Love means welcoming people who can’t do anything for you

by Oct 16, 2019

Love means welcoming people who can’t do anything for you

by Oct 16, 2019

It’s amazing what we’ll do to sit up front in an airplane. We’ll fly in a cramped economy seat, flight after flight with the same terrible airline, because that’s how you build up status. If you get enough status, then you can get bumped up to premium economy seat with 2 inches more legroom. Maybe even first class!

I used to fly to Southeast Asia a lot. I racked up a lot of miles with an airline and got some status, so one day they gave me a surprise upgrade to first class. The gate agent had this twinkle in her eye when she handed me a ticket that said seat 2K. I boarded the plane, went to seat 2K, and … it wasn’t a seat. It was a private suite! Basically my own private cabin. It had a double-doors entrance. A big wide bed. A 40-inch TV. My own personal minibar. My own personal flight attendant, who treated me like royalty the entire flight.

When the plane landed, I was actually angry. I didn’t want it to end! That’s what status with an airline can get you. I keep giving my money to them, because of what they can do for me.

That’s how we operate in life. We tend to gravitate toward the people who can do things for us. People who are more rich than us. More influential than us. More famous than us. More popular than us.

Because we know that even if they don’t do anything for us, we get to bask in some of their reflected glory just by being around them. At a minimum, we get to drop their name. We give glory to people who can reflect some of that glory back to us.

And according to James 1, that’s sinful favoritism:

My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor person dressed in filthy clothes also comes in, if you look with favor on the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor person, “Stand over there,” or “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4)

We tend to make distinctions between people who can benefit us and people who can’t. And James says that’s not what love looks like:

Indeed, if you fulfill the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. If, however, you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:8-9)

We tend to welcome people who reflect well on us. People who are fun to be around. People who make us feel good, just being in their presence. People who make us feel comfortable.

Here’s the question James is asking: What kind of person makes you feel
un-comfortable? What kind of person would you rather not be around? What kind of person can’t do anything for you, but will probably suck life out of
you?

The world says you should avoid those kinds of people. You gotta cut off the energy vampires. All the people who suck the life out of you. Instead, spend your time with positive people who add life to you!

But James says energy vampires are exactly the kind of person God is calling you to love. Love means welcoming people who can’t do anything for you.