Week 4. Tuesday: Special Attention
PRAY: Ask God to speak to you from His Word.
READ: James 2:2-4
2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 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,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
UNDERSTAND: get a deeper understanding of the key words
Suppose. Favoritism is difficult to see in the mirror. So James give us a story to show what it looks like to treat people differently based on outward appearance.
Gold Ring, Fine Clothes; Filthy, Old Clothes. To be noticed. Or recognized. We all have a dangerous need inside us to been recognized or noticed by others.
Special Attention: Favoritism is often as simple as treating people differently, showing special attention to some and not others. We often say we would never do such a thing. However, if a famous sports star, actor or actress walked in we would certainly offer special recognition to them over the average person who walks through our doors.
Discriminated. Judges. Evil Thoughts. Favoritism is a close relative of discrimination. The more we allow ourselves to separate people based on outward appearance the more likely we are to discriminate, judge, and develop evil thoughts. There will always be social, racial, gender, and economic differences in the church. The church has always been and should always be the place fighting to wipe out these distinctions.
APPLY: What is this passage calling me to do?
Can you think of times, maybe even unintentional, where you, or someone you know, have recognized someone solely on outward achievements?
What are the dangers that can accompany us having a need to be recognized? How does this fuel our favoritism toward others?
How can giving special attention to people because of their accomplishments lead us to discrimination, judgement and eventually evil thoughts?
PRAY: Ask God to help you see the places where you unintentionally show special attention to people based on their outward accomplishments. Pray for God to help you recognize areas where you are willing to compromise your standards just to be noticed.