Friday, July 17
Scripture: Isaiah 32-35, James 2
James 2:1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?
James says that showing favoritism is wrong, particularly showing favoritism to the rich over the poor. The motivation for this favoritism is selfish. It’s favoring those who can benefit me, who can do something for me, over those who can’t.
By nature we are selfish. By nature we favor those who can benefit us. So James’ instruction is counter-intuitive, like most of Jesus’ teaching.
I remember when this idea first struck me. I was just forming a friendship with the owner of a ski shop—and I had just taken up skiing. I read these verses and they challenged me. What was my motivation in this friendship? I recognized my own selfishness.
Jesus invested in people whether they were able to benefit him or not—and most were not. He hung out with people whose reputations would damage his, not benefit him. He fed the hungry regardless of their social or economic standing. He healed the sick whether it was an outcast or an official. He spoke truth equally to Nicodemus (an influential authority in John 3) or the woman at the well (a Samaritan outcast in John 4).
We’re called to love and serve like Jesus did—unselfishly, without favoritism.
Prayer: Lord, help me to see people like You do and to treat each person with dignity and grace, not motivated by my own selfishness.