Things aren’t always fair down here, but they ought to be. The poor don’t get the same treatment as the rich, and minorities are often pushed to the margins.
We love a good David-and-Goliath story. We like to see Cinderella make it to the big dance. We love the Rudys of the world, the underdogs, the outmanned, outmatched, and overpowered. Occasionally, we like to see the little guy winning and the big guy begging for mercy. We like to see the tables turn, as the saying goes.
In a sense, that’s what heaven will be like. It’ll be a place where God obliterates differences. No big guys and little guys. No rich and poor, no ethnic divisions, no upper class, middle class, and lower class. And James suggests that we get a taste of that on earth as well . . . in the church, the fellowship of believers.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits (James 1:9-11).
James is speaking of a reversal of status that believers experience in fellowship with Jesus. The poor are exalted, the rich are humbled, and all stand on equal ground in the body of Christ.
There’s a good lesson there for us in the church. We’re not as class conscious as James’ world was, perhaps, or at least the classes aren’t as clearly—and openly—defined.
But we sometimes still let the world lead us to make differences where there shouldn’t be any. Sometimes the church can become clique-ish, with small bands of believers huddling up to the exclusion of others who are different in some way.
James specifically mentions money, but his point applies to any way that leads us to elevate some and exclude others. He reminds us that because we’re Christians we should ignore the superficial distinctions the sinful world creates.
Out there—in the fallen world—it shouldn’t surprise us to see all kinds of egotistical and exclusive groups based on arbitrary markers of “belonging.” But in Christ, we’re made one by his blood. One.
To paraphrase Paul, we’re not black, white, or Latino. We’re not the in-crowd versus the socially awkward. We’re not the haves and the have-nots or the white-collar and the blue-collar.
We’re Christians. We’re one in the blood of our Lord and Savior.
The ground is level at the foot of the cross, which means it ought to be level in the body of Christ as well.
Let’s be sure to avoid the temptation to make distinctions that the blood wiped away.