Daily Devotional

True Success

by Simon Whitton

1 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.
2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.
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?
5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
James 2:1-5 (NIV)

Success in most cultures is judged primarily on how wealthy a person appears to be.  We may look at a few other things, but mostly our culture tends to judge people by how they are dressed, their job title, car, house, travels and education.

Unfortunately, it may not be much different in the church.  People are often given respect based on the assessment of their wealth.  There is sometimes a misconception that the prosperous are blessed by God and that they have God's seal of approval.  We may think they've been blessed because they did something right.

16 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases;
17 for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.
18 Though while he lived he counted himself blessed-- and men praise you when you prosper--
Psalms 49:16-18 (NIV)

When we assess ourselves, we may use the same flawed approach.  If we are prosperous, we think we are blessed and have God's approval.  This can give us misplaced self-confidence, like someone who brings the works of their hands as an offering to God.  On the other hand, if we are poor or experiencing failure, we may think we don't have God's blessing.

We may find that we look down on the poor and believe they have failed in some way.  In some cases the rich can even have contempt for the poor.

The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.
He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.
Proverbs 14:20-21 (NIV)

Jesus knows what it's like to be shunned, to be despised and rejected by men. When we despise the poor, the suffering and the rejected, we despise and reject the LORD.  He is drawn to the weak, to those who fail and are poor.

Looking at his disciples, he said:
"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Luke 6:20 (NIV)

The poor are more likely to be rich in faith.  True success is 'trusting in the Lord and doing His will', regardless of status.  That's how we experience the kingdom of God.  That should be the goal that we chase after in our lives, and that's what we should respect in others.

Spend some time in prayer and confess where you have shown favouritism towards the rich, or looked down on the poor.  Pray that you will not judge people by the world's standards, but that you will see people through the Lord's eyes; and that you will view success in terms of a relationship with the Lord.

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