My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? (James 2:1)
I imagine that some of our earliest memories are about some form of favoritism: having our hearts broken when we were no longer someone’s “best friend,”; jockeying to be the favorite student of a teacher; working extra hard to be the coach’s favorite player; ingratiating ourselves to be the favorite niece or nephew to a generous aunt. School life and work life is often about being the favored one by a teacher or supervisor over others.
Although some form of favoritism influences many aspects of our lives, today’s scripture tells us that it’s difficult to maintain our faith in Jesus while indulging in it.
With Jesus, there’s either no favoritism or total favoritism. Either none are His favorites, or all are. Jesus came to do away with any particular favoritism. He came for all equally, loved all equally, died for all equally, and was raised for all equally.
If we’re used to being favored, this “none are favorites, or all are favorites” message may be challenging to hear. But think about it—would we really want a Savior who played favorites? If Jesus played favorites, it would be possible that we could drop out of favor. Let’s not go there.
If, however, we haven’t been favored much during our life, this “none are favorites, or all are favorites” message is going to sound like very good news. Isn’t it better to be a favorite of Jesus more than anyone else?
One of the reasons why we want favoritism is that we think that if we’re favored, we’ll get more than someone else. I encourage us to know that this is never the case with Jesus. He gives his total love and grace to all. With Jesus, there’s no back or front of the bus. With Jesus, there’s no Junior Varsity or Varsity. With Jesus, there’s no second-class or first-class. Jesus has nothing but favorites, one and all.
- Have you ever been favored over others? If so, what was that like? Have you ever been disfavored? Again, what was that like?
- Have you ever indulged in acts of favoritism with others? If you have, how are you going to deal with today’s message that “none are favorites, or all are favorites?”
- The disciples hoped that Jesus would choose His own favorites among them. They had a hard time believing that He loved them equally. Are you ever like them? If so, what would it take to believe and to celebrate that Jesus doesn’t love you anymore nor any less than anyone else?