“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism…Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: 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? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of Him to whom you belong?” (Jam 2:1-7)
The natural man is attracted by wealth, status and fame. The desire to be rich is deep in the heart of sinful man. We see nothing good in a life of poverty. But when Jesus came to earth, He chose to be a poor preacher. That was God’s sovereign choice. From His birth in a manger, to His burial in a borrowed tomb, Jesus chose poverty as a background for His ministry. Poor people understood Him faster than the rich ones. While on earth, He did not insist to be served, as a ruler of men. He did not use cash to buy food. He lived by faith in God. His Father provided all that He needed. The rich religious hypocrites doubted and mocked Him. They rejected His Gospel. They resisted and grieved His Spirit. They finally ‘succeeded’ to kill Him on a cross. But on the third day, according to His Word, He rose from the death. On the fiftieth day the Holy Spirit was given to His faithful disciples. The Church was born.
Jesus warned His disciples about the coming persecutions. He told them that they shall suffer for His name sake. They shall arrest some and throw them in prison. Others shall be killed. The evil spirit of religious pride shall oppose them. Pharaoh said: “Who is Jehovah? I don’t know Jehovah! I will not obey Jehovah!” Men die but spirits live on. It is easy to fall into the snare of prejudice, to respect the rich above the poor, even in the church. The rich men have money and the poor have faith. We like faith but we love money. Then money wins the battle of the mind. Then a stronghold of mammon takes over the soul. The worship of the idol competes with the worship of God. This grieves the Holy Spirit in the church. The rich people try to manipulate the pulpit. The snare is dangerous and real. Pray for discernment and for the power to remain pure and faithful to God until the end.
This is my personal testimony: All my life I was not ‘a materialistic’ person. I did not like excessive display of wealth even as an unbeliever. I preferred modesty in all things. That is why many people thought that I was a Christian. But I was not, and I told them so. As a doctor with a private practice, the temptation to give ‘special treatment’ to them who are wealthy was great. I remember the first time I read the above passage in the Book of James. I was convicted of sin. Then I prayed for forgiveness just in case I discriminated men based on their social status, education level or wealth. I asked the Holy Spirit to take control. I decided that from now on each patient that comes to my office will be treated just like Jesus was there. With each patient (I am not joking) I will make an offer. I will say something like this:
“What do you want? Choose one option! Christ and prayer or medical treatment? If you want Christ, I will pray for you, for salvation, deliverance or a miracle of healing. There is no bill for that. Just give thanks to God. But if you chose medical treatment, then you shall pay money”
Interestingly, the rich chose medical treatment and the poor ones accepted the prayer. The rich men were offended that I offered prayer in my medical office. Thank God it was my own private practice, so I could do anything I wanted. I will examine and treat them; give them the bill and they paid without grumbling. In this way I had enough money to pay my staff and other things. But thru the option of prayer for them that could not afford medical treatment, I opened a door for ministry that has not closed up till today.
May God help you to see the truth; to desire the praise of God instead of the praise of men; to desire faith above money and peace above fame! May the faith of the poor believers challenge you today!
In Christ I declare:
I do not discriminate any man!
I love God!
I love my neighbor as myself!
I honor all men as God’s creation!
In Jesus name