Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Wednesday - January 27th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 2:1-13
If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person,
but you say to the poor one,
"You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor" -
well, doesn't this discrimination show that your
judgments are guided by evil motives?
Robin Leach hosted the syndicated television show The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous from 1985 to 1995. His sophisticated accent added flair to his visits with some of the world's wealthiest, most successful people. Americans tuned in to see how the richest 1% lived. While each episode usually focused on the lavish estate of the person being highlighted, Leach often gave folks a glimpse at their extravagant cars, pets, yachts, vacations, and hobbies too.
The Pressman Toy Company created and sold a licensed Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Board Game for fans of the show. The game's goal was "to collect the most wealth by guessing the prices of a wide variety of unusual and luxurious items." Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it?
Human beings are enthralled with how wealthy and successful people spend their time and money. Something draws us to gold plated toilets and air-conditioned dog houses. For some of us, it allows us to judge "them" for their excess and opulence (first time I have ever used that word in a written piece - kind of proud of myself). Others of us peer into the rich and famous lives, dreaming about and drooling over such exciting lives lived in the lap of luxury.
Enjoying opulent (I did it again) things and experiencing luxurious living are not sinful. God often blesses people in amazing ways. Many of his humblest and most faithful servants in Scripture were rich. Our heart's attitude and stewardship of His blessing is the key.
The danger wherever we are on the socio-economic spectrum comes when greed, envy, and discontentedness with what we have overtakes our hearts and minds. James 1:1-13 warns us to check our motives when we feel drawn to people of wealth and influence to the point we ignore the poor and the powerless. Too many people come to a place where they cannot be happy unless they taste or brush up against the same fame and success as others. When that happens, we will be drawn to the well-dressed and well-connected and ignore the marginalized and those in need.
James warns us that when we (especially in the church) value the rich and famous more than the poor and powerless, we need to check our true motives. How about you? Are you so enamored with wealth and fame that you show more attention to those who have over those who have not?
Jesus never treated one group of people differently than another. He loved everyone equally. So should we.