“…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…”
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,”
James gives a hypothetical illustration in this verse whereby a church invites the wealthy person into a seat of honor. They give special attention to the rich man but no particular attention to the poor man.
The words “pay attention” come from one Greek word composed of two words: upon and to look. When the rich man walked into the church, they gave him special attention – they look upon him. They looked at him with envy and deference.
and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool
A second man walks into the church who is poor. There is no mention of any special “attention” given the poor man other than a couple of off-hand remarks about where he should sit.
These phrases are an indication of blatant prejudice. The church cannot honor or dishonor a poor man any more or less than the rich man.
It is a dislocation of values to measure people by material wealth.
We show the dislocation of our values when we judge people by their material wealth. Eternal values are much more important than temporal values.
When we defer to people of wealth because we envy what they have, we show our true values. We favor wealthy people because we envy them.
Ac 17:16-18 “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”