Remember Where You Started
Read James 2:6-7 (ESV)
But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
Do you remember what you were like before you came to know Christ? Do you remember the humble beginnings of your walk with God?
We see it all the time. People achieve success and forget their humble beginnings. They take too much credit for their success and forget the people who helped along the way. They forget where they came from. Unfortunately, believers sometimes do the same thing spiritually.
In today’s verses, James continued his admonition to avoid playing favorites and to stop showing partiality. He mentioned that the rich were oppressing the early church and blaspheming the name of Christ. There was a group of wealthy individuals who were exploiting poor Christians. And yet, the early church seemed to be showing the rich favoritism and disrespecting the poor among them.
Maybe they had forgotten just how spiritually poor they were before Christ. Maybe we forget sometimes as well. But we’d do well to remember. We were spiritually bankrupt before Christ. We have only been made rich by God’s grace.
In Psalm 116:12-14, the psalmist recognized that there is nothing we can give back to God out of gratitude for what He has done for us except offer Him worship and a life of humble obedience: “What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.”
God said as much Himself in Job 41:1, “Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.”
The fact is, all of us stand before God empty-handed. We are all poor. We can’t help ourselves and we can’t save ourselves. And yet, He has graciously given us all things.
All throughout Scripture, we see God’s heart for the poor. He wrote their care into His laws. And yet the greatest act of provision is found in the Gospel. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Friends, in Christ, we have our salvation and we are heirs of the King of kings! But we didn’t start off that way. May we never forget where we started. And may that remembrance impact the way we view and treat others who are in the same place we began.
Father, I know that I have nothing that I can offer You and nothing I can give to repay You. Before You, I had nothing that would save me. Nothing that would last. But in You, I have eternal life and eternal riches. I am an heir of the King. Remind me of where I started to keep me humble. Amen.