Clarksville, TN – Have you ever met someone “important”, but didn’t know they were important until later and you wished you could have said something smarter, or been more pleasing in your tone of voice, or more positive in your attitude?
I used to have an uncanny knack for meeting pastors under the worst conditions.I would always say something inappropriate and embarrass myself.
If I had known who they were from the jump, I would have behaved differently. But why do we do that?
Shouldn’t we treat everyone with the same respect?
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 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,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? (James 2:1-5 NIV)
There’s a man that comes into the shop regularly and asks me for donations. He has been doing it for years. I have never been able to verify the legitimacy of his charity, but I have made a few small monetary donations (via check) to him.
If I am honest, I find him to be off-putting. He isn’t terribly gracious, and he lingers until I give in. He has no “status”, he seems poor, and I have bought vegetables from him (that I didn’t need) just to be nice.
I tell you all this about this man to tell you something bigger, I don’t know who this man is. I mean, I know his name, but I don’t know who he is to God. He is a man that many would dismiss, and I will admit that hiding in my office has been tempting at times, but I keep thinking to myself, he might be annoying to me, but to God, he might be a very big deal.
It’s easy to be nice to the guy who is a Senator, or to be on our best behavior on a job interview. But how we treat the guy or girl who supposedly can’t do anything for us is what really matters.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to see if you are “showing favoritism” based on the wrong criteria:
- Are you spending time with or talking to someone you don’t really care for because they can do something for you?
- Has someone been seeking out your time and friendship but you haven’t really given them the time of day because it doesn’t seem like an advantageous friendship (they are not important enough)?
- Do you judge someone’s worth based on their job, their home, their position in the community, or their influence over others?
If you said yes to any of these questions, then you (like myself) need to take some time to pray over your intentions with others.
In the process of showing favor those who can serve us, who are important, and who have already “made it” we have lowered ourselves, not to the level of a poor man, but to the level of the enemy who would love nothing more than for us to forget our purpose:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
If Jesus did not have an agenda for rubbing elbows, hobnobbing, and social climbing, why do we?