“There were five BMW’s, six Mercedes, two Porsche’s, one Bentley and two Jaguar’s in this lot,” said Dave after looking for a parking spot here in Jupiter, Florida, where he and I are living for a few months.
“And don’t forget,” I added, “our 2005 Toyota pick-up.”
“People were impressed,” laughed Dave.
The other day I returned a shawl to a local department store. It had been purchased to be worn over a sleeveless dress at my son’s wedding last month…and had I lost the 20 pounds necessary to zip up the dress, it would have worked out splendidly to cover my trembling triceps. Since that depressing weight-loss-thing didn’t happen, I was forced to wear a different dress—one with long sleeves—that resembled a parachute more than something classy.
Handing the shawl to the lady at the cash register, I laughed as I shared that same explanation when she asked if anything was wrong with it. She stared at me like I had asked permission to break her kneecaps.
Perhaps she is having a bad day, I told myself.
Apparently, a lot of people in this part of the country are having bad days.
My girlfriend Alice and I went to lunch last week. Our waiter was gruff and there only to get a tip. When I told Alice he was a snob, she agreed.
“Perhaps he is having a bad day,” I told my friend.
“Probably not,” she answered. “You’ll get used to it.”
I’m not so sure. I don’t do well with hoity-toity people…until, that is, I have to face facts, come off of my high horse and ask myself if I could be a slice of that snob pie. After all, Christians are not exempt. Do we, for example, subconsciously place the pastor on a spiritual level superior to the church custodian? Do we praise the soloist with the flawless vibrato while ignoring the couple who faithfully hand out bulletins week after week? Do we whisper excitedly when the millionaire walks through the church doors but ignore the mentally-challenged woman who ambles to the front for prayer?
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. (James 2:1) There is a story about how (then) Governor Ronald Reagan and Nancy sat in the same seats when they attended California’s Bel Aire Presbyterian Church. One morning, when they were late, two college students occupied their seats. An usher came down the aisle and asked the students if they would move. They did, and the Reagans were brought in and seated. To his credit, the pastor got up from his place on the platform, walked down to the college students and said, “As long as I am pastor of this church, that will never happen again.” He understood James 2: 2-4 (ESV): For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
I cannot fathom favoring one person over another, at least not until I honestly search my heart and wonder if my attitude towards rude department store personnel and waiters is my way of setting myself, in some snobbish, judgmental way, a notch or two above them.
Surely not, I tell myself.