James 2:1-13 Book’s Cover
James warns his readers against judging by appearances and showing partiality. God looks at the heart of man, not his pocket book. We are called to do so also.
Under the Law there were rewards for obeying God’s commandments and punishments for disobedience. These were the blessings and curses outlined in Deuteronomy 28. Men took this proclamation of God and applied it to everyone individually. If a couple couldn’t have children, they must have sinned against God somehow. If a man was poor, he was being punished for his sins. If he was rich, he was being rewarded by God for his righteousness. So, as a result of the promises, men were judged by their wealth or lack thereof.
But that is not what God looks at when He judges. There were MANY kings who had hard hearts and did not follow God’s plan. There were also many poor people who clung to God. God looks at the heart of the man, not his pocket book.
Jesus’ first visitors when He came to us were the lowest class of people; shepherds. They were so low that their word meant nothing in a court of law. They were synonymous with the word liar. God purposefully brought them to Jesus’ bedside that morning and graciously received their gift of praise. Yes, kings came later but they also brought death with them as a result of their visit. And their gifts were used to support the little family as they fled and lived in Egypt.
We are called to stop looking at the outside and outward trappings of people. God uses even the poorest of the poor in His Kingdom. In fact, Jesus says it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Check back in on that story.
It is time to stop judging books by their covers. The heart is where true wealth or poverty lies. The man who has Jesus as his Lord and Savior is rich beyond measure! His clothes may be tattered and torn or of the finest silk, but they mean NOTHING in terms of eternal wealth.
We cannot fully know the heart of man either. Only God can. But we can make “educated guesses” by looking at their actions. What kind of “feet” do we see on their “faith?” Are they sharing whatever they have with those in need? Are they comforting the sick? Are they sharing the good news of the gospel? These things make a man truly wealthy, when done as a result of a relationship with Jesus. Doing such works just to be noticed by man is worthless though. Those who do the works without the relationship will hear, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”
Bottom line, show love and care to ALL who come to hear the good news. Don’t judge by outward appearances. Let God do the judging. Extend the invitation to ALL, regardless of their social standing. From the man on the street holding the sign, “Why lie, I need beer” to the man in the oval office, God loves them all and wants to work in their lives. One is as important to him as the other.
Father God, thank You for loving me as much as any other person. I am not rich by worldly standards, but I am as wealthy as can be because I have You. Please help me see others as You see them. Not by the cut of their clothes but by the character of their hearts. My life is so restricted right now that I don’t see many people. Thank You for giving me compassion for those truly in need. I trust You to speak to my heart when I’m to act.
Please Lord protect me from developing a hard heart to those in need. There are so many people out there today holding signs as a way of making a buck instead of out of true need. Let me hear You clearly when You want me to act. Not everyone You lead me to will be proclaiming their needs. Some will be going about their struggle quietly. Show me how to sow Your love into their lives too. Thank You that You have sown into mine SO MANY TIMES in this same way through others. Thank You Father that You ALWAYS see my heart and hold my tears as well as my songs of joy.