James says, “don’t show favoritism.” He’s not talking about giving one person two cookies and another person one cookie. He’s talking about respect. Don’t respect one person over another based on what they wear or what they have.
We know this because the next thing he writes is about honoring a man that comes in dressed well with nice jewelry over one that comes in dressed in shabby clothes. They offer the man that is dressed well a good seat, but they tell the other man to stand over there or sit in the floor.
Now I don’t see us telling anyone that comes into our church to stand over there or sit in the floor, but here’s what may be a more relevant scenario for us. A neat, cleanly-dressed family comes in the door of our church. The children are well-behaved and polite. Then a single mother comes in the door. She’s dressed more appropriately for the night club than church. Her children are wild. One grabs all the candy during children’s church and another drinks from the baptistery. None of them say ma’am or sir, please or thank you.
Now, which family are you going to ask to come home with you for a meal?
While appearances can be deceiving, more than likely, it’s the single mother and her kids that probably need a meal more than the well-dressed, well-behaved family.
Taking care of the wealthy, more affluent looking people is what the world does. We, inside our community that shares in our belief in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ should be different from the world. We are called to be different from the world and we should not discriminate amongst ourselves.