Playing Favorites

 

Theme: Showing partiality is a sin. - Proper 18 (23) Yr.B, 15th Sunday after Pentecost
Object: A large box of crayons (a shoebox, for example)
Scripture: My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.... If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. James 2:1, 8-9 (NIV)

It's back to school time again. It is such an exciting time of year. You will be meeting new kids and learning a lot of new things. Are you ready? Do you have all of the school supplies you need? One thing that many of you will need is a box of crayons. I brought my big box of crayons with me this morning.

Look at all of my crayons. I have a lot of them and they are all different sizes and colors. Some are sharp and some of them are a little dull. Some have strange-sounding names. Some of my crayons are brand new and some have been around for quite a while. The wrappers on some of them are fresh and clean while some of the wrappers are torn and dirty.

You and I could learn a lot from these crayons. Even though they have a lot of differences, they all fit very nicely in the same box. That is a good picture of the way the church should be. The people that make up the church come in all sizes and colors and some may have strange-sounding names. Some are old and some are young. Some are pretty sharp and some may be a little dull. Some are dressed in very nice clothes while others may wear clothing that is a little soiled and worn.

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote in the Bible that the followers of Jesus should not show favoritism. He said, "My friends, if you have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, you won't treat some people better than others. Suppose a rich person wearing fancy clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn-out clothes also comes. You must not give the best seat to the one in fancy clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. That is the same as saying that some people are better than others. If you treat some people better than others, you have done wrong, and the Scriptures teach that you have sinned."

We must be careful not to show favoritism in our church. We are all God's children whether we are rich, poor, red, brown, yellow, black, or white. As James said, "You will do all right, if you obey the most important law in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves."

Father, help us to love one another as you have loved us -- regardless of the color of our skin or whether we are rich or poor. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.