Monday, August 29, 2011
Mom Always Liked You Best!
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.
Back in the late 1960s, audiences were treated to the music and comedy of The Smothers Brothers on various variety shows and on their own show for three seasons. Dick Smothers was the straight-man, and brother, Tommy, was the clown and upstart. One of their famed routines, which never failed to evoke laughter from their viewers, involved Tommy, slowly but surely, losing an argument with Dick and finally, in exasperation at the lack of any better rejoinder, defiantly blurting out, "Mom always like you best!" As a child watching this, I was unsure if it was only a joke of if Tommy really felt his mother had shown favoritism toward Dick as they were growing up together. It made me wonder, quite uncomfortably, I might add, if my own parents liked my brother more than me. With these worries, I struggled to find their skit humorous, and always felt immeasurably sorry for Tommy.
In today's scripture, James exhorts the early church to avoid showing favoritism to any of the members. It seems this church was deferring to their wealthy members while treating the poorer with indifference. This partiality indicated that worldly values were being placed above heavenly ones, and James is anxious to guide them away from such practices which lead not to glory, but to sin. He doesn't tolerate a lip-service faith, but demands one of action where belief in and the following of Christ Jesus is lived out to the letter. If Christ died for all, then all should be welcomed with the same love He showed to us.
Do you perceive partiality or favoritism being played out in your church? Do you struggle with the notion that all who walk through the doors of the sanctuary should be equally accepted? When strangers enter the Sunday service or a Sunday school class for the first time, how are they greeted? How are they treated? Do they feel like Dick, the loved one, or like Tommy, the one not quite loveable enough? Today, think of the ways partiality affects your life and vow to affect change in that arena for the sake of the Lord.
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