Thursday, September 17, 2015

What's My Motive (James Two Verses at a Time x2)


We are all on a journey and on that journey we need people.  People who can help us along that journey.  We network which can be a great thing.  It helps people, organizations, and companies get things done.   Networking connects people with other people.  It is valuable in tough situations.  It helps people get things accomplished in a more expedient way.   The trouble is when we look at people for what they can do for us and not at the people themselves.  James talks about this very thing in the first four verses of chapter two.  

It has been awhile since I have blogged, and even longer since I have written about James.  I would like to blame it all on my travels, getting kids settled, and moving, but I can't.  The main reason is that I have been stuck on these verses.   How do they apply to me?  What can I say about them?   So especially today, I would love for you to add your thoughts in the comments on what God is saying to you through these four verses.  

James 2:1-4 (NLT) 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?  For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes.  If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, -"You stand over there, or else sit on the floor"-well, doesn't this discrimination show that your judgements are guided by evil motives?

My Dear Brothers and Sisters

James uses this phrase or one like a lot.  It is like he is saying, "Hey guys, listen up!! I think this is important. "  He uses it when....
  • He wants us to know that troubles are an opportunity for great joy.  (1:2)
  • He reminds us not to be mislead because perfect gifts come from God not our own desires that give birth to sin and death.  (1:14-17)
  • He want us to understand that we must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and and slow to get angry. (1:19)
He begins chapter two with these same words followed by a question.  "How can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?"   James' example is favoring the rich over over the poor, but maybe our problem isn't rich over the poor.  Maybe it is an issue of one color over another or one nationality over the other.  Maybe it is an issue of political party or denomination.  Maybe it is just because I don't understand the person because they are different than me so I sit with the people who are more like me.  How can I get past the surface and see the person as God sees them? 

No Answers Just Questions

I don't have any answers or great example on how not to show favoritism.  These verses do have me praying about how I show favoritism in my daily life.  They have me questioning my motives as I engage with and work with people.  I am finding that sometimes when I get past the quirks or things that are different about someone else that I am blessed with learning something new.  Often I find that person is a gift that I would have missed out on.  I think that is why James used the example of the rich and poor.  The poor really had something to offer.  It wasn't money.  It was something much more important-their faith.  (Oops, I am getting into verse 5) When God sends people my way, I want to be ready and available.  I want to love them and see the as God sees them.  It is easier said than done as I encounter beggars or people who want something from me that I can't give.   For others, it might be  refugees at their doorstep or border.  Others might live in a city filled with racial tension. 

 May I see as Jesus sees.  May I love and reach out even when it is hard.  It is an issue of faith and one I can't ignore.

What are your thoughts?  




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