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James 1:1
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: greetings. (NIVUK)

This letter from James is a feast of practical wisdom. As we follow his God-given advice, it will help us to transform our life at work each day.

James was the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had shared the family home with our Saviour, seen His behaviour and noted His reactions when things did not go according to plan in the carpentry business. James would have seen no different 'sales character' when Jesus talked with customers: He was always the same at home, in the synagogue and at work (Hebrews 13:8). So James could draw his instructions to the churches from many examples he remembered, as well as from Jesus' teaching. It was not just 'what would Jesus do', but 'what did Jesus do'!

Having such a close relationship to the Saviour of the world, you might think that James would show off his family connection. He might have wanted to boast a little, and possibly share some of the inside family stories, so that he would be seen as a 'big man'. But, no! James describes himself as a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Despite his close relationship with Jesus, he knew that his half-brother was God in a human body; and was happy to describe himself as His bond-slave. He knew he was owned by his Master (bought by His blood), and so he had no personal rights because he did whatever Jesus commanded.

Many Christians have never learned this lesson. In business and in the church, some people like to attract powerful people as patrons, or use family relationships to benefit themselves. James speaks out strongly against such favouritism (James 2:1-13; 5:1-6). Wherever that happens in family, commercial, professional or church fellowship groups, proper growth cannot happen - that is, growth that benefits everybody. Yet corrupt influences seem to arise everywhere! It seems that people use their influential friends and relations so that they can do well for themselves, without caring what God thinks ... or how He wants to bless everybody. So today is a good day to take stock of our relationships. Are we just using people for our own benefit or are we really content to be bond-slaves of our Master - so that His will can be worked out through our lives?

Dear Lord. Thank You that You do not favour anybody because of their background or influential contacts. Forgive me for wanting to favour people I like to believe will help me. Help me to see everybody as You do and work with You for the blessing of others, rather than for what I may be able to get from them for myself. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams