Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
Proverbs For Performers (Part 37)
Favorites In Church
It is not good to show partiality in judgment.
He who says to the wicked, 'You are righteous,'
Him the people will curse.
Proverbs 24:23-24 (NKJV)
To show partiality is not good,
Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.*
Proverbs 28:21 (NKJV)
Most of today's churches play favorites. So did the Jews in the days of Jesus, when big titles, like high priest, could be bought.** With modern educational systems (and various church certifications), influential degrees can still be bought. Certainly, time and training are involved, but so are money and men's opinions.
Within the first churches, like Antioch, men 'Prayed with fasting' (Acts 14:23) to choose their leaders. Now we use resumes and background checks. We investigate social media, because worship centers are big business. Professionalism is imperative. Partiality is necessary in judging appropriate candidates.
Consequently, similar practices filter down through the body of the church--to the halting feet of contrasting guests who aren't the same type as the normal crowd. What value could they bring to God's table? We pretend to smile, but then look elsewhere. Nervous newcomers back away quickly.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Hollywood loves to pick favorites, with red carpets, credits and trophies. But that's okay. You don't judge the world. You don't judge the church judging the world, because you'd look like holy haters, and that's not the part God called you to play.
Still, when a condition arises and you can be a holy lover: embracing the undesirable,*** exampling impartiality, praying for God-ordained leadership, practicing His Own codes of conduct, asking for Holy Spirit guidance... then you can show just One Favorite--giving others pause to stop and think.
To Be Continued...
* 'When a man hath once accustomed himself to take bribes, a very small advantage will make him sell justice, and his own soul into the bargain' (Benson Commentary on Proverbs 28:21). http://biblehub.com/commentaries/proverbs/28-21.htm
** Short article: High Priest Corruption: http://jewishroots.net/library/miscellaneous/high_priest_corruption.html
*** 'For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, 'You sit here in a good place,' and say to the poor man, 'You stand there,' or, 'Sit here at my footstool,' have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?' (James 2:2-4).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Proverbs for Performers series.