by Stan Mitchell
“James, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1).
Of course James could have identified himself as “James, the brother of Jesus the Lord,” or “James the younger brother of God’s son.” But he chose instead to be known as a servant.
Now a servant is usually associated with mops and brooms, tucking in beds, and taking out trash. There may be, however, more than meets the eye in James’ use of the term.
“Remember your servants,” Moses pleads, “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overlook the stubbornness of this people, their wickedness and their sin” (Deuteronomy 9:27). Would God really spare Israel on account of a trio of “house servants?”
“Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten” (Judges 2:88). Now that is a startling obituary. Joshua was a general, a judge, and a head of state. Scripture honors him as a “servant of the Lord.”
“Surely the Lord does nothing,” Amos declares, “without revealing it to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
The guy who buffs the halls also advises the King. What’s going on here?
Being known as the “servant of the Lord” in scripture was a lofty and venerable honor, carrying a meaning something like “faithful worshiper,” or “humble follower” of God. It was a distinction held by Caleb, Moses, and many other great Biblical characters. It is a high calling, this being a servant.
It is a calling to bear with the weak and foolish. It is a calling to wash dirty feet, and to teach little children. The glory lies, not in the first part (“servant”), but in the second (“of the Lord”).
May we all aspire to be servants of the Lord.
There is no higher vocation.
by Stan Mitchell