if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, 'You sit here in a good place,' and you say to the poor man, 'You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,' have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man... If you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the Law as transgressors.
Let's consider church ladies. Most of them dress quite nicely. But what if a strange one came: one in scanty apparel or looking rough and tattooed.
Let's consider church elders. Most of them dress nicely, too. But what if a strange man came: one smelling like a sewer or looking gang-related.
What do we do with strange people who don't look at all like us? Will they be a distraction, or should we call security? Will our children be frightened, or perhaps even talk to one?
Church favoritism happened back then and it happens right now. Poor people are forgettable and strangers are dangerous. Aren't they?
God doesn't look at people like that. Our externals are just packaging. Whether we're fancy, plain or unwrapped, He's all about our heart's condition. Maybe every poor or unkempt man has an unconsidered advantage. His humility is apparent.
By stepping foot in a well-dressed church, by knowing he doesn't meet that mark, by risking disapproving glances, He's trying to find God in the mix. Will he?
'Opening his mouth, Peter said:
'I most certainly understand now that God is not One to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him' ' (Acts 10:34-35).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Poor People series.