May 7th, 2007
You could say that most businesses are prejudiced against poor people. Anyone who wants to know about a business is usually welcome to come in and have a look, but only people who can afford to pay the fees and prices are allowed to become clients and customers. That’s the way a money-making enterprise works. In most businesses it’s not too difficult to turn someone away, because in most cases nobody actually needs the goods or services on offer in order to survive. But a bigger moral issue arises when people try to apply business principles in a church. A church is not a money-making enterprise…
The Letter from James — Chapter 2
2:1 Friends, how can you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ while showing prejudice towards people? 2:2 Imagine someone comes into your synagogue wearing a gold ring and fine clothing, and a poor person in worn-out clothing also comes in. 2:3 If you pay special attention to the person who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good seat,” and you tell the poor person, “Stand there,” or “Sit on the ground,” 2:4 have you not shown prejudice, and exercised judgement with improper motives? 2:5 Listen, my dear friends. Did not God choose people who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him? 2:6 But you have dishonoured poor people. Do not rich people oppress you, and drag you before the courts? 2:7 Do not they insult the good name of your Lord? 2:8 You do well if you fulfil the royal law according to Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 2:9 But you are sinning if you show prejudice, and the law condemns you as wrongdoers. 2:10 Whoever keeps the whole law apart from stumbling in one point, has become guilty of breaking it all. 2:11 The one who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” If you avoid adultery, but commit murder, you have become a breaker of the law. 2:12 Speak and act as people who are going to be judged by the law of freedom. 2:13 Judgment without mercy applies to someone who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
2:14 Friends, what use is it if you claim to have faith, but do not do anything? Can that faith save you? 2:15 If a brother or sister has no clothes or food, 2:16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warm and well fed,” and yet you did not give them the things they need, what use is it? 2:17 Faith by itself without action is dead. 2:18 Someone might say, “You have faith, and I have actions.” Show me your faith without actions, and by my actions I will show you my faith.
2:19 You believe in the one God? Fine. The demons also believe and tremble. 2:20 Are you willing to learn, foolish person, that faith without action is dead? 2:21 Was not Abraham our ancestor justified by what he did, by offering up Isaac his son on the altar? 2:22 You see that his faith and his actions worked together, and his faith was completed by his actions. 2:23 This fulfilled the scripture which says, “Abraham believed God, that was regarded as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 2:24 So you can see that people are justified by what they do, and not just by their faith. 2:25 Similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by what she did, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way? 2:26 Just as the body is dead without the spirit, faith is dead without actions.
Entry Filed under: Generosity