Poor people make rich people uncomfortable.
It’s not just the huge income gap. There can be a big difference in people’s value systems and behaviors too. There’s a reason why some people want to live in gated communities with an ex-marine security officer at the guardhouse. There’s a reason why many social gathering places are members-only.
Christians can’t control private clubs and exclusive suburbs. But they can control how people are treated in their congregations. The Bible teaches that all people, regardless of income level, are broken sinners who need the gospel of forgiveness and who need the Spirit’s help to rebuild. All believers, rich and poor alike, are important members of the body of Christ; all have needs, and all have gifts to share.
In addition, poor people have a special place in the eyes and heart of the Lord, and he watches how they are treated. “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?” (James 2:5). Every visitor to your congregation deserves attention and respect. Every member, regardless of what his or her personal balance sheet looks like, deserves dignity. Let’s learn to get comfortable with one another.