Students sitting outside Bockman
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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

I am the 8th grade homeroom and religion teacher at Ascension Lutheran School. A common question from students sounds something like this: "Who is your favorite?" As a teacher and a mom (my middle child asks quite frequently if he is my favorite), I am intrigued by this seemingly human nature to want to be "the favorite." I do not necessarily think this is a bad thing for I believe that what lies underneath the question of favoritism is the yearning to be loved and accepted and important. When I hear that question, it signals to me that my children or my students need a reminder that I love them and that they are special.

The bad part, however, of this seeking favoritism is when it is lived in such a way as described in the book of James where there is outright favoritism for the rich over the poor. We live in a society where "favoritism" is often granted to the rich, the famous—or to a certain race or class or creed. Perhaps it is good to pause and ask ourselves what we favor and why? Is this a godly or ungodly favoring? And perhaps we could work at making everyone feel "the favorite" by seeking to make sure that those around us feel loved and accepted and important.

Dear God, forgive me when I have wrongly showed favoritism. Help me to love bigger and wider and deeper so that others may know they are love and accepted by you. Amen.

Tim and Chamie Delkeskamp
Ascension Lutheran, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Master of Divinity , 1998

James 2:1-10, 14-17 (NRSV)

1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?
2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in,
3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, "Have a seat here, please," while to the one who is poor you say, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet,"
4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?
6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court?
7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?
15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?
17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.