Thursday, January 16, 2014

Playing Favorites by Martin Wiles

He converged on the church’s front steps and watched as parishioner after parishioner passed him by without as much as a “Good morning” or “Can we help you?”

He was new in town. As one of the more prominent religious facilities in town, he hoped this church would show him acceptance and support. No offers were made. Perhaps it was his appearance or the fact that his tattered clothes didn’t parade designer names.

Inside, the members gathered to welcome their new pastor, but he was nowhere to be found. Actually, he was. Just not in the corner they scrutinized. He wasn’t on the front pew or the podium. Rather, he was the man on the front steps no one spoke to or bothered to help. 

When he finally made his way to the sacred desk, no sermon was necessary. His message had already been preached—and the congregants knew it. There was nothing to say but a prayer of dismissal so all who had played favorites could return home and ponder his unspoken discourse. 

Even the churches of the first century were guilty of playing favorites. But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? (James 2:6 NLT)

I too have experienced favoritism. As a child when my build rendered me undesirable for athletic teams—whether at school or in someone’s backyard. And unfortunately, I’ve seen more than my share of it in churches. Members ecstatic when a wealthy or influential person joined the ranks but snobbish when one apparently lacking in talents or wealth attempted to connect.  

Playing favorites reveals my hypocrisy by exposing the fact that I’ve forgotten all people are created in God’s image and are important to him. He loves and cares for them, and I should too.  Are you guilty of playing favorites?

Prayer: Merciful Father, help us see all people as you view them.

Martin N MichelleHelp spread the encouragement by sharing this site with a friend.


  1. A powerful message with no words! Thank you for sharing this story to challenge our thinking and behaviour.

  2. WOW! Two posts today about the same topic! God knows what we need to hear! Last night at church, we heard about a new class being formed called New Seekers. Basically, WE are being called to go to the byways and highways and find Seekers and bring them in!! The poor, the smelly, the addicted, the down trodden and the abused are on our radar for this mission. Thank you for the encouragement! God knew I needed to read this right NOW!!