"My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 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? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?"
- James 2:1-7
Living in the city, you find just about every kind of person you can imagine. The city is no safe haven for the rich to retreat, nor is it a refuge for the poor. You'll find within less then five miles of each other:
Extreme wealth and poverty.
A wide range of educational levels; those with no high school diploma and those with Doctorates
Skin colors: black, white, and brown
Political, Worldview, and Cultural differences
So how do we actually see a local church united by Jesus alone? I think it comes down to us seeing the broader picture of James 2. That we view every person in light of what the Bible says, that every man and woman is created in God's image. That their identity is in Christ Alone, not their riches nor poverty, nor anything else.
As I spend time with people of all walks of life, I pray I treat all people equal in dignity: the way I listen to them, I look them in the eyes, I value what they have to say and offer.
I pray that I love and extend grace equally to everyone. May our church not show partiality to those people whom look and act like us, but may we love and serve people as Jesus does to us.
May our church be loving and gracious to the rich man and the poor man.
May our church be loving to those who believe differently than us.
May our church be filled with people who look differently than us.
May our church be filled with the picture of Revelation 7...a great multitude of people from every tribe, tongue and language.
May our church be a vision of heaven on earth, people who have been redeemed and united by Jesus gathered to worship him alone.
- Pastor Boyd