This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
James 1:1a, NLT*
I think the word “slave” meant something different to James than it does in a North American context. In identifying himself this way, he’s not saying he’s dehumanized, abused, a victim, or in any way to be pitied or rescued.
He’s a willing slave. There existed in Bible times men or women who could have been freed but who chose to commit to a lifetime’s service to their master. Imagine how good a person this type of master would be, and how futile the slave might otherwise see his or her options to be.
If we look at this in the context of service to a good master, and with the slave being like a servant, worker or employee, what does it imply for our faith walk?
- serve out of love, wholeheartedly
- remember we’re under authority
- we’re also under protection
- we’re provided for, both our physical needs and the material we need to do our assigned tasks
- obedience is expected, without whining or attitude
- thinking is expected, with questions as needed; arguing and back-talk are not
- work is also expected, so our service isn’t doing God a favour
- it’s not about us
Plenty to think about, isn’t it? What are some other benefits I’ve missed?
Our God, we are Your servants and ambassadors, but You also call us your children and heirs. Help us grow in relationship with You so we can conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of Your great Name, serving in such a way that others will discover how good You are.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.