For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
For the remainder of his epistle, James is going to deliver some good, hard doses of practical Christian living. In each case, James is going to use examples of real life situations in the lives of the believers he is writing to and offer them guidance.
We covered previously that God is not partial; He is no respecter of persons. Now James is going to move directly into a situation that was occurring somewhere; in fact, this very situation is probably occurring in some church almost as we speak.
Let’s take a look at this situation on more modern terms and see what might be going on; it may be shocking to us; we are going to take some liberties with the written words briefly.
If the local bank president walks in your church, followed by the rough guy down the road with the tattoos, how do you react? Does every one make sure to greet the bank president heartily(probably seeing dollar signs for the church offering), and not say a word to the tattooed guy? Do we escort the bank president to sit by us and say a little prayer that the tattooed fellow will stay in the back? If we do, then we are guilty of trying to take God’s place and be the judge of people.
We don’t know what God’s plans for any person are; God has one for all of us and He is not selecting people for his works based on the same criteria we would use. For all we know, his plan for the bank president might be to mow the church lawn, and for the guy with tattoos to be called to preach God’s Word. We simply don’t know, and it not our place to try to decide.
One last question. What actually shows God’s power and glory more? Somebody who seems perfectly capable doing great things because they are able, or somebody we would never think was able doing great things because of the power of God in his or her life?