THE SERVANT GENERAL
NO ONE IN NEED
SHOWING NO PARTIALITY
James tells us, “My brothers, show no partiality as
you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Jas 2:1). Then, just as now, people generally defer to or
show preference for the rich versus the poor man, for the
powerful versus the powerless in society (Jas 2:2-3). James
harshly condemns such attitudes, especially in Christian community:
“have you not made distinctions among yourselves and
become judges with evil designs?” (Jas 2:4). Those who
show such partiality to the rich are guilty of prejudice and
discrimination, which are never according to the ways of God.
Further, they have become judgmental, judging who is to be
accorded proper honor or preference, again contrary to the
judgments of God. Finally, they in effect have evil designs,
having self-serving motives, trying to curry favor with those
with money and power.
are also ignorant. They do not know that, even as we are all
equal in the eyes of God, God actually favors the poor.
God identifies with the poor, exalts the poor, and commands
His people to have a special concern for the poor. “Did
not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich
in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those
who love him?” (Jas 2:5b). This is why our Church proclaims
a preferential option for the poor. This is why we strive
to build the Church of the Poor. This is why our major work
is the No One in Need (NONe) movement.
with the poor is just a living out of the two greatest commandments--love
of God and love of neighbor. Who is my neighbor? Anyone who
is in need. How do I manifest love for God? By helping the
least of Jesus’ brethren. To be a Christian is to be
someone who loves the poor. “However, if you fulfill
the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall
love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.”
(Jas 2:8). We love God, we love ourselves, we ought to love
our neighbor, especially the poor.
Christians are a people who worship. But because of the intimate
connection between God and the poor, there is also an intimate
connection between our worship of God and our concern for
the poor. David said, “I will bless the Lord at all
times; his praise shall be always in my mouth. My soul will
glory in the Lord; let the poor hear and be glad. Magnify
the Lord with me; and let us exalt his name together.”
(Ps 34:2-4). David says he will bless and praise the Lord
always. He encourages others to worship the Lord. But see,
wedged right in between his words is his desire that the poor
also be a part of it, that they hear the good news and rejoice
in it, that they be gladdened by the hope that those with
power and money, like David, would be people of God who glory
in Him, and consequently help the poor.
we have our needs, and we turn to God, having faith that He
will help us. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps 34:5). We need
never be afraid for God is there for us. “Look to him
and be radiant, and your faces may not blush for shame.”
(Ps 34:6). We can always look positively to the future, filled
with hope, knowing that God always wants the best for us.
see, we need to look not only to our own needs but also to
the needs of the poor, for this is what God expects of us.
The poor cry out to God in their need. “This poor one
cried out and the Lord heard, and from all his distress he
saved him.” (Ps 34:7). The poor cry out, the Lord hears,
the Lord will save him from his distress, but the Lord
does that through us. God expects us to help the poor.
God gives us the privilege of being His instruments of salvation
cannot go to God just with our needs. We cannot worship
God but be unmindful of His beloved poor. We cannot expect
God to hear our prayers when we do not hear His direction
to help the poor. Our worship would be empty and not pleasing
at all to God. Isaiah said that true fasting is justice and
mercy to the poor. Only then can we call on the Lord and He
“But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are
convicted by the law as transgressors.” (Jas 2:9). Partiality
to the rich and powerful, and lack of preference for the poor,
is sin and transgression of God’s law of love.