Playing Favorites

beggarBut you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court?
James 2:6 NLT

He converged on the church’s front steps and watched as parishioner after parishioner passed him by without as much as a “Good morning” or “Can we help you?”

He was new in town. As one of the more prominent religious facilities in town, he hoped this church would show him acceptance and support. No offers were made. Perhaps it was his appearance or the fact that his tattered clothes didn’t parade designer names.

Inside, the members gathered to welcome their new pastor, but he was nowhere to be found. Actually, he was. Just not in the corner they scrutinized. He wasn’t on the front pew or the podium. Rather, he was the man on the front steps no one spoke to or bothered to help.

When he finally made his way to the sacred desk, no sermon was necessary. His message had already been preached—and the congregants knew it. There was nothing to say but a prayer of dismissal so all who had played favorites could return home and ponder his unspoken discourse.

Even the churches of the first century were guilty of playing favorites. I too have experienced favoritism. As a child when my build rendered me undesirable for athletic teams—whether at school or in someone’s backyard. And unfortunately, I’ve seen more than my share of it in churches. Members ecstatic when a wealthy or influential person joined the ranks but snobbish when one apparently lacking in talents or wealth attempted to connect.

Playing favorites reveals my hypocrisy by exposing the fact that I’ve forgotten all people are created in God’s image and are important to him. He loves and cares for them, and I should too.

Don’t be guilty of playing favorites.

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