James 2: 1 – 13
A few months ago, something a bit unsettling happened in our home. You may have heard of this affliction; in fact, you may have experienced it. It’s called the Terrible Threes, and it hit our happy family with the heat of a thousand suns. After one particular day in which my preschooler threatened to give me a time out and told me I wasn’t very nice, I commiserated with a friend. She admitted there were days (and sometimes months or years!) when she wasn’t crazy about her children’s personalities. Thankfully, kids change as they grow, so her “favorite” child was always changing . . . not that she would ever admit to having a favorite.
Not so with Jacob, whom we read about in Genesis chapter 37. The Bible says Jacob loved Joseph more than his other children because Joseph was born to him in his old age. Jacob must have missed the parenting class where they tell you not to show favoritism, because he decided to give Joseph a fancy robe, which added to the brothers’ ill will toward their younger brother.
So when we read the above verse by itself, it seems innocent enough. Jacob sent Joseph to check on his older brothers—how kind and caring of Jacob! But because we know the background, we know there was a fierce case of sibling rivalry going on, and Jacob was only stoking the fire. The older brothers didn’t want to be monitored by baby brother, and they certainly didn’t want him reporting back to dear old dad about what they were up to.
Joseph’s story—at least this chapter in his story—does not end well. But we learn a valuable lesson from Jacob’s mistake: don’t show favoritism. Whether it’s with family members, your employees, or friends at church, just don’t do it. It sets them up for failure and it’s dishonoring to God.
DIG: Read James 2:1–13. What does this passage say about showing partiality?
DISCOVER: Do you unconditionally love the people God has placed in your life? How would they say you make them feel when you’re with them?
DISPLAY: If you have children, purpose to spend one-on-one time with each of them this week, reminding them of your love for them.