Monday, October 7, 2013

Playing Favorites by Martin Wiles

“They’re just not our kind of people.” I’m not sure whether I actually heard it or just felt the strong vibes. Either way, the result was the same.

A young lady in the first church I pastored decided to begin a van ministry for children in the community who didn’t attend church. She found more than anyone ever imagined. Trouble was these kids weren’t “church kids.” They came from dysfunctional families, took hyperactivity medicine, and didn’t know church behavior. What’s more, their parents didn’t show up to make them behave, and no one in the church wanted to babysit. But had they been “our kids” things would have been different.

The early church also faced the temptation to play favorites. And James, one of the early church leaders, had some tongue lashing advice for them: If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives (James 2:3-4 NLT)?

But the Bible’s message—regardless of what others have taught or thought, is that we all stand on level ground before God. None worse. None better. And the level ground is that we’re sinners in need of God’s grace. Some worse. Some better. But all in need of a transformation.

I’ve discovered I can’t impress God with my actions; however, I can please him through obedience. I’m no better than anyone else; nor is anyone superior to me. I—like every other child of God, am a product of his grace. And since God doesn’t play favorites, there’s no excuse for me to either. I must love everyone…period.

Let God deal with any tendencies you have to show favoritism.

Prayer: Thank You Lord for loving me in spite of me. Cultivate in me a love for all people so that I might pattern my life after Yours.

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