What happens if we honor only those who are materially rich.

  • The poor reject us and the church
  • The rich reject us and the church
  • God rejects us and the church

When we prioritize the wealthy, we all lose. But there is a way for all to win. Let’s see how James directs us so that the poor, the rich, God, and we all win. In James 2:5-7, James tells us that: 


God honors the poor: “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (5). James is not teaching that God saves all poor people, but that God saves regardless of wealth, and that more poor people are saved than rich people.

You dishonor the poor: “But you have dishonored the poor man” (6a). James is not accusing all Christians of this, but it’s certainly true of many.

Measure people by their faith, not their finances.

Yes, but what if we get rich people into the church? We’ll have both social credibility and finance for mission. Really?


Let’s see what the rich generally do. Again, this is not true of all rich people but of rich people in general. There are, of course, rich people who are godly and have been a great blessing to the church. This is a general truth, to which there are exceptions.

The rich dishonor you: “Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?” (6b).              

The rich dishonor God: “Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?” (7).       

Favoring the rich incurs the disfavor of God.

So, who should you prioritize in your evangelism, your mission and vision?


Honor those who are rich in faith with no regard for their wealth.


Great God, you are rich in every way, and yet you have a huge heart for the poor. We praise you that you save regardless of social status and that you go out of your way to save the poor. Please share your heart for the poor with us.

We confess that we often do not share your heart for the poor, and instead our hearts are towards the rich. We honor them and seek their favor thinking that it will help the church. We must admit, however, that this has rarely worked as a mission strategy. The poor lose, the rich lose, and ultimately you lose.

We pray that you would save the poor despite their poverty and the rich despite their riches, and that you would make us all poor in spirit that we may be rich in faith.

Above all, make us like Jesus who embodied your heart for the poor. Make us willing to be poor as long as we can have the rich Christ. Amen.

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