There is an old problem that plagued the Early Church and still affects the Church today. It began in Acts 6 by overlooking certain widows who had needs. Then the Jewish believers wanted to place requirements on the Gentiles who were coming to Christ and becoming part of the Church. The problem did not go away, which caused James to address believers in a very straightforward way.
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” (James 2:1). “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (2:5). “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (2:8–9).
This issue is not just a problem in the Church. Partiality affects the way we look at ministry locally outside the church and missions to the ends of the earth. We select neighborhoods and ethnic groups of people that fit our ‘comfort ideals’ for ministry and missions.
Think for a moment of how Jesus pursued His ministry. He looked at the crowds (Jewish and Samaritan) with compassion for them. He recognized faith in those who didn’t belong to the Jewish nation. His invitation to follow Him was to all. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself” (John 12:32). The Church needs to recapture the heart of Jesus in every aspect of ministry and missions!
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