Advent: December 15, 2021

James 2:1-6 (ESV) My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man

From the first temptation, as it came flying at our parents like a flaming arrow, mankind’s tendency has been to want more. More knowledge. More stuff. Because having access to everything in the world except one tree, was just unacceptable. 

That temptation to get more as led to untold disaster. 

For some reason, and perhaps it is exactly the events in the garden that led to the death and destruction of so much, God has identified with those who don’t have an overabundance and don’t seem to be driven to get more like others are. 

Don’t confuse this with the socio-economic realities of the western hemisphere. Strive to dwell within the framework of the biblical text. 

James tells us that those who don’t have material goods or superior knowledge or world-class exposure to the systems of the globe are RICH IN FAITH, and God has chosen to give that rich faith to those precious folks. 

God identifies with those who don’t have so much that the eternal plan of redemption is supremely glorious.  The eternal plan is for Jesus, the Son of God, to enter time and space NOT in a palace, but in a stable to a single mother engaged to her husband who, in spite of the unlikely story, kept his engaged bride to be, and worked hard to provide a living as a carpenter for Mary, Jesus, the other kids they would have. Jesus came taking no advantage to himself. God identifies with people who are rich in faith rooted in this message. 

These truths of Scripture tell us something about having more and having less. We strive to get, get, get, get, and in the process get frazzled or greedy or become so disconnected from God’s heartbeat that we forget the place where faith is richest…in less. 

That’s not to say by any stretch that the accumulation of wealth and knowledge is innately evil. No way. But the accumulation of wealth and knowledge creates many struggles and heartaches. Some with “less” don’t have these hardships and in many cases are happier for it. No doubt having “less” has its own challenges, but faith might not be one of them. 

Remember, at this Advent season, Jesus came with no advantage and invites us to a life of faith with less but is rich in knowing God. 

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV) Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

Advent. Jesus came, he came with less, and he makes the riches of knowing God available to those who want him rather than more things that are temporal in nature and joy. 

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