Tuesday, September 20, 2011
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
After reading these verse you may be tempted to think that James is violating the command he has just given about showing preference to one person over another. Some might think, “James, you are just reversing the problem and telling them to show preference to the poor over the rich!” I don’t believe this is what is happening. So what is this all about?
James is trying to help the reader think through the reasons that their preference to rich people is illogical. He is not telling them to disrespect the rich and to not show them love. He is really just explaining that showing favoritism to rich people so that they will show favor back to you does not always work!
In this verse we see a couple of the temptations that rich people face. Rich people in James’ time was someone who had more than they need. That is us. Specifically, he says that some rich people have a temptation to “blaspheme that worthy name by which ye are called.” These people think that they don’t need God. This leads to treating God’s name improperly, or not even believing in him at all. Why? Because with what they have, they tend to believe that they are the source of all the things they have. The irony is that in doing this they despise the person that gave it to them in the first place.
James could have talked today about reasons not to show favoritism or “respect of persons” to any other group. Here’s my question for you today…Think about or even write down the type of person to whom you tend to show favoritism. Then write down several reasons why that kind of favoritism doesn’t make sense.