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Words of Faith 4-24-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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James 2:1-4

        My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.  Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?


         One of the wisest bits of advice I ever received from a great pastor and mentor was this: "It is better not to know what anyone gives to the church."   I was young and “green” with inexperience, but I took the advice. I discovered in those training years that I never wanted to drive any faster, return a phone call more quickly, or respond any differently to a person in need based upon their wealth or perceived prestige. 

        Over the years, I have had many others advise just the opposite.  "The pastor needs to know who the big givers are," said one denominational executive. Upon arrival as the new pastor at one church, I was handed a list of five names that were my "first visits.”  I asked, "Why? Are they sick?"  I was told that they were the top five givers in the church.  James would have choked on such actions.  "Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?" 

         The first advice from my pastor and mentor was the best.  I learned over the years that we are too frail as humans not to respond differently when we know "money" or "power" is at stake. The truth is that we are all susceptible, not just pastors.  Little has changed from the old days of synagogue life.  It is easy to pay a little better attention to the well dressed and apparently well placed even if outward appearances are more a facade today than ever. 

         But the issue is deeper than that.  We are not to be respecters of persons, pandering to the images and prestige of this world.   Why?  Because Jesus is not a respecter of persons. When people come into the body of Christ, there is no one with a higher rank or distinction, no one valued more highly than another.  The price of salvation for a person we might look down on is just as high for Jesus as for any other.  He paid the bill for that which is eternal.   Until we can actually afford to purchase a single drop of the Savior's blood, we have no business declaring one person more valuable than another.  It is a price we can never meet.

        Now, frankly, that will get you into trouble in some circles.  In many places the expectation is high that those who give a lot or have wealth are treated with favoritism.  Some will expect a special seat, a special visit, a brass plaque, or a banquet.  Not in the Kingdom.  Just the opposite is true. In the Kingdom, "when you do it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me..."  No favoritism.  Period.


      Lord, forgive me.  Forgive me the times I have thought one person more valuable than another.  Forgive me the judgments, sometimes in favor of wealth, at other times against wealth.  Give me eyes to see through it all.  Eyes to see people as You do, in need of Your grace.  In Jesus Name, Amen.



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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2009, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.