James 2: thoughts… part 1

Read James 2

Wimbledon started June 25… we all like to watch… me and spouse… kids… all tennis fans…

Watching… I noticed the commentators mention celebrities sitting in the players boxes… One celebrity familiar to me… made my flesh react with an unexpected excitement… What is he doing in her box? What would it be like to be someone who attracts such personalities…? Thoughts that surprised me…

Of course… in addition to the celebrities being pointed out in the crowd, at Wimbledon there is the Royal Box… a special section for the elite persons… royalty… good seats with retractable shade to keep the sun off…

My study of James brought to mind…

My brothers, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For example, a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

James 2:1-4
HCSB

Favoritism… a worldly concept… our culture rampant with it… our churches… surely not immune…

With all the celebrities being looked with favor on at Wimbledon… I thought… What if one walked into my church… my congregation… how would I act? I had been surprised at my reaction to the one in the players box… what if I came face to face… in an assembly of Believers…?

…do not show favoritism…

To make this Word flesh… we need to treat everyone we encounter in church as a celebrity whom we adore… or with the same contained politeness bordering on indifference we treat the ordinary person we encounter in church…

…do not show favoritism…

Do we temper our greetings of the preferred or ramp up enthusiasm for the veritable stranger…?

The key is found in…

…as you hold on to the faith
in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ
Each of us Believers hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord…

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:3

In our glorious Lord… our real life is now hidden with Christ in God… every Believer is glorious… to be treated with the same enthusiasm… honor… respect… as any worldly celebrity… to discriminate is to deny the glory of Christ… and in Christ we are one body… therefore any discrimination is toward self… clearly an evil judgment…

CS Lewis, in The Weight of Glory, said…

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe, and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.

Everyone created in the image of God… His breath breathed into them… has an eternal destination… As His representatives… we are to treat ALL with the same respect… honor… love… there are no ordinary people…

My brothers and sisters,
believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ
must not show favoritism.
James 2:1
NIV
(emphasis mine)

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