The Rich, the Poor and Partiality October 10-14
Favoritism is common in the world. The way James describes this issue means to elevate or exalt a person based on only external things such as appearance (skin color or race), wealth, gender, social status, or position. Favoritism is a sin that any person, any race, and any country can struggle with. And it is ugly wherever it rears its head. As Christians, we are called to live a life without favoritism, and ultimately, a life without judgment. We cannot allow our status and wealth to become idols we worship, leading us to compare, judge and mistreat others.
Day 1 James 2:1-13
Reflect: What does it mean to show favoritism and what are motivations behind it? Today, in what ways might believers show favoritism in the church? What does verse 13 mean?
Apply: When are you tempted to show partiality? What is the root cause? Why are you tempted? What does verse 5 teach you about God’s character?
Pray: Jesus, thank You for Your loving mercy that, while I was yet a sinner, You died for me. As I go about my days in a world that is full of judgmental attitudes and actions, may I show Your love and mercy to those around me so they see You in me.
Day 2 James 5:1-6
Reflect: How can focusing on acquiring riches impact how we treat people? The text mentions the laborers and the rich. What is God’s view of how they should treat each other?
Apply: How has wealth impacted how you treated someone? Are you generous with the resources God has given you? In what ways do you need to be more generous?
Pray: Holy Spirit, help me to die to my fleshly attitudes and cravings for the things of this world. Lead me to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and to think of others before myself for Your praise and glory.
Day 3 Acts 10:34-38
Reflect: In what tangible ways did Jesus demonstrate that God does not show partiality? How is favoritism, not simply being disrespectful of people, but a sin against God?
Apply: What would change within you if you saw each person the way God does? What if you saw people in only two categories, saved and unsaved? How would that impact partiality?
Pray: Lord Jesus, as we wait for Your return, help us remove barriers that would prevent more Jews and Gentiles, men and women, bond and free, old and young, and people of every race and nation from coming to faith in You.
Reflect: What wisdom do you gain from these proverbs? Which of these verses speak loudest to you? How does living in right relationship with God impact our view of wealth?
Apply: How have you personally experienced partiality as it relates to financial status? Put Proverbs 28:21 into your own words. When have you put mercy over judgement?
Pray: Father, rescue me from stingy attitudes that make me fearful. Pry my selfish fingers from money and things as if they give me life. Help me find joy as Your servant in the way I freely share my borrowed wealth from You. Make me like Your Son who freely shared the greatest treasure with me at the greatest price.
Day 5 Luke 14:12-14
Reflect: What is the purpose behind Jesus’ teaching? What does it mean to be repaid or rewarded at the resurrection? Why is this hope so crucial to living in right relationship with others?
Apply: Do you give to be rewarded by others or by God in the future? What evidence supports your answer? What would following Jesus’ directive look like for you?
Pray: Father, forgive me when I invest all my time, effort, and interest in those I know can be of benefit to me. Open my eyes to opportunities to bless, in Jesus’ name, those from whom I can expect nothing in return.
Put It Into Practice!
Week 3: Do an honest heart evaluation and ask for forgiveness if you have shown favoritism to the rich, disregarded the poor, or worshiped money. Talk with God honestly and humbly about the role of money and possessions in your life.