Tuesday, May 2, 2017
One thing I love to do on Sunday mornings at church, along with our designated staff members, is to personally greet those coming in to one of our worship services. I suspect that if, by God’s grace, our membership eventually multiplies in size, I may have a slightly more difficult time doing it, but I’ll try anyway. I was thinking about this topic two Sundays ago when our greeters welcomed the few that came in after the service had already started. One gentleman was the type many churches will not let in. Our greeters, however, welcomed him the same way they welcomed all the others. I was very happy to see that and I thanked God we have such people in our church staff.
Addressing this issue, James wrote: “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” (James 2:1) The Amplified Bible (AMP) says it this way: “My fellow believers, do not practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of partiality.” [toward people—show no favoritism, no prejudice, no snobbery] To be objective, we cannot forget that James offered this word of instruction to a people living in a different time and culture. To be more precise His letter was originally addressed “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.” (James 1:1) In other words, these were all new Jewish converts to Christ which were scattered to different parts of the world due to persecution. The Biblical principal set forth, nevertheless, remains the same: If God has no favorites, neither should we.
When you read the first eleven verses in Chapter two, you will see that James was more specific concerning this issue. He chided them for treating those who were dressed in fine apparel, probably the rich, with honor and respect, while those who appeared to be poor were seated in the spots of least importance. By personal experience, I know that human nature plays into this. My wife and I often have to go to HEB after Sunday morning services. When I am still in my church clothes, time and time again people seem to go out of their way to greet me and treat me with respect while on days when I’m wearing my ordinary clothes, hardly anybody says “hi” or even makes eye contact. However, the Christ in us, should be easily dominant over our old nature. When the love of God resides in our heart, it is easy to treat everybody as Christ would, regardless of who they are or what they look like. Now if someone comes to church smelling like the local landfill that might be an exception. Even so, should that ever occur, we still have an obligation to treat him or her as we think the Lord Himself would treat them. If you belong to a church where certain types are not permitted entry, it seems to me you just may be in the wrong church.
God’s word for today: (Mark 12:33) “To love God with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”