Monday, August 29, 2011

Mom Always Liked You Best!

James 2:1
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.

Psalms 25 or 9, 15
2 Chronicles 6:32-7:7
James 2:1-13
Mark 14:53-65


  1. I have definitely seen partiality played out in church...certain individuals allowed to form and organize groups, while other people's ideas are ignored. Some people seen in a good respectable light, others held at a distance. It's unfortunate and I definitely think we should follow God's path of impartiality and acknowledge the gifts and talents everyone brings into the church and value everyone equally. For we all fall short and we all have a lot to contribute!
    Not going to be on for awhile..I'll miss your posts :(Hope to catch up. Right now I'm in a hotel but tomorrow we go back home and I'm not sure when we'll have power back because of the hurricane. Loved this devotion today though, glad I was able to read it.

  2. So appreciate that you took time to visit my devotion when so much is going on with regards to the hurricane and your displacement. Not to worry, by dear! I had an unexpected request to babysit my granddaughter today, and have yet to catch up on anything blogger.

    With regards to ignored ideas, my husband is the Region 4 Director for Energy Star. When our church proposed building expansion several years ago, he freely offered his expertise and advice on energy efficiency; he was told thanks, but no, thanks. I keep wondering, why? Where and when did the stewardship for God's creation take a political stance? With all due respect to my pastors, and I rest assured they were not aware of this exchange with the person in control of this project, this becomes the perfect example of partiality.

    Your support and encouragement mean so much to me; know I am praying that you go home to a fully functional facility and we can know that we are graced by your precious presence soon!


  3. You know Martha, we've only been at our current church for a few months now but I can honestly say I haven't seen any signs of favoritism at all. The congregation and the pastor go out of their way to make everyone in attendance feel involved, cared about, and welcome. I've no doubt that there are some members that have "favorites", but as a whole it's been a refreshing change for us.

    Great post!

    Have a Blessed Day!

  4. That's great news, Phil! Yes, our church is primarily the same; it's only in the above-mentioned incident that we have felt any sort of alienation. We are very fortunate to worship and serve where we do.

    May your day be blessed as well! :)


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