October 18, Friday

Devotional Thought for Today

“Who’s Got Talent?”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’

I was watching a couple videos of America’s Got Talent while babysitting recently. The premise of the show is that performers come before a panel of judges and demonstrate one skill or another that they’ve practiced. I watched one video in which the judges began by smiling politely at a young girl who was skinny and seemed nervous. Once her number started, a powerful voice suddenly erupted from her. The judges were shocked— flabbergasted to the point of dropping their jaws—and it was evident that they had severely underestimated her talent. (The girls I was with gleefully replayed that moment over and over again.)

While not a perfect analogy, Paul reminds us that we are also susceptible of determining someone’s worth, but God can easily overturn our prejudices. We gravitate easily towards external shows of power: beauty, strength, riches, education. However, we underestimate others who do not exhibit those same traits, and then we end up eating humble pie when we find out how God has actually equipped them and uses them powerfully! 

God often likes to remind us that we are too fixated on the outward appearance of things. He is not interested in our accomplishments and our attempts to impress Him through skills, talents, and looks. (In fact, to do so would be to completely miss the nature of how He gifted us with those in the first place). He has made grace a great leveler so that people we look down on—the foolish and the weak— are elevated, and we have nothing to boast of. 

Let’s ask God to change our vision of those around us. We may not always accurately gauge who He means to use, but when He imbues us with His Spirit, it is undeniable. Let’s ask for humility to not measure our fellow person based on what he or she seems to offer, but let’s ask God to give us discernment to properly value and honor a person’s capacity to glorify Him. 

Prayer: Father, I confess that I am guilty of judging my fellow brothers and sisters based on their strength and wisdom in my own standards. Give me Your grace to be reminded that none of us have anything to boast about; give me humility to understand that You often use those we underestimate. Help me to see Your people with Your eyes and not mine. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 19


Lunch Break Study

Read James 2:1-7: My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

Questions to Consider

  1. James recognizes that discrimination always happens, even within the worship service. What’s the problem with this kind of favoritism?
  2. James also asks the believers to think about both the present life and the one to come. How does that help us here?
  3. How do you discriminate against others, even in the church setting? Let’s reflect on how to apply this passage in our own lives. 

Notes

  1. Favoritism and discrimination are ungodly behaviors because we set ourselves as the judge of a person’s worth and value. God loves all His children, but when we show favoritism, we essentially try to override His decision on who is worthy of love
  2. While we might find people of a certain status compelling, we have not properly thought about how or whether we can live freely among them in this life. James mentions that the rich, who we love to show special attention to, give us no mercy on this side of Heaven; they also do not fear God and therefore do not practice justice correctly. We fail to understand that the poor inherit the kingdom, and so we are also being shortsighted when we do not consider what true success means in light of eternity.
  3. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

How did today go? Did God give you an extra measure of grace and vision for someone unexpected? Let’s ask Him to keep changing our perception of those around us and be humbled to see them used mightily in His kingdom.

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