Today we start looking at chapter 2 of James and our theme changes from trials, whew. “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.” Perhaps our most favorite example is the life of Joseph that was so impacted by his father’s overt favoritism for him, the first son of his second wife, Rachael. Jacob, his father, gave him a multicolored coat – overt favoritism. The favoritism this coat exemplified impacted the whole future of the clan and history of Judaism. It is natural, I think, that we like some things, some people, some restaurants more than others. Diversity and choice are God-given. So what is the problem?
Going back to the book’s opening paragraph on counting trials as joy, I suspect that trials will immediately raise doubts, for me anyway, that God is favoring the other to the detriment of my interests. Questions about my value, my worth, my importance creep into my thinking. The early church formed in the melting pot of ethnicities in Jerusalem, in the crucible of political chaos under the rule of the Romans, and economically challenged by inherent caste system, would have had to deal with favoritism. We will see this discussed in the context of seating arrangements in church but that is only “the tip of the iceberg.”
It is so tempting when we encounter trials to think that God is favoring the other, taking a nap, busy in the middle-East or just not involved in our little situation but that is not so. James challenges us not to show favoritism because it does not reflect God. As we go about our daily life today, may we guard ourselves about the temptation to believe God favors someone else and so is letting a problem come our way. May we not show favoritism.