My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. (James 2:1-6 ESV)
I imagine if James 2:1-6 were updated to reflect social media it would read something like this:
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man with 10,000 Twitter followers and a couple of books published decides to follow you and Twitter, and a poor chap with only his mom and grandma following him also decides to follow, and if you pay attention to the chap with 10,000 followers and say, “Thanks for the follow. You are amazing. Check out all my stuff and be sure to retweet how awesome I am to your followers”, while you say to the lonely guy…well nothing really (why would you talk to this dude?)…have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man.”
The problem in James 2 (both then and today) is that when you start focusing on the rich man you change your message to suit the rich guy and let the poor guy starve. You start trying to feed the ones that do not need it so that you can convince yourself that you’re more important than you actually are. If you’re writing, tweeting, and doing the book Face for the glory of God then your aim is to feed hungry souls the life-giving truths of God.
If God happens to expand your influence through a guy or gal with more influence than you retweeting your stuff, the goal is still the same—feeding the hungry. For me this provides a test for my heart and to decide if I’m writing for the correct reasons.
Am I just as excited when Roger the Shrubber (with all of his six followers) decides to subscribe as I am when Tim the Enchanter (with all 10000 of his followers) does? If I am more excited about the Enchanter following me is that because it will feed more hungry people? Or because it will feed my gluttonous ego?
If your conscience convicts you and you’ve been showing partiality, the answer probably isn’t to quit writing. It’s probably to repent and get back to working for the right reasons.
This isn’t a one-to-one comparison because many of those that are “rich” in social media are that way because they are faithful to the gospel and the Lord extends their influence as a means of spreading His glory. That is why I did not quote verse 7. I’m trying here to get at the heart issue of the one that shows partiality and not make a comment on those that might be wrongly/rightly honored.