Series: Always Relevant: God is
James 2:1-5 MSG
Invidious behavior will sometimes jolt and surprise you.
It can sneak up on you.
In James 2:1-5 we read, “My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted? Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God.”
Favoring one person above another because of their economic status, their place of origin, the color of their skin, or even their skill and training is never part of God’s plan.
Many years ago when one of my sons started preschool I was somewhat concerned that he would have a good experience as he started his school journey.
Because of a change in ministry we had just moved to a rural community and were pastoring a small church. The nearest town did not have a preschool. Fortunately I was able to find a preschool that was accepting new students. We were living in Missouri near the Kansas border.
My son was a creative sort of child. He loved building things and playing with toy musical instruments. He has great small motor skills. His older brother had great large motor skills so in many ways they were opposites.
He was very close in age to that brother and they played together day and night. They shared a room and sometimes it was difficult to get them to settle down to go to sleep at night.
His older brother had already started school a few days before so he was excited about going to school, too.
I think one of the most difficult things I did as a mother was to let my child go as they entered a new adventure. I would pray for them before, during and after. I prayed that they would have a good experience and they would be loved.
The first day when I picked my son up from preschool he ran to the car and jumped in. He had a big smile on his face.
I asked him how it went.
He said, “fine.”
I asked about his teacher.
He said, “she’s nice.”
I asked him if he made any new friends.
At that, he beamed and he said he made a new friend.
So, I asked him what he was like. He said he was funny and they liked playing with the same things.
Then I asked him, “what’s his name? My son beamed and he said, “Stevie”.
When we got home he ran to his room to play with his brother.
From that day on my son talked about Stevie every day. He talked about recess with Stevie, snack time with Stevie, and sitting in class next to Stevie.
After a month or so he brought home an invitation for the parents to come to school for an open house and a short program.
We all planned to attend.
That night, my son picked out his favorite shirt and jeans. I dressed the youngest of the three boys and my two older children wore their school clothes they wore that day.
My son was excited he got to see Stevie twice in one day.
We piled in the car and headed to his school. Once we arrived my son went to his teacher and she lined them up to walk in. They had a short opening program and sang a song. His teacher spoke about some of the things they were learning.
Throughout the program I wondered which boy was Stevie. My son told me before the program that he didn’t get to walk in with Stevie because he was in another row. My son was not tall for his age so he was in the front row.
After the program was over, my son ran to a boy, grabbed him and dragged him over to meet us. Both boys were in a headlock.
My son said, “this is Stevie, my best friend.”
We all spoke to Stevie and met his parents. I told his Mom that Stevie has been a really good friend to my son.
In the car ride on the way home I smiled to myself and teared up a little.
I was so proud of my son.
I’ve been proud of him many many times since, but that night I was beaming inside.
See, all the times my son spoke of Stevie and described him, he never once mentioned the color of his skin. It never even entered my son’s mind that one of them was white and one was black. All those two boys knew was that they were best friends.
What struck me most is that the color of their skin wasn’t a factor.
What mattered was on the inside.
He was so so very right.
God’s kingdom is for all and God loves all.
Spiritual Practice: Not Invidious
God did not create us differently so we will notice our differences. Whether it be economic, social, or the color of our skin we are all the same to God. Thank God for our differences.
In God, Deborah