I think that in many church fellowships in the prosperous first world the situation may be the reverse of what James is condemning here and we may find ourselves giving far more time and attention to the person who begins to attend with material and mental health needs than the one who is looking very comfortably off! However, many churches such as ours are independent and the great majority of what they have to use financially is given by church members. I attended a church which had three big givers as they were in jobs with high salaries and when they moved the church lost a great deal of its income. It is inevitable that we as humans judge with our eyes and so the person who wears good looking clothes and a decent perfume can be more acceptable to us than those who do not have the money to dress similarly. James condemns that superficial outlook and with it anything within a church building which is superfluous and only placed there to attract the visitor. There is even internal pressure upon the preacher to be gimmicky and I remind myself regularly of Paul's declaration: ''I decided that while I was with you (the church at Corinth) I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.'' Being involved in an active churches together in Callington, Cornwall, I met the Cornish Bishop fairly often and heard him preach several times. People loved his words and his charisma, but when you reflected on what he had said, there was little to take hold of! Beware superficiality and an unreflective nature!
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