The Jubber Journal

sharing snippets in random sequence from my life

Rich man, poor man…


This is pretty much a verbalization of something that has troubled me today, if it means anything to you, great, if it doesn’t that is great too, I just have this urgency to share and “put it out there”.

Does it work like this for you; just randomly going about your day, and then suddenly you get this gnawing feeling deep inside your spirit. It is hard to put words to the feeling, it’s a mix of emotions and compelling thoughts that keep your attention until you confront it. I am going to try and homeexplain what I mean, and so bear with me for a moment.

Today I was reading in the book of James. Actually quite enjoyed my time in the word, but then a pattern began to surface and I found myself feeling drawn to a couple of the scriptures which I would like to share with you.

James 2:1-4 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose  a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby 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 you 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?

I began to ponder this section of scripture; It is wrong to show favoritism based on external circumstances, whether it is favoritism to the rich or to the poor. It is normal for the world to honor the rich and famous, because riches and fame are things for which those of the world strive. As Christians, we should have different values. We should esteem individuals for different reasons than the world does.

When I see a poor man, or someone going through a bad stretch in their life is it right for me to judge this person based on the external appearance? Surely not. Many times we say the famous “but for the grace of God there go I…” indeed. But what if we look below the level of skin, go a little deeper and understand that there is a heart inside this individual, they perhaps didn’t ask for the battering ram of hardship to knock them out of the loop of success in this life. When I look at someone in this situation, what is on my agenda? Will I judge unfairly out of my own critical nature, or will I try to view the person through the lens of Christ, and have compassion?

2 Corinthians 5:16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

It is extremely easy to discriminate not only between the rich and poor but amongst those of differing faiths. This is a challenge. Discrimination is a damaging sin to the cause of Christendom because of its poor testimony to the world, and those looking on at our testimony. The rich and the poor have the same need in common – Christ as their savior. So, if I show partiality then someone wins and someone loses. The math is easy to figure out.

So how do we walk in such a way as to not show partiality, discrimination and favoritism? Paul gives us the perfect example:

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.

The reward in applying this portion of scripture lies in being partakers of the blessings in the gospel. Lord help us the next time an opportunity to share your word arises, may I not show favoritism based on the individual’s physical appearance or position in life, neither let me judge their belief and faith, but help me to look through your lens with a right attitude so that I may win over a soul for you.

Author: Vic J

Living a simple life, free of clutter and complexity.

2 thoughts on “Rich man, poor man…

  1. Vic,
    You are right on point with your observation and presentation of this truth. As a pastor for years the temptation of showing favoritism to the best tithers or the best dressed or the most articulate, or the one with a degree etc, was ever present but “give no special seats” was my levity in the matter.
    However, isn’t it interesting how that all too often we season our words if we think they might be offensive or uncomfortable to some and seemingly show no consideration or regard to how they may affect others. If we offend those of a lowly station, we lose a body but if we offend those of means we lose a body and a wallet. I know that both have the same value, just saying this to expose how carnal thinking is subtle.
    I do want to add a thought to this and this is in no way meant to disagree.
    I found that our church members seemed far more comfortable to reach out to the down and outer. It was easier to witness due to their personal socioeconomic situation. However I constantly challenged them to share Christ (along with what Jesus had done for them) with people of means as well and to always remember they too have a spiritual need equally as great as the man of lowly estate. So in conclusion, no special seats even though some feel entitled and deserving of them but to realize that the wealthy need Christ to. I know you know all of this just thought I would share it.
    One last note, big givers, people of social status often come into the church with feelings of entitlement and often get offended if they don’t get the special seat.
    Oh how much fun those 22 years of pastoring were.
    God Bless you and your family.
    Tell Tamira that I said “HI”.


    • Bob,
      Great comment! I agree wholeheartedly. There is definitely a disparity that creeps in unsolicited, disguised and packaged as something great, but on the flip side a loss occurs with favoritism. Not only in material wealth and good public standing, but across various walks of life sometimes we distance ourselves from other beliefs, denying Christ an opportunity to reveal Himself. Coming from Africa, reaching out to the “down&outer” was the essence of walking out of what we believed. The needs were greater yes, but the hearts were open and hungry, uncomplicated and accessible. The feeling of entitlement is really summed up in one word – arrogance. And the beauty of Christ’s message is that it is free, He can’t be bought, but man often loses sight of this and suddenly the church is being run as a corporation. 22 years in the driving seat…Lord bless you and your family!!


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