James 2:3 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,” (CONTINUED IN THE BIBLE)
Perhaps no one is better equipped than James, the brother of Jesus, to speak not only on the condition of the poor but how we as Christians should address and treat them. James instructs us to love and pose a high regard for the poor. You can’t get it any more clear than that.
As Americans, and as Christians, we have a large tendency to blame people for their own poverty. At times this is highly conscious, and other times perhaps an inward bias as in America we are considered the land of unlimited opportunities. At times, this statement may be true but that does not allow for hard times and conditions.
Nonetheless, James does not limit or impose preconditions on possessing a high regard for all people as opposed to the rich.
Over and over again, James exhorts us to demonstrate our faith in reference to how we take action for others. James is indicative of the fact that he is not so much concerned with theology as with the obedience and people submitting to the commands of the Christ. In this case we see the kingdom is not so much as an object of thought but as an option and duty of performance. This being simply: put your money where your mouth is. That is how James explains faith: through direct and deliberate action. At times, this means people sacrifice for others. It doesn’t mean throwing a dollar into the collection plate. It means getting all. How much more so is it important to avoid favoring the rich?
By yesterday standards, most middle-class people of America would be considered the rich. In some respects, that would mean you would have to avoid you.
How do we come to grips with our responsibility in Jesus? The answer is simple. We are told to seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the rest shall be added. To denote our plus and minuses in this performance we merely have to put the balance scale to the very words of Jesus. I trust that most of us would fail to measure up to the highest standard Jesus calls us to be.
In looking down on the homeless, the forgotten, the sick, the widows, the prisoners and more… We all risk to fruits of our salvation in terms of how we treat others. The gold standard: love your neighbor as yourself is all one needs to know the difference between right and wrong.
Yet in our own time of need there is but one answer and that answer is nothing short of mercy, for in our time of crisis there is no question of merit. We know at that time we are deserving for a strong sense of survival dictates right and wrong. How much are we this way when it comes to others?
2 thoughts on “Throw the bums out!”
Preach it, Brutha!
While this verse is certainly a rich vs poor issue in context vs 1-12 are really a “Heart” issue. James is warning the early church not to show partiality or favoritism and finely dressed man compared to the ragged dressed beggar as his example.
Many have used (out of context I might add) this verse and vs. 13 (AMP) “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; but [to the one who has shown mercy] mercy triumphs [victoriously] over judgment” ran with them and forged social gospel ministries that while forsaking favoritism have also forsaken the primary mission of the church; making disciples. Mercy ministries are a worthy calling but not at the sacrifice of nor the changing of the Gospel.
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