I started teaching out of the Book of James months ago. I thought it would be easy breezy. Everybody likes the Book of James right? It’s short; it’s only five chapters, it’s practical, it’s totally life applicable, it’s stuff we know, we don’t do it but we know it, it’s easy to read, done deal.
Ha, I wish.
James, the brother of Jesus, has been stealing my lunch money since we started this study. I mean I’m on the ground yelling, “Uncle!” and yet this guy won’t stop, he won’t let me get up before he lays another blow. The Bible is good for that (2nd Timothy 3:16 & 17). What I mean is God’s Word is good for “exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.”
This past Sunday night we read James 2:1-4, “show no partiality.” Don’t judge, don’t make distinctions among yourselves if you do you need to reconcile the evil thoughts bouncing around in your head. Ouch, I told you this guy is relentless.
James goes on to give us a hypothetical situation - two non-believers come into a church service, one guy is a banker the other guy is poor and he smells bad. We can’t show preference by seating the banker in the front row and then tell the homeless man to sit on the floor in the back. All I could think of is: Do we ever graduate high school? Does peer pressure ever go away? Do we ever stop wanting to be in the cool club?
The church isn’t for the most part very good at NOT showing partiality. In Acts 2:44 they were very good at selling their stuff and giving the proceeds to all that had a need. High five to them! But then in Acts 6, we see prejudice against the widows with the wrong DNA - they were being shorted at the church food pantry. Makes me want to throw up.
Jesus told us, “As I have loved you, … love one another (John 13:34).” Jesus taught us love is not a feeling it is an action, there needs to something that supports it, something tangible. They say people are not looking for a friendly church they are looking for a friend - friendship without distinction to sexual orientation, owning a "Make America Great" bumper sticker or if they are a Dr. Ford supporter. He told me to tell you that.
Ken Ansell currently serves as a pastor and local missionary in small, rural Texas community. He plays lots of tennis and fly fishes when he can. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.