For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that wears the gay clothing and say unto him, "Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, "Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? James 2:2-5
Friends, it was a cold winter's day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church was filling up quickly and as Sarah got out of her car she noticed fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked towards the church doors.
As she got closer she saw a man leaning up against the outside wall of the church. It looked as if he was laying down as if he were sleeping. He had on a long trench coat that was old and almost in shreds, he also had a hat that topped his head and it was pulled down so that you could not see his face.
He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet, he had cut holes in them so that his bare toes stuck out. It also looked as if he hadn't bathed in a long while.
Sarah and the other church goers assumed the man was homeless and asleep, so they all walked on by through the doors of the church. They took time to fellowship for a few minutes and someone mentioned the man laying outside.
The church people snickered and gossiped, and no one bothered to ask the man to come in, including Sarah. A few minutes later the musicians and worship leader began the Sunday morning service as they waited for the preacher to take his place.
Suddenly the church doors opened and the homeless man, hearing the music walked into the church and down the aisle. He then walked up onto the pulpit, excusing the song leader.
The congregation gasped and whispered among themselves as the man took off his hat and coat. Sarah's heart sank!
There stood their pastor... he had been the "homeless man." No one said a word as the preacher picked up his Bible and laid it on the pulpit. "Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today."
He then began singing the words to his favorite song, "If I can help somebody as I pass along. If I can cheer somebody with a word or song. If I can show somebody that he's traveling wrong. Then my living shall not be in vain."
When he was finished he asked his congregation this question, "IS YOUR LIVING IN VAIN??"
You see, several weeks previously, a man dressed appropriately and with a big smile on his face had visited this same church. Sadly, the minister was the only one who took the time to welcome and talk to the man.
The congregation's bigotry, prejudice and narrow mindedness were aghast that an "outsider" in their minds had attended their Sunday Morning Service. How the heart of Jesus must have broken and how he must have wept.
Friends, Jesus came to earth to give His very life for everyone that would accept Him. Neither race, nationality or appearance was ever given a thought, Jesus was crucified for ALL people!
The big question for us is, "When will we learn to love people as Jesus loved them? When will we accept those whom we feel are flawed or just different?"
It's time to bring our discrimination to the Lord, so that OUR LIVING WILL NOT BE IN VAIN!!
NOTE: If the Youtube address block comes up, just click below the song box and it should disappear.
I also added one of my favorites from Wintley Phipps: