James is one of my favorite books of the Bible. In the introduction, we learn a great lesson.
James tells us that he is a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have already learned something vastly significant. James lived to serve God and Christ. There is no greater vocation than this. Note carefully that James is a voluntary slave. Just as Jesus called everyone to “take up your cross daily and follow me,” James willfully pursued pleasing the Lord above all else.
I wonder if, in presenting ourselves to others, we start by identifying our purpose in life is to serve God and Jesus. Unfortunately, this information often comes much later in the conversation, if at all.
It is striking that James, who was a physical brother of the Lord, does not introduce himself as a brother but a slave of Jesus. James is letting us all know that our spiritual relationship to Christ is much more important than the physical one. Much more important than being a younger brother of Jesus is being His follower and servant. The way James showed his relationship with Jesus was through serving and following Him. This is true for you and me.
A large part of James’s letter will address the trials and tribulations that Christians face. One key ingredient for dealing with such challenges is our relationship with the Lord. A relationship grounded in a living and active faith in Jesus our Lord. James came to know Jesus as Lord. He knew that Jesus was God’s Son and our redeemer. He built his life on this understanding.
Today, we can have a close relationship to Jesus. It will be a wonderful life filled with more blessings than we can count. There is no higher calling.
Joseph D. Chase
North Loop Church of Christ