Friday, February 2, 2018
Download MP3 (right click to save)
The bad news that I got at the airport was that my flight had been canceled, and the airline I was booking on couldn't get me to my destination in time for the meeting I was supposed to speak for. But the good news was that they found me a seat on another airline. But the bad news was that it was an airline I had barely heard of; I wasn't sure what to expect. But the good news was, it was an airline with a wonderful difference from all the others. There was no first class section, but every seat was as wide as a first class seat! And instead of the plastic plates, and paper napkins, and average food--or any food--I was used to in economy class, I got (well, we all got) china plates, cloth napkins, a real meal. I mean like they usually get in first class. That was the kind of treatment you would only get if you've paid for those expensive seats up front. But what a great concept this particular airline had: treat everyone as if they're first class!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Everyone's First Class."
That kind of treatment may be unique for an airline, but it's supposed to be standard operating procedure for people who belong to Jesus Christ! After all, we're followers of a Lord who, according to the Bible, is "no respecter of persons."
This kind of non-discriminating way of treating people is illustrated and encouraged in our word for today from the Word of God, beginning in James 2:1. "As believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, 'Here's a good seat for you,' but say to the poor man, 'You stand there' or 'Sit on the floor by my feet,' have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? ...If you keep the royal law found in Scripture, (James says) 'Love your neighbor as yourself, ' you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin." When you love your neighbor as you love yourself, when you treat each person as you would want to be treated, you'll be giving everyone first class treatment.
The challenge is to make sure we don't have people in our life divided into two categories like airplanes do. OK, over here are the people I treat special, and here are the people I give them something less than my best. See, our human nature tends to turn it on a little more when the person has some money, or when they're physically attractive, when they're 'important', when they've got a great personality, when they're like us, when they can help us in some way to look good or to feel good.
And there's also something in our human nature that sometimes wants to do as little as possible with the people society classifies as maybe 'losers', or with the unattractive, or with the needy, or the different. We're surrounded by people who feel ignored, passed over, rejected, unheard, unnoticed, uncared for. Those are the very people Jesus seemed the most attracted to. As you read the Gospels, you get the distinct feeling that every person Jesus was with felt very, very important when they were with Him. And you follow this Jesus.
It's part of developing Christlikeness to examine our heart for any pockets of discriminating between people, to identify the people we've been assigning to second-class treatment. When you're like Jesus, every person is made to feel like they're the only person in your world at that point because they're with you.
Whether it's an airline or a person like you, when everyone is treated like they're first class, you'll be remembered. Make sure there's only one section for all the passengers in your life...that's first-class.