Scripture: James 2:1-13
Key verse: (1) My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?
Reflection: Today is Labor Day. The day became a national holiday in 1894 and was set aside to honor American workers by giving a day of rest and celebration. In the late 1800’s the Industrial Revolution had brought advances in mechanization that resulted in a proliferation of factories. Many Americans (including many children) worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week. As workers fought for just wages, safe working conditions, and reasonable hours, Congress passed an act to make the first Monday of September “Labor Day.” We often forget the origins of the holiday and instead focus on the end of summer with a picnic and one last day at the pool.
In today’s passage, the writer of James challenges the early Christians to treat people without favoritism. Imagine the scene: two people arrive for worship, one wearing gold rings and fine clothes, the other wearing dirty tattered clothes. It’s tempting to show favoritism and to treat them differently. James calls Christians to care for each person without partiality.
On this Labor Day, how can we live out the call from James? Think about the workers who serve around you all the time. Cleaning crews, cashiers, construction workers. Bus drivers, landscape crews, restaurant employees. How do you treat them? Do you know their names? Do you ask them how they are doing? Do you sit beside them in a crowded place or do you avoid them? Who do you gravitate to at a social gathering – the rich or the lowly? Let’s live out the call from James today and every day so that our actions reveal our faith in Jesus Christ who shows no partiality in his love for humanity.
Prayer: You have poured out your love on all of us, O God. Show me the person today who needs to experience your love through me and give me the courage to show that love without partiality. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].