Rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom. James 2:5
Devotion: 3 of 7
READ: James 2:1-13
This is who God is – He loves His creation, the world and everyone in it (John 3:16). He gave His Son as a once for all sacrifice so everyone can be saved (Romans 5:8). He is showing patience waiting for everyone to come to repentance before Jesus returns (2 Peter 3:9).
God is interested in everyone and shows no partiality. Elihu was reminding Job during a time when Job had lost everything and his circumstance was hopeless and said “…He (God) is not partial to princes, nor does He regard the rich more than the poor; For they are all the work of His hands.” Job 34:19
In our reading today it takes us to the book of James where in my Bible it has a heading “The Sin of Partiality” and describes the scene of two people coming into a gathering – one was rich and the other poor. Last week I mentioned that helping people can be messy and even complicated, so it can be easy to choose how to respond between the two, as James predicts what we would say to the rich man “’You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’” James 2:3.
I believe we don’t have an option of choosing who to help or dismiss. If God isn’t partial towards people, we shouldn’t be either. But helping people is just not about giving someone food, clothing or shelter, we need to feel the urgency that they need to know Jesus. Without Jesus we all are living in poverty not materially, but spiritually.
The poor can be rich and have an inheritance when they come and follow Jesus. The greatest help we can give someone who is without Jesus is to assist with their need and share our faith. Helping people is about looking at the whole person in the same way God looks at people: both the outward and inward appearances matter.
When we start helping people for both their material and spiritual needs, not everyone responds in appreciation as we would expect. It’s a good thing that we are not doing this to make us feel better because we helped someone. It can be quite confusing receiving a negative response, which usually is an indicator that what we thought they needed, is not really what they wanted.
The approach to helping people should come from a view of responsibility – that is who are we responsible for and responsible to? This makes all the difference when we are helping people and the person in need decides to not accept our help.
Our responsibility is TO the person and not FOR the person. We are called to be helping people because Jesus was called to help people, so our responsibility is TO the person. We are responsible TO help them. It becomes a lot harder when we find ourselves being responsible FOR people and this approach will eventually hurt them.
Trying too hard to make someone accept our help because we know they need it, is not helpful. People will make their decisions whether we think they are right or wrong. We cannot be responsible FOR the decisions and actions people choose, it’s their choice and the freedom God has given to everyone.
The more I reflect on how I can better help people who live near me or are living in another country, I see how difficult this really is. We are working with people who God loves and are able to accept or reject our help with the material and spiritual things. But we cannot allow how people respond to make the decisions for us when helping, as we are all asked by God to make a difference in someone’s life.
They (the church) desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do. Galatians 2:10
When you are praying today, continue to ask God how you can be helpful without being partial to certain people. To do this we need the Holy Spirit’s help to enable us with His power to help people who are messy and complicated.
Understanding who we are responsible TO and FOR makes all the difference to pursuing this call of helping people. It will change our approach and will avoid the feeling of disappointment when our help is not appreciated.
It’s like the relationship we have with God who we know loves us and helped us through Jesus – He has a responsibility TO us, making it possible to be in relationship with Him. God isn’t responsible FOR us, because He has given everyone a free will to make decisions. The amazing thing with God is – He never gives up on us!
Take a different approach if you are finding that helping people is too hard because of a negative reaction or the response was not what you were expecting. See helping people as something God has called you to do and through your giving share more about Jesus so both the outward and inward of the person is being restored. Avoid taking the easy road when helping people and not be partial towards some people while others are left out. God loves everyone and so should we.
You can make a difference through helping people.