Pause

Everyone has needs.
We need a comforting arm or a companion for the journey;
a safe dwelling place or a square meal;
a time of rest or rededication.
From every community, every family, every economic level,
people seek help,
a source of fulfillment for the things they lack.
God invites us into a life of abundance,
where all can be filled,
and where all will be called
to become helpers, too.

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Listen

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

James 2:1-4

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Think

It’s tempting to think we should learn not to notice the ways we are different from each other. If only we could train our ears not to hear people’s accents. If only we could train our eyes not to see skin color. If only we could train our brains not to realize that some people have more money than they can use, while others lack even enough for tonight’s dinner.

Sure, it’d be simpler just not to realize that we are different, but Christ’s body is a celebration of diversity, not a denial. It’s not the differences that cause problems; the trouble is what we do about them. When we notice differences, do we treat people differently? Do we decide that some people are more valuable, or more loved, or more welcome than others?

People bring their gifts to God in every language, from every heritage, and from every economic status. We are different, but we share this in common: God celebrates us, loves us, and values us all equally. We need to do the same.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

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Pray

God, you see the differences between people, but you don’t compare us; you see amazing worth in each one of us. Help me not to compare the differences I see, so I can love as you love. Amen.

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Go

As the hands and feet of God,
we put our faith to work in service to the world,
trusting in the One who has helped us,
named us,
and called us
to lead us to those in need.
Let us love as God loves:
with hands ready to get dirty,
with feet ready to walk far,
with eyes ready to see hardship,
with hearts ready to receive.
Let us love as God loves:
with lives ready to serve.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is an ordained Baptist minister, wife to a US Navy chaplain, and stay-home mom to two little boys. In every new duty station, she participates in church life from VBS to pulpit supply, and is regularly involved in women’s ministries and writing. She blogs seasonal devotions at The Ordinary Times.

The Giver

Clay Mottley

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