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Sunday: The Man in Gold — 19 Comments

  1. We normally do exactly what James is exhorting us against. We should treat everybody with equal dignity especially in spiritual gatherings. God treats with equality because in His eyes we are the same man that He created. We are equally a fallen generation that needs the grace of God regardless of our social status.

    • I feel we should go one step further in the way we treat one another. I believe that not only in the church but outside as well at work, out in the community, there are going to be people who we will tend to give the preferred seat and also, people we will send in the corner or to sit on the floor. How we treat one another outside of the church is also very important.

      • I agree. It may be even more important to be unbiased, non-judgemental, caring outside the church, as then we are witnessing 'clearer' than the 'expected' comportment within our church members. Your relationship with co-workers, friends, and family should mirror our relationship with God: God-fearing, respectful, loving, merciful and gracious!

  2. Quoted from the lesson – “Any large gift to public or religious projects obligated the receiver to reciprocate to the giver in some way. Kindness was repaid with loyalty and generosity with public appreciation. The few upper-class people who attended Christian services expected privileged treatment.” - This is supposed to be a description of a condition in the first century, but it seems uncomfortably familiar.

    The custom of looking out for the rich or accomplished or ‘big timers’ for special greeting and praise, if not a favored seat is probably driven by a sense that the church needs the support of those elevated and lauded. Yet the church is not left to lean on the arm of flesh. While the church may benefit from the influence and contributions of those with much the Lord’s bride is not dependent on these (1 Samuel 14:6; Zechariah 4:6). If they decline support it may actually lead to the exercise of greater faith by the saints, which God would be pleased to reward.

    We cannot expect of the church what individual believers are not prepared to do. Individually we ought to cultivate a right attitude towards both rich and poor, being mindful not to show undue honor as a way to curry favor from one or make the other virtually invisible.

    • We normally treat the rich with expectations of them rewarding the church. When we do this, we are not only lowering the dignity of the poor who are equally important in the eyes of God but also cultivating the pride of the rich which will end up giving them a false sense of sufficiency. This will lead to ungratefulness in their part towards God for thus blessing them.

  3. what do you value? Treating people differently relates to where you place your values. If you value money,you will most definitely have more regard for those who are wealthy or those associated wit a specific status. The way we treat others does not say much about them, says a lot about you.

  4. How do these texts speak to me? Rich/poor is not a issue for me. But what is the principle behind this revelation of God's character.
    The principle is prejudice, don't favour one over the other for any reason.
    Who do I favour? I prefer people who are kind to people who self assured and arrogant.
    Who do you prefer?

    What is the solution? Ask God to transform me to be kind to those I don't favour.
    Sounds easy enough, but why do I find it scary? Is it because I don't really want to change? Do I feel I am justified in not favouring those people?

    Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse.
    Rom 12:15 Rejoice with rejoicing ones, and weep with weeping ones;
    Rom 12:16 minding the same thing toward one another, not minding high things, but yielding to the lowly. Do not be wise within yourselves.
    Rom 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
    Rom 12:18 If it is possible, as far as is in you, being in peace with all men.
    Rom 12:19 not avenging yourselves, beloved, but giving place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
    Rom 12:20 Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him. If he thirsts, give him drink. For in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head.
    Rom 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    • I asked God to change me and he presented me with two learning situations, I encountered two woman who challenged me.
      One. An old friend I hadn't seen for awhile, I visited her and for 8 hours she shared with me all the hardships she had experienced for the last two years, illness, death of her husband and how horribly a series of people had treated her. She was so negative and I let her influence me to relate tales of horrible people in my life.
      She asked me to visit again soon, but after leaving I didn't feel like doing that because I didn't really enjoy it and I felt negative, but after taking it to the LORD he told me that the visits was not for my benefit but it was to enable Him to give love to her through me. So I now feel at peace and will visit her again.
      The other woman that I heard of was totally obnoxious, mean, rude, selfish, manipulative.
      I thought to myself, how would I act if I met her in person. What does it mean 'to favour or not to favour' Does it mean I have to like her, do I have to approve of her behaviour? I don't believe that is what Jesus wants me to do, but he said love your enemies, what does that mean? I believe it means I must still be kind and helpful to her no matter how bad she is, do not pay back evil for evil because then the Devil has won and influenced me to change to be like him.

      The more I thought about this issue of favouring people (or not) it came to me that the definition of grace is 'unmerited favour'. Jesus shows me unmerited favour, and with Him in my heart I will show others unmerited favour. It is not who they are, or are not, that determines how I treat them but who I am through the grace of Jesus.

  5. It is so important to examine this evil that pervades ever human heart. Eliminating biases and prejudices will not only bring unity and growth in our church but our personal lives and our future generations.

  6. what james is teaching us is what happens to our churches today, the classification has made those who know that are poor do feel they dont belong in the church. we are not supposed to practice partiality in church as well as out of the church because all belong to God both poor and rich.

  7. Seeing Jesus associating with the 'underclass' was a problem for the religious leaders who considered themselves 'above' such people. How blind we as humans can be when we nurse our pride. They rejected their Creator, the One who set them apart as special, because He ate with the wrong group of people.

    They placed themselves in positions where they expected, and at times demanded high regard. Social order was very important to them.

    With that state of mind, there's no way the gospel is attractive.

    Principles like humility, kindness, a willingness to be the 'least' instead of the greatest, and to take the position of servant doesn't make sense when ideas of self glorification are important.

    To serve a living Christ, I must be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to purge me of the attitude of entitlement. There's nothing in myself that I can boast before Jesus when He, the Almighty God is willing to associate with me.

  8. I have met millionaires in the church that were humble and loving, and met middle class people that were arrogant and obnoxious. I don't think it's money that makes people project arrogance but ignorance. God has called us to love all and not just on the Sabbath. By this shall man know you are my disciples , that you have love one for another.

  9. This principle will help. When man fall God was not Happy with him but seeing what the condition of man, God made the provision needed by men even though we don't know we need it. God gave the best of all gifts which is not just life only but the person He loves the most so that we can be saved. And Jesus seeing the suffering ahead of him endured it even thou he could have walked away yet He chose the cross.
    He looked not at what we are but to what we could be through His sacrifice.
    Therefore are not to be taken away by what we see now but should look forward to what we and the people we are called to minister to the future glory we are to have in Jesus.
    This our work as christians. why do we shy away from our very hope of being like christ?

  10. Not appreciating the contributions of every church member is a greater problem than giving too much praise to the rich in my opinion. The fact that my wife and I were for 15 years paying a double tithe and giving offerings to the poor and etc. had nothing to do with our wealth, it had to do with our commitment to live a Christian life. We are still poor today in comparison to the rich in our churches and we choose to live very modestly. Our home is paid for but it is humble and we have to save in order to upkeep it and to be the good stewards that God intends for us to be in all that He gives us. We do not want to be a burden to others. The church we belonged to did not know how to appreciate our contributions while the community we live in does. I no longer give as I did, my wife has stopped attending the church entirely and has her name removed from the books because she believes that her faith is in Christ not in a church that isn't progressive and does not motivate others with inclusive appreciation. We gave too much, or the church have too little in return, whatever the case there is another side to the story. What progressive organization is not going to "include" thanking and appreciating all its workers.

    • Clayton, it seems to me that the church of her day did not appreciate it when the poor widow dropped all she had in the offering of her church.

      But Jesus did. And He commended her.

      I don't think that widow was looking for appreciation from "the church." She was giving to God, and God noticed. He still does - even when "the church" (a group of sinners) does not.

      Whenever we mention "the church," we need to remind ourselves that we, collectively, make up the church. Thus "the church" will have the character that we, collectively, portray.

      We have found in our own lives that it is impossible to outgive God, and that it is truly "more blessed to give than to receive," even when that means that we have work hard and be very careful with our spending.

  11. I am deeply touched by O. Clayton Reid's comment. Society indeed is unappreciative of one's contributions. Unfortunately even church is equally culprit to this folly. We need to know that the devil is behind all these evil machinations as we are duly warned by Peter in 1Peter 5:8. We need not give up on church fellowship. Jesus faced worse situations but never gave up on His divine mission of saving mankind. Heaven is too good to be missed out of mere frustration. Let's keep on fighting the good fight by turning the other cheek.

  12. Why is it so wrong to treat rich people differently than poor people? What is the principle involved?

    Does the same principle apply to men and women, or does it not?

    Not so many years back, my husband was preaching in an evangelistic series in a certain country. The meetings were attended by thousands, and all the men sat on chairs, while the women and children sat on the ground.

    One day my husband and his two sisters were on the platform, sitting on chairs. And when three local women joined them on the platform, they sat on the three available chairs. However, the men (Adventist pastors) promptly ordered them to sit on the floor.

    Is this any more acceptable than treating a poor person better than a rich person?

    How should we, as Christians, apply this principle in a culture that does not value women as much as men? Does the fact that God created both Adam and Even in "His image" say anything to us? (See Gen. 1:27)

    Now I'm wondering whether any of our readers live in a country that values boys above girls, men above women. How do you relate, as a Christian?


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