NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: James 2:1-13
- What are some ways people show favoritism today?
- What are some ways we overlook the poor in the church today?
- What practical steps can a church take to ensure that all members have equal opportunities to serve?
Food for Thought:
Racism and prejudice are far more common than they should be among those who agree that “all are created equal.” Whether the distinctions we make are racial, socio-economic, religious or political, we often treat people differently because they are different than us. James taught that we should treat everyone the same.
Believers should not play favorites based on outward appearances. Racism and all other kinds of discrimination are sins. James gave an example that translates into our own church culture.
Believers were gathering for a meeting. Two guests joined the regular attenders for the meeting. Both apparently were new to the meeting because they needed help knowing where they should sit. One was outlandishly rich; the other was desperately poor. The rich man’s wealth was obvious. He had a “gold ring” on his finger and was “dressed in fine clothes.” By contrast, the poor man was desperately needy. Likely, he did not even own a change of clothes or a means to wash the one garment he owned.
When we discriminate between people, we are making judgment calls we have no place or authority to make. It is impossible to know what is in people’s hearts merely by glancing at their outward appearances.
Billy Ray Harris was homeless and panhandling at his regular spot on a sidewalk in Kansas City, Mo., when Sarah Darling dumped some change from her wallet into his cup. What she did not realize until later was that when she gave the money, her engagement ring slipped from her finger. Harris did not notice it either until he counted the money at the end of the day.
When Harris found the ring, he had a jeweler look at it, who offered him $4,000 for the ring. Some might have taken the money, but Harris decided not to. His grandfather, a preacher, raised him to be honest. He knew in his heart he had to return the ring.
When Darling realized the ring was gone, she went to Harris’ usual spot and was pleased with his response. He was waiting for her so that he could give it back. Sarah Darling shared his kindness on social media and raised $190,000 for him. He used the money to get a car, secure a place to live, and start a house painting business.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the internet at biblestudiesforlife.com.