Witnessing Risen Christ in the Workplace
Vs.1 "My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?"
Discrimination is a major issue of our culture and time. In his book "Black Like Me", John Howard Griffin, a white journalist narrated what he discovered and encountered by living as a black among the white man's culture. The people were often treated as less than human. Polarized conditions exist in all spheres of life in the society. Favoritism, discrimination, preferential treatment, partiality, bias and sexual discrimination are very common.
In today's text James warns the church against favoritism and the evils associated with it. Prejudice and preferential treatment in the church forced James to address these evils and had reasons to admonish them. We serve a Glorious Lord, the Risen Christ. The word of God tells us that there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Col 3:11). Peter had to be taught this truth through his vision. (Acts.10:34-35) We are created in the image of God. We have to bear that image and character at all times and occasions. We have been redeemed and sanctified to serve the risen Christ. We cannot taint the image of our creator and redeemer by our actions.
James continues to caution the believers that we are no one to judge others. Mathew 7:1 tells us about the dangers of judging. (John 7:24) We judge people on how they look, how they talk, how they dress, how much money they have and a whole range of other things. But God does not look the outward appearance. Anointing David as the king of Israel God tells Samuel “Man looks at the outward appearance, the Lord looks at the heart". (1Sam 16:7) Judging others we are despising those who God had honored. By showing favoritism and partiality a believer is breaking the Royal Law. (Matt.22:36-40, Rom.13:8-10). Breaking any part of the law, we are guilty of breaking all the law. We will be judged by the Law of Liberty. (Matt.6:14-15).
Do not base value judgments on appearances. Unconditional acceptance of other people is the Godly standard. The barriers are broken down on the cross. (Gal 3:28, Eph.2:14).Treat each other with respect, honor and love. The diseases of pride, prejudice, discrimination, hatred and favoritism need to be rooted out of church, work place and society. The cure for the plagues of the society is shown on the cross by risen Christ. All what we need to use is the love shown on the cross. Once Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach, was asked what the secret of winning was. The answer" if you are going to play together as a team you have got to care for one another. You have got to love each other". (Leadership Magazine) Our savior, the risen Christ want each one of us that feeling, love and care for each other. That makes the church, work place and the society a class free zone.
Almighty Lord, thank you for your son and our savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for the sacrificial love showed on the cross that saved me, a sinner. Help us to love and accept our fellow beings as you loved all your creation. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
God's measuring stick is very different from the world's measuring stick. (Isaiah. 55:9)
M.C. Varughese, Epiphany MTC, NY
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church