Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shaking Hands with the Rich

Every other Tuesday morning I have a meeting at 5:00AM. Since the meeting is about forty minutes from home, I typically try to find a place to crash and work after the meeting is over. By 7:00AM I'm looking for a place to work, and though I don't really enjoy it, Panera is one of the few places up and running by then.

Now, to speak ill of Panera is fighting words in our home. (My wife simply loves it and resents that I frequent--yet don't appreciate--it.) But there are two basic reasons I don't really enjoy the restaurant. a) I'm not real keen on paying $18.50 for bread and coke. b) I just don't feel like I fit in. On a typical Tuesday morning, I sit there in a t-shirt and jeans, plucking away on my laptop (not even sure how or if my phone can text message) while being surrounded by suits and business attire from people talking on bluetooth systems and snapping around their Blackberry's. I feel like I'm surrounded by money, power and prestige. I simply don't fill like I fit.

But I've also noticed something disturbing every time I have been there. I can't remember bumping into another man in the restroom who washed his hands on the way out. This surprised me. I'm looking at a man who is dressed perfectly (people from our church know I can never get my tie to hang straight), and simply look so "together." Yet they walk right out of the restroom without ever having washed their hands? I wonder, when they close their big deal on a hand shake, does the other person know all that is coming with it?

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with {an attitude of} personal favoritism. 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, 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," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?--James 2:1-4
Recently, God has smacked me around in two ways:

1) I am prone to being dazzled by gold rings and fine clothes. It's amazing how easily deceived I can be. If a person's appearance looks together, I foolishly assume their life must be too. God has convicted me that I sit in a room thinking I am surrounded by the rich, powerful and well-dressed. However, apart from the blood of Christ, they are poor, weak and naked. I should never set my aim to reach someone simply because I think they can be more influential or useful than someone else. God does not show favoritism. I should never look at a guy and think, "Wow, now that guy could do some damage for the kingdom!" For even if he comes to know Christ, it is not the issues of who he has "made himself" that will glorify Christ, but that which God chooses to do through Him.

2) But I also should not reverse discriminate. It is not just the rich who do not wash their hands. I need to look to the heart and realize no matter what they drive, wear or technology they employ, they have the same need for Christ. And while it is impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, Jesus also reminded us that God can perform the impossible (Matthew 19:23-26). God is not in opposition to the wealthy and neither should I be.

I should seek to preach the gospel and extend my hand to any man...regardless of where his hand may have been.


Darby Livingston said...

From where do you think the high five came? It requires less contact than a shake. :)

danny2 said...

i think i'd prefer giving "knuckles." then you don't have to touch the palm of the hand at all.

Anonymous said...

meet and greet is going to cause more anxiety next sunday....

Darby Livingston said...

Knuckles - kind of like the president and first lady?