The Church Showed Favoritism
Growing up I was a dork, no kidding. I was much closer to that end of the social spectrum than being one of the “cool kids.” I have a few distinct memories of people of whom I thought “If I could just get in their crowd, I’d be somebody.” By God’s grace, I never compromised my faith or testimony to get “in” with them, but the desire to leverage their popularity for my own recognition was there.
As I moved into adulthood, specifically as a ministry leader, I occasionally battled thoughts of cozying up to someone for what he could do for me or my ministry. There is a danger in elevating the gifts or blessings God has given someone over the power of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit. God has gifted people for His service, which is an important part of His plan for His church, but when we elevate certain people within the church because of how we believe they can help us, we are demonstrating a similar favoritism of which James is warning against in his epistle.
This week’s session from the book of James continues to build on something we have talked about over the last few weeks: God’s message of salvation is for all people. Each person is made in the image of God and is equally valuable in the kingdom of God. There are no superstars in God’s kingdom, and there is no lower class either. God’s kindness toward us should compel us to treat others with similar love, generosity, and equality—whether or not they have something to offer us.
Sometimes we may think being united is just a matter of getting along with one another and not fighting. We may think of unity as simply the absence of conflict. But God’s heart is for us to be united more deeply with each other. When believers in the early church treated some people as better than others, James told them they were wrong. He reminded them that Jesus commanded believers to love one another. Because He has shown great mercy to us, we can show mercy to others. Help your kids see that the gospel should compel them to treat one another with the same love, mercy, and grace shown to us by Jesus.
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Jeremy Carroll (@jermpc) is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. Before coming to LifeWay, he has been active in local church ministry for nearly 20 years in TN, TX, and AL. Jeremy earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Middle Tennessee native, he and his family live in Murfreesboro, TN.