2011-09-13 - Pecking Order
My family lives in the "country," where farm animals abound. Sometimes a neighbor's roaming roosters will venture up onto our front porch, to sample what we have put out for the birds. We noticed that there is one particular rooster, for which all the others will make way, hop down off the porch, and let him have his fill. In other words, he's at the top of the "pecking order."
Aren't you glad there is no "pecking order" in God's eyes? In His eyes, the person who sweeps the floors is just as valuable as the charismatic evangelist who has solid gold toilets. As Samuel teaches us, God doesn't look on outward appearance, but rather, at our hearts. Though American society seems currently to be obsessed with weight, and comedians and others too often mock people who are overweight, God isn't that shallow. In God's eyes, the heaviest person is just as valuable as the reed-thin one, and He doesn't care about race or gender, either. Though we Christians sometimes show favoritism to the famous, the wealthy, the popular or the attractive, that isn't God's way.
God has strong warnings about such favoritism, as expressed in James 2 (NASB):
James 2:1 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? 7 Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? 8 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY," also said, "DO NOT COMMIT MURDER." Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. (NASB)
And as the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3 (NASB): 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.
What God cares about is not the "externals," what we look like, where we hail from etc. Rather, what concerns God is our relationship with Him - and our behavior - which should reflect His character.
Dear Lord, we thank you that there is no "pecking order" in our relationships with You, and we ask that You help us to align our priorities, attitudes and behaviors with Your standards, not the world's.