James 3:1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
We read in this passage a continuous theme in scripture, both Old and New Testaments. A key concern of God is how his people deal with those living in poverty. The apostle James is calling the church to account for affording special treatment to the wealthy at the expense of the poor. He’s also pointing out the irony that the wealthy receiving special treatment are often the very people in positions of power who are making life hard for the church (v.6-7).
The church I lead is in a relatively affluent suburb of Dallas. There aren’t many people living in poverty in our area because, among other things, they can’t afford to live here. That said Rejoice does quite a bit to support people struggling economically who live in greater Dallas/Ft. Worth – and beyond. I’m grateful for the faithfulness of my church, it’s willingness to be generous with others and to give of their time for the sake of those in need.
Lord Jesus give us hearts that join your love and concern for those living in poverty. Amen.