" 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 weareth 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."
In this part of our studies on the general epistle of James's we shall be considering two major phrases, which are: "...sit thou here in a good place..." and "...stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool..."
...SIT THOU HERE IN A GOOD PLACE...
This statement is provoked by what the maker sees: he sees a "gold ring" and "goodly apparel or a gay clothing" Who ever is known with these is considered a rich man from the natural point of view, thereby counted worthy of a seat positioned in a good place. Such is treated as VIP. The man in our passage is thus considered because "gold ring and goodly apparel" are found on him. This is the usual and expected attitude that emanates from a canal man. The canal man sizes and judges man based on what he has not what he is before God.
Moreover, it seems as if no man can make this kind of statement from afar of...the maker thereof must be at close range with the person to whom the statement is made. This suggests that the natural man tends to be close to those who have silver and gold: it is easily noticed that rich people have more friends than the poor, infact every body wants to be close to the rich.
Brothers and sisters, this aught not to be so in the church. The gold ring and the goodly clothing should not determine who we are close. Surely, we shall have men with gold ring and goodly clothing in the church but let it not be heard of us that we are gliging and hovering around those that have it alone! No minister should develop closeness toward any member because he sees silver and gold with such.
Many servants of God have fallen prey of this trap...they pray and fast with all vigor for whoever they see money with: they visit and love owners of silver and gold with all zeal and energy but careless about the seemingly poor. This attitude has been justified by many through some fruitless philosophies. Also as individuals, if care is not taken, unknowingly, we would offer seat to men because of their gold ring and money: that is, we would sell our honour and respect for these. Any man can fall for this if caution is thrown into the wind.
This statement also suggests that the maker has welcome the man to whom it is made. The maker has received, accepted and sanctioned him! Offering a man a seat, shows accommodation and allowance. The maker has thus embraced the one to whom this statement is made. What earned this welcome? The gold ring and the goodly apparel! Nothing more! To me this is the most shallow attitude I know. To be thus swayed is canality and manifest shallowness. It means that no man is worthy of our acceptance that does not have silver and gold...this is unchristlike!
Furthermore, a seat suggests rest and comfort. Oh how we make the poor uncomfortable around us and the rich comfortable! Our Lord invites all who are heavy larden to come to Him for rest. Jesus never invited the full, rich and the satisfied. Where on earth did we get the idea of celebrating men because of earthly goods? May we see better!
When a man is asked to sit down, it means that he would be served and attended to...the man who asks him to sit down would give him attention...he would be listened to. How we give audience to men base on what we see on them instead of what is in them! SIT THOU HERE IN A GOOD PLACE! May We recognise that the church was not purchase by silver and gold...she should not be dislodged therefore by silver and gold. The "seat" in the church should not be purchased by any man with his silver and gold! Acceptance from the church should not be procured by money.
Friends, let all men look deep down and assess the inner cravens of his being whether he has or has not fallen here! Let our assembly start a deep search as to the positioning of men among us in the light of this studies!
Now we turn to the second phrase. To be continued
Emeka Joe Uzosike