I hope you are able to stick with this boot camp and power through the rest of this week – only two more days!
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdomhe promised those who love him?
Think about who Jesus chose as His disciples. They were not the wealthy citizens. Instead, he chose Peter, Andrew, James and John who were fishermen. Financial status means nothing to the Lord, He loves us all the same. They may have been financially poor, but they were certainly rich in faith.
God’s economy is upside down to that of the worlds. The things God values are not the things the world values. The world values money and status; God values richness in faith. The world values those who are in high positions; God values those willing to serve. The world values those with self-confidence and high self-esteem; God values the humble. Which economy do you value more – that of the world or that of the Lord’s?
6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
James points out three things the rich were doing to the poor: dishonoring, exploiting and suing. All of these show signs of exerting power based on status. Remember the verses we looked at yesterday about showing favoritism? James is reprimanding the Jewish Christians for showing favoritism to the wealthy because favoritism is a sin. However, James is making an even stronger point because he is upset that favoritism is being shown to those who are treating the poor with contempt.
The final verse adds yet a final and even more serious reason for them to be showing favoritism to this wealthy group of people. This wealthy group was blaspheming the name of Christ – “the name of him to who you belong”. “The word-for-word translation of James’s Greek would read ‘the noble name that was called upon you.'”
10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you.
“A man was dedicated to God by calling God’s name over him. The act indicated that he belonged to God. So Christians bear the worthy name of Christ as indication that they are his people. To show favoritism to those who blaspheme that wonderful name is the greatest incongruity of all.”
Did you realize that as a follower of Christ you bear His name? What does that mean to you? When we go about our lives, we are Christ’s ambassadors; we represent Him to the world. What kind of ambassador have you been for Christ lately? In what situations are you less of an ambassador of Christ and more of an ambassador to the world? Spend some time reflecting on yourself as an ambassador for the Lord and submit everything you are and everything you have to Him so you can serve Him wholeheartedly.
Scripture references from http://www.biblegateway.com
- Quotes from “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary”, Vol. 12, Zondervan