The Value of People
The church is a society designed by the Lord to include everyone. We are commanded first to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30). From this love for God flows love for our brothers (1 John 4:21) and neighbors. God is not a respecter of persons; He shows no partiality in the covenant of grace. So why, then, do we size up people?
To prejudge someone is to determine his worth or worthlessness. The usual people of high value are the gifted teacher, the wealthy member, and the young family that will bring children or other young families. The needy who take up a lot of time and need a lot of discipling do not often find immediate favor in the church. Where does that leave the elderly widow(er)? She or he may be your best prayer warrior and the warmest greeter to visitors. A saint who is seventy years old or more who for his whole life has followed the Lord and lived for His glory is a powerful testimony of God’s blessings and His steadfast love for His saints. For those children at our church who do not have believing grandparents in their biological family, the elderly saints at church step into that role in a large way. The singles who befriend the new visitor, help the elderly, and give their time for missions or participate in work projects are of immense importance to the body of Christ.
One Body, Many Parts
Romans 12 teaches us that we are to understand that different people have different gifts, but we are all part of the body of Christ. The hand should not despise the eye or the ear the foot. We are all important, for we make up the jewels of Christ’s crown (Zech. 9:16; Mal. 3:16–18). We can easily tend to favor the new person, who we think may bring something wonderful and most needed to the life of the congregation. We may admire the accomplished businessperson or academic over the student or retiree or youth.
Can you imagine favoritism in heaven? Would the twenty-first-century saints avoid fellowshiping with the simplistic saints from, let’s say, the seventh century BC? It makes an absurd picture, doesn’t it? So, why practice that absurdity in the present? Christians are renewed in the image of Christ, and we can accept and are called to accept all people, regardless of their status, situation, or history. Jesus Christ in His earthy ministry went everywhere in Israel. He ministered to both believers and unbelievers. He showed compassion and mercy to all. He did not show favoritism, for God shows no partiality (Gal. 2:6).
We are adopted into the family of God. God loves us if we are true believers. Should we not have that impartial love for those in need of Christ, and especially to those of the household of faith?