There was a man who was walking along by the ocean one day and he came across a sea cave in the side of a cliff. And inside the cave he found a large sack filled with little balls of clay that looked like they’d been rolled up and left out in the sun to dry. So he picked up the sack and dragged it along with him as he walked. Every once in a while, he’d reach into the sack, pick up one of those balls, and just throw it as far as he could out into the water.
As he went on his way down the beach, the sack was getting lighter and lighter. It was almost empty when he accidentally dropped one of the balls which hit a piece of coral and shattered. And when he looked inside, there was, to his great surprise, a diamond! So he cracked opened another ball and inside was a ruby, then an emerald, and by the time he finished opening the remaining balls he found that every single one had a precious jewel inside. The man looked in his hands and was excited to see that he now had a handful of jewels, but then he stopped and realized how many of the balls he had thrown away because he couldn’t see what was inside!
It’s a bit like all of the people that come into our lives. If we could only see them the way that God sees them, if we could only see the precious jewel that’s inside of each one…I think it’s an important lesson for each of us because in God’s eyes all people are equal. No-one is better than anyone else, and as it says in James 2:1 “If you have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, you won’t treat some people better than others”. Then in v8-9 he says “You will do alright if you obey the most important law in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves. But if you treat some people better than others, you have done wrong, and the Scripture teach that you have sinned”.
We need to be careful not to favour some people because of the colour of their skin or background. We are born equal and in God’s eyes we are equal. God has no favourites. I like the bumper sticker that says “At the end of the day only kindness matters”. And that is very true. Jesus always displayed an outstanding level of kindness and fairness towards others in a society that was very cruel and sadistic. He loved and cared for people, and instructed His followers to be the same. And so the question we can ask today is – have I been kind and fair to others today? You can’t say you love Jesus till you love the people Jesus loved. Mark Twain knew the power of kindness when he said, “Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” That’s what God expects of us.
I Corinthians 13 in the New Testament is a well known Bible statement about love, and I recently came across this paraphrase:
I may have a brilliant mind,
a wonderful personality,
and a healthy body;
but if I am not kind to those around me,
it does me no good:
I may have a good income,
a beautiful home,
and an expensive car,
but if I am not kind and generous in sharing them,
I don’t make a difference in the world.
I may have great success in my business or profession;
I may have power and influence over many people;
but if I don’t treat people with kindness,
I am a failure.
Kindness is love in action.
Kindness is the pebble in the pond, whose ripples can change the world.
Having the faith to move mountains is great,
Having hope in bleak circumstances is wonderful,
But deeds of loving kindness transform lives and last forever.
I may have many wonderful qualities in my life,but without kindness
they are not enough.
Paul, in writing to the church in Rome, reminds us that, “God does not have any favourites” (Romans 2:11)
Favoritism is also UNREASONABLE
James goes on to write: “God has given a lot of faith to the poor people in this world. He has also promised them a share in His kingdom that He will give to everyone who loves Him.” (James 2:5)
By His mercy and grace, Jesus Christ receives each of us into His eternal family without favoritism. We are all equally loved and valued by Him.
Almighty God, your Son instructs us to treat other people as we want to be treated. It sounds so simple, but we realize that we often fail to live up to his standard. At times we expect others to treat us like royalty, while we treat them as if they’re less valuable or as if they’re objects to be used to achieve our goals. Forgive us for being callous. Forgive us for treating others with contempt. Forgive us for failing to live up to Jesus’ teachings. Help us not only to embrace the promise of the resurrection, but to learn from our Saviour’s gentle ways that we may become more like him. Amen.