Showing Favoritism, James 2:1-13
Paul Redwine, Northside Christian Church, Sunday, July 20, 2003.
[ILLUSTRATION] a plainly dressed man who entered a church in the Netherlands took a seat near the front. A few minutes later a woman walked down the aisle, saw the stranger in the place she always sat, and curtly asked him to leave. He quietly got up and moved to a section reserved for the poor. When the meeting was over, a friend of the woman asked her if she knew the man she had ordered out of her seat. “No,” she replied. Her friend then informed her, “The man you ordered out of your seat was King Oscar of Sweden! He is here visiting the Queen.” -- Our Daily Bread, December 3, 1993
[ILLUSTRATION] A deplorable incident occurred in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. He said in his autobiography that during his student days he was interested in the Bible. Deeply touched by reading the gospels, he seriously considered becoming a convert. Christianity seemed to offer the real solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. One Sunday he went to a church to see the minister and ask for instruction on the way of salvation and other Christian doctrines. But when he entered the sanctuary, the ushers refused him a seat and suggested that he go and worship with his own people. He left and never went back. “If Christians have caste differences also,” he said to himself, “I might as well remain a Hindu.” - H.G.B. Our Daily Bread, January 19
We judge books by the cover, even though we are told not to.
[TEXT] James 2:1-13
[CENTRAL THESIS] As Christians, we are commanded to avoid showing favoritism.
Here’s how we can avoid favoritism:
I. Throw out Preconceived Notions
ILLUSTRATION -- Movie, Amos and Andrew
Church in North Carolina -- Blacks, Whites, Military, Harley riders . . . all in one church
Different backgrounds, had one purpose
II. Don’t Judge Unjustly
The Bible requires us to judge actions
We are not to judge the heart.
We should judge by proper standards
[ILLUSTRATION] There’s a wonderful story about a Chicago bank that once asked for a letter of recommendation on a young Bostonian being considered for employment. The Boston investment house
could not say enough about the young man. His father, they wrote, 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. Just for work.” Neither is God a respecter of persons but accepts those from every family, nation, and race who fear Him and work for His kingdom (Acts 10:34-35). - Kathleen Peterson
III. Follow the Greatest Commandment -- Love
Greatest Commandment: Love God
Second Greatest Commandment: love others
[ILLUSTRATION] On a dangerous sea coast where ship wrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves they went out, day or night, tirelessly searching for the lost. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little lifesaving station grew.
Some of the new members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they redecorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a sort of club. Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in the club decoration, and there was a liturgical lifesaving boat in the room where initiation took place. About this time, a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boats loaded with cold, wet, and half drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where the victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split in club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities as they were thought to be unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal life of the club. Some members insisted on lifesaving, as their primary purpose, and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did.
As the years went by, the new station experienced the same change that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown!
I believe we wouldn’t have a problem with racism in this country if we practiced love over favoritism.