No one is easier to love than God. God has no bad habits. God doesn’t “push your buttons.” God is always there when you need Him. No one is a better listener than God. No one is as creative as God is. God has no faults. God is stronger than all. God does not bicker with you.
God is the greatest employer our world has ever known. God’s employee benefits are unmatchable. God’s 401k program for us is the envy of all investors. God offers the best work schedule ever devised.
Unlike most employers, God never changes His goals. God never changes His mission. God never changes His vision. God offers the most stable positions. God’s company will never go out of business. It will never merge with another. It will never be sold.
God has His own risk management department. Like that of many companies, it is open and available to contact 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The head of God’s risk management division is Jesus Christ.
God’s employees are more diverse than grains of sand spilling from a hand at play. Some of them are tall and thin. Some are handsome, some are not. Some are short and chubby. Some are young and some are old. Some smile and some don’t. Some have been given the gift of listening while some have been given the gift of speaking.
Some of His employees are rough on the edges while some are polished. Some are translucent and some are opaque. Some are likable and some are not. Yet all of God’s employees are lovable.
In fact they are so lovable that one of His most important company policies is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But “God’s employees are not my neighbors,” you say. However, indeed they are your neighbors. Not only are they your neighbors, they are your coworkers. God employs “every tribe and language and people and nation.”
“That’s going too far,” you say? “I can’t love my neighbor, I don’t even like my neighbor,” you declare with firmness. Well, now wait a minute. God never said you had to like your neighbor, he said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Thank goodness God’s company has an employee handbook. This is the greatest employee handbook I’ve ever seen. It’s virtually written in stone. In an age where writers and editors add and subtract words and paragraphs on demand, and constantly publish and reprint updated books and policies, God hasn’t changed one word in His employee handbook in over two thousand years.
Now, that’s not to say that many wouldn’t want to make changes to God’s employee handbook. I thank God, that only He has the ability to make changes to it.
Unlike writers of our day, God had no editors. God says what He says, and we will accept it, lest shall we parish. God is the Chief Executive Officer of His company. Jesus Christ is His Chief operating Officer as well as the Chief Financial Officer. Yes, and Christ still is God’s risk management department.
God has no board of directors to answer to. God has no government bureaucracy to tie His hands up in red tape. God has no congress or parliament to report to.
God said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There were no “buts.” There were no, “unless’.” You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.
But how can we do that? There are so many people that we don’t like. There are so many people that are different from us. We don’t like the same things. We don’t like them because they are different.
We don’t like the color of their skin. We don’t like the way they talk. We don’t like the way they dress. We don’t like the people they like. We don’t like the food they eat. We don’t like the drinks they drink.
We don’t like the company they work for. We don’t like their employer. We don’t like their coworkers. Wait! But we all work for the same employer. We all work for God. Now admittedly, we may not realize that we work for God. They may not realize they work for God. Let us not forget, God employs “every tribe and language and people and nation.”
So why is it then that we all, here on this tiny, round ball of water and earth, can’t get along? The simplest answer is that we each, from birth, and in our natural elements, spend our lifetimes building walls.
We are constantly building walls. Everyday, we add another layer of brick. Everyday, we add another foot or two of wall. Everyday we place somebody on the other side of that wall. Regardless of whether or not we realize what we’re doing, we are nonetheless, doing it. Everyday we awaken, we plan and strategize how to build walls, how to make them taller, how to make them thicker.
Do you not realize that each one of us builds more prisons than any government? Every brick you add, every wall you build, adds another prison in which to hold those that we don’t like, those that we don’t love.
Who do we put in these “mental” prisons that we continue building each and every day? It is the ones we don’t like. It is the ones that don’t stand up to our idea of what beauty is. We lock up the ones that don’t measure up to our standard of living. We lock up the ones that are needy, the ones that are sick.
Everyday we cast another person or even another people into our prisons. If they don’t dress like we do, in they go. If they don’t talk like we talk, in they go. If they are poor and have no place to live, in they go.
Even family members imprison family. Some family members think they’re better than others. They see those who are less fortunate as less deserving. They think that family members that are not as successful as they are, aren’t working hard enough, that they aren’t smart enough.
Some don’t like the lifestyle of a brother or a sister. They’re ashamed of them because they don’t keep up with the Jones’ and drive a new car every couple of years. Every family builds prisons for their own family members. Some are built to keep them at arm’s length. Some are built so that they won’t be ashamed in front of friends.
Some family members who are able to break free from their prisons look back on those still there with disgust, untrustworthy, or simply unworthy. Though they themselves may have been imprisoned along with other family members, once they have broken free, they no longer wish to ever look back.
They have now become too good to return and visit that prison, to visit those family members that may still be there. they do all they can to keep others from visiting them as well. Now they are outside, looking in. No visits allowed. They are out.
They no longer want to be associated with those family members, still imprisoned, still, less fortunate as they. The sun never sets without each of us adding another brick to that wall, to that prison we have built for those we dislike or are ashamed of.
Do you not think that prisoners themselves build walls? Do you not think that those who may be less fortunate than we, also build walls. Think about it for a moment. If you were the receiver of such coldness and dislike, wouldn’t you want to build a wall to keep your oppressors out? It can never be repeated enough. God said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Instead of waking each morning trying to figure out how to add another brick to that wall, how to build yet another prison, for those we don’t like, for those we don’t agree with, for those that don’t measure up to our standard of living, instead of doing that, we must strive to wake each and every day and plan and strategize on how to tear down those walls. We need to awaken each new day with a desire for and a plan for removing each layer of those brick walls.
James 2:8 “If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You Shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.”
However, here in this second chapter James, the half-earthly-brother of Jesus Christ, also convicts each one of us, just as he convicted those in the early church.
We are all guilty! We are all transgressors. James here says, “But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
Prior, in verse 4, he says, “have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?”
Have we not all judged? Have we not had evil motives? No! You say. But indeed, you have, we all have. Each and every moment where you and I place ourselves above our brothers and sisters, we have held evil motives.
Every time we look at a brother or a sister, a neighbor or a coworker, with disdain, with judgement, our motives are evil. If we hold them to a lower level of respect or a lower level of love, our motives are evil.
In convicting us here, James is helping us. He’s showing us the error of our ways. But more he gives us. He tells us how to overcome our evil motives. In this epistle, James is like a professor, a teacher. He offers us a real life example of how we show partiality to those different from us.
He then breaks out the company’s employee handbook and states for us, one of God’s most important company policies. It is simple and to the point, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Instead of building walls and prisons for those whom we have differences with, we should be building them up. *
*See:1 Thessalonians 5:11
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14:19 ESV)
These walls exist. We built them. We have dishonored the poor. (James 2:6) We have dishonored the heirs of God’s company, the heirs of God’s kingdom. (James 2:5)
We must begin tearing down these walls. We must begin to look at these heirs of God’s kingdom, for who they really are, our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, and our coworkers.
We must spend less time judging them, less time judging each other. We must be diligent to spend more of our time building them up, building up one another.
These are the good works that we must do. We do not do them because we must do them to be saved, we must do them because we are saved already. We must share our inheritance with others.
We must give what is necessary. If one is cold, we must give our coat. If one is hungry, we must feed them. And just as important as these things are, we must also respect them, we must treat them as worthy heirs of God’s kingdom.
“Listen my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5)
Without these works, our faith is dead. (James 2:17) As an employee of God’s company we are saved. And because we are saved, we should work, work to save others. We should work to help more people apply for a job in God’s company.
Are you willing to continue in the employ of God, refusing to help the poor, the needy, refusing to help build up others? Without the work of Rahab, what would have happened to the messengers god sent into the city? Rahab worked because she had faith, not because she was looking for faith.
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