Devotion for Monday, September 19th, 2011
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
Here we are at the start of a new week with some really practical teaching. Remember that James is speaking to churches in the first century. He is not telling them to not have faith in Jesus. He is telling them not to have faith in Jesus combined with respect of persons. This topic “respect of persons” is what we will talk about over the next couple of days. “Respect of Persons” speaks to showing favoritism to one person over another. Here James gives the example of showing preference to a rich person over a poor person. Notice that he gives very specific examples, like giving the preferable seat to the rich people at gatherings. “Respect of persons” doesn’t just happen to the rich. It happens for many reasons. Favoritism has been given because of everything from social status, economic status, race, age, or gender. What are some other ways that people show favoritism? In God’s way of looking at the world a person is not valuable because of what they possess. God loves all of mankind equally. And He calls those who love Him to love each other without reservation.
Here is your application for today. Answer these questions: How is favoritism, or “respect of persons” shown in church? in your home? at your job? at your school? How have you shown favoritism? Today, look for that person who you have overlooked and show kindness to them.