Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kingdom For All

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"My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 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. 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?"- James 2: 1-4 (NIV)

One of the many things Christ did was uproot and shake up social norms. He came with a plan to turn the world upside down and create a movement which would cause His followers to lift up those who have been pushed down and those who had been lifted up due to status would be pushed down in the kingdom of God.

This thinking created turmoil and challenged the way people had been raised to believe for the longest time. In a society where money was important, social status moved you to the front of the line, and those who were without were shoved to the back without a second thought unless there were scraps on the floor.

The sad thing is, we haven’t really changed. We have a society that values status over potential. We have a culture that moves people to the top if they have the right name, the right bank account, the right car, the right clothes, the right looks, etc.

We have accepted that norm, but we are moved to care for the least when we have expired cans in our cupboard or we need to make room in our closet for new clothes. The needs of those who are under-resourced are an after-thought until it comes to our leftovers.

In order to remain true to the message of our Savior we must analyze our thoughts for those in need. If we continue to place the rich above the poor, then we fail to do the exact thing Christ came to flip upside down.

 When our focus is on the pocket book and not the heart we must take a step back and rethink our understanding of the Gospel.

Let me clarify something, it is not wrong to be wealthy. It is not wrong to have friends who are wealthy. It is also not wrong to seek out support from those with the resources to support our work. However, it is wrong when we place those with resources on a higher platform than those without, to the point of caring more about keeping them in your good graces as opposed to sacrificing their needs for those who have needs.

Our Gospel is not a message for social status, but social change. It is not a message to cause guilt, but to move us to act on the message we have been taught.

What the world needs is for the Church to love the poor and serve their needs. The world needs the Church to be what it has always been meant to be, a place for the weak and the weary to come as they are, embrace the message of hope, and know they are welcome at the main seat at the table with their Creator.

May we rise up to lift up the oppressed to their rightful place as a part of the creation welcomed into the Kingdom of God.

Question: Read James 2:1-13. What would happen if the Church embraced the message from James?

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