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Favoritism – who do we worship in it?
By Mike Stickler
3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,”
4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
In a lifetime (so far) of going to church, I have never seen a special row or pew set aside for the wealthy.But, I have seen entire churches set aside as such. Some might say that this is an astonishing statement. The problem is that, in fact, we have created entire ministry platforms and cultures around specific socioeconomic demographics. And some pay better than others.
Not only are our church planting models specifically targeted to these demographics; but they only work in specific ones, for example, a suburban, homogeneous, upper-class neighborhood.
Our ministry approach often follows more of an entertainment model than a discipleship model. The individual attention is given to those of affluence and influence. I believe this reveals our hearts. Hearts bathed in the worldly culture that surrounds us.
That said, I don’t believe there’s a person in church leadership today worth their salt that would say “I prefer a wealthy person over a poor person.” I also believe that they believe that statement to be an honest statement.
But the culture we create quickly drives us becomes structurally exclusive and show favoritism. It’s so insidious a process that one day in the not-so-very-distant future, we, as leaders, lose our bearings as to what is important to Jesus. Realizing this is possible, I can lose my way, too. I’m not immune.
How can we Christians forget for Whom we work? For Whom we live our lives?
My wife and I have a conscious, deliberate, and purposive practice of trying to spot the poor, disenfranchised, troubled, or hurting around us and approach them first ‒ in order to find out their back story to see how we can meet their needs at that moment. Then, help them feel they are favored by the Lord, which they are.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
I’ve shared with you just one practice that we have.
What practice can you share that you have that allows you to help others feel included and part of the culture, favored?
We could all use fresh ideas.
Write your thoughts and ideas down below.
About Michael Stickler
Michael Stickler is a highly gifted author, philanthropist, horseman and internationally sought-after conference speaker. His all-time bestselling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the Principal of Leadership Books and writes for many international publications.
His 2017 best seller, Cliven Bundy American Patriot, reveals the truth of what is known as the “Bunkerville Stand Off.”
And, now his 2019 book Life Without Reservation, is charging up the best sellers list! For the first time in his long career he is working on his first fiction book Ghost Patriot to be release in 2021.