Suppose someone comes into your ·church meeting [gathering; assembly; C the word can mean “synagogue,” but here refers to a house church gathering] wearing nice clothes and a gold ring. At the same time a poor person comes in wearing ·old, dirty [shabby; filthy] clothes.
Don’t ever attempt, my brothers, to combine snobbery with faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ! Suppose one man comes into your meeting well-dressed and with a gold ring on his finger, and another man, obviously poor, arrives in shabby clothes. If you pay special attention to the well-dressed man by saying, “Please sit here—it’s an excellent seat”, and say to the poor man, “You stand over there, please, or if you must sit, sit on the floor”, doesn’t that prove that you are making class-distinctions in your mind, and setting yourselves up to assess a man’s quality?—a very bad thing. For do notice, my brothers, that God chose poor men, whose only wealth was their faith, and made them heirs to the kingdom promised to those who love him. And if you behave as I have suggested, it is the poor man that you are insulting. Look around you. Isn’t it the rich who are always trying to “boss” you, isn’t it the rich who drag you into litigation? Isn’t it usually the rich who blaspheme the glorious name by which you are known?
My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?
For if there enter into your Beit HaKnesset (House of Assembly, shul, synagogue, shtibel) a man with gold rings on his fingers in expensive bekeshe (kaftan) and shtreimel, and there enters also an underpriviledged nebach, a kabtzen (poor person) in shmattes (rags),
If an affluent gentleman enters your gathering wearing the finest clothes and priceless jewelry, don’t trip over each other trying to welcome him. And if a penniless bum crawls in with his shabby clothes and a stench fills the room, don’t look away or pretend you didn’t notice—offer him a seat up front, next to you.
For if a man that hath a golden ring, and in a fair clothing, cometh in your company, and a poor man entereth in a foul clothing, [Forsooth if there shall enter into your covent, or gathering together, a man having a gold ring, in white, or fair, cloth, forsooth and a poor man shall enter in foul habit, or cloth,]
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