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  • Shawn Thornton

Don't Underestimate Their Value

Thursday - January 28th

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 2:1-13


Listen, my dear brothers and sisters:

Has not God chosen those who are poor

in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith

and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

James 2:5

When I was fourteen years old, a family friend got me hired to work during spring break for a local greenhouse. That turned into a job after school a few nights a week. I worked off and on for the owner, Mr. Coffman, of Johnsons Greenhouse and Flower Shop in Mishawaka, Indiana, throughout my high school years.

Before I could drive, Mr. Coffman would assign me on Saturdays or school breaks to help deliver flowers with Kyle, a thirty-something relative of his. While part of my responsibility was to run the flowers to the door during a delivery, Mr. Coffman made clear to me in private that Kyle could not read, and I was there to read street signs for him. He asked me not to embarrass my delivery partner in how I handled myself. I couldn't drive, but I could read. Kyle could drive, but he could not read. We made quite the pair as we went around for deliveries.

The Lord taught me an important lesson before I was sixteen. Kyle and his wife struggled to make ends meet for their young family. As soon as Mr. Coffman told me that Kyle could not read and that he was a father with elementary age kids that could read, I made some terrible judgments about Kyle. They were part of the working poor in our region. His literacy issues had left his work options very limited. Because of his situation, Kyle didn't impress me. Sadly, I looked down on him.

If I could work with others at the greenhouse, I tried to weasel my way into what they were doing. Kyle had little or no importance to me because he had little in material things and could not read. It wasn't till I had moved out of state to college that the Holy Spirit showed me the unChristlike attitude I had toward Kyle and others in my life in similar situations as his. Their lack of success caused me to judge, avoid, and, at times, belittle them to others.

In James 2:5, James asks a question of us. "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" We tend to dismiss people struggling in poverty. We can easily overlook and miss who they are and the gifts they offer to our world. Don’t underestimate their value to God.

We ignore the very same people Jesus sought out and celebrated. He saw both the financial and spiritual needs of others. Jesus went out of His way to be with them, spend time with them, and value them. God loves the poor and powerless. We cannot underestimate the level of value He gives those who others (including me) devalue.

How do you value those who have little if anything to give or share with you?

James makes it clear that Jesus values the poor and the powerless. We should not underestimate their value to Him!


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