Summary: Looking at favouritism in the world and in the church and seeing it for what it is...a sin!
[ILLUSTRATION] There’s a story about a Chicago bank that once asked for a letter of recommendation on a young Bostonian being considered for employment at the bank.
They wrote the Boston investment house where he had worked and they could not say enough about the young man.
They wrote saying: His father, was a Cabot; his mother was a Lowed. Further back was a happy blend of Saltonstalls, Peabodys, and other of Boston’s first families. His recommendation was given without hesitation.
Several days later, the Chicago bank sent a note saying the information supplied was altogether inadequate. It read: “We are not contemplating using the young man for breeding purposes, we are hiring a banker.” (Kathleen Peterson – Net Bible) Acts 10:34-35
Today we are going to look at favouritism. God does not care what family we come from, how much money we have or what we have accomplished. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 says: For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
So if God is not a respecter of persons, why so often are the people who are called by His name? This morning we are in our 4th sermon on the book of James and James is looking at favouritism. James writes in chapter 2:1-13:
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 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. 3 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,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 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? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you?
Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
I. Favouritism defined
I think we all like to think we are open minded and non-partial. However, I think we all see evidence in our society and even in the church of favouritism. We would like to think in the church we don’t look at the externals of a person, but I know it happens and in some churches more than others. I am thankful that this is a welcoming church, but we should not become complacent in that and always strive to do better.
This past week C.T.V. News Edmonton did a story on an aboriginal man named Gary who is a community outreach in the city of Edmonton agency who assists the homeless.
Gary had gone to a city mall for lunch on Sunday and was eating in the food court when he was approached by two security guards. They told him he looked like someone they had banned from the mall and started questioning him. He recorded the conversation on his phone.
Gary had heard of many of his clients that had the same thing happen to them and now it was happening to him…a social worker. After arguing with Gary and not letting him finish they told him to get out and that he was banned for 6 months. All based on the idea that Gary looked like someone who was banned.
Well the mayor of Edmonton got a hold of this and was upset that Gary was discriminated because of who or what he looked like. The mayor of Edmonton approached mall officials with the evidence and said “What”? The Mayor started making waves and the mall officials are feeling it.