Last Sunday we began a series on the book of James. We will be addressing the misunderstandings,any people have about religion and pursuing the authentic Christianity James challenges us toward.i think our understanding of James' book begins with understanding how James viewed himself.
James’ identity in his own mind is that of a servant. He could have claimed “leadership” of the Jerusalem church, he could have claimed brotherhood to Jesus or sonship of Mary. Instead he chose to identify himself as a servant.
It would not be inconsistent to suggest that servanthood is one of the central character traits of those who have chosen to follow Christ.
Jesus suggested as much when he washed the feet of his disciples in John 13 and then told them to do the same for each other. This was a job reserved for servants and slaves.
Paul made a similar suggestion in Philippians 2 when he told the church to take on the mind of Christ, and then went on to describe Christ’s attitude as one of a servant, who subjects himself to an office far below that which he deserves.
For those who adopt servanthood as a marking identity, there is no room for pride, self-centeredness, entitlement, upward mobility, seeking personal advancement, etc. True servanthood requires the servant to be content with his station in life (“I have learned to be content…”) and to work only for the good of his master, not himself (“seek first the kingdom of heaven”).
If I am concerned with getting what I want or deserve, I am not a servant. If I am concerned with pusuing my own needs or advancement, I am not a servant. If I’m more concerned with how people think about me than with how they think about my master, I’m not a good servant. My only responsibility as a servant is to do everything within my power to bring the greatest possible benefit to my master.
James identified his masters as God and Jesus. When the cosmic dust has settled on the ever-waged warfare between right and wrong, it will be better to have been servants of the winner than to be king of the loser. Power, authority, fame, respect, and everything else the world encourages us to value and pursue for ourselves will all be meaningless if they put me on the wrong side of the conflict. The world promises many kingships and lordships and high offices, God promises none. In fact, there only exist two offices on God’s side, God and servants. If I am willing to be his servant, I am with him, if not, I lose.