich, the famous, the attractive, the powerful and the cool all have status. But not in God’s eyes. He shows no partiality. He is not interested in what people look like on the outside, than what their hearts are like. He is much more concerned with what we are than with what we have.
Timothy Keller writes,
Those who are shaped by the great reversal of the cross no longer need self-justification through money, status, career, or pride of race and class.
Lord, help me not to look down on people because they are poor, humble or marginalised. Help me to see the real person beneath.
m2o Church Rugby - St. Matthew & St. Oswald