Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who was trying to impress you? There are several tactics that a person will use to impress. They will try to impress you with their long list of accomplishments. They will attempt to impress you by the titles they possess. They will attempt to impress you by name dropping. The funny thing is – we are usually less impressed with a person’s accomplishments and more impressed with their titles and celebrity status. Allow me to illustrate. What if I told you that I once received golf instruction from Jack Nicklaus? It’s true, I happened to be in a very small group of people at a practice round at the Master’s (are you impressed yet?), when surprisingly, Jack Nicklaus appeared on the green. He looked to the small group of people standing beside where his golf ball was and proceeded to give us a chipping lesson. (by now you should be extremely impressed) However, if you saw me golf – the only impression you would have is that I must not have paid attention to the lesson. Yet, it seems as if in order to impress all we have to do is drop a few names of people with celebrity status and we instantly have an audience.
Do You Know Who I Am?
Why do we feel the need to name drop in order to impress others? It is because we fail to realize who we really are! We feel we are insignificant unless we can name drop or throw titles around that will make others think we are somebody. What we are missing is that our significance is not found in titles or celebrity status – but rather in a relationship.
In James 1:1 the author of the book understands who he is and does not feel the need to impress. The author James is in fact the half-brother of Jesus. In addition he is the leader of the first church in Jerusalem. Isn’t it curious, that he refers to none of his titles as he introduces himself to us? Remember this – titles are for our egos and they do not define who we really are in life. What’s even more curious is that when James uses a word to describe himself to us – he chooses the word “bond-servant.” Not exactly a word chosen to influence or impress an audience.
Allow me to introduce myself
When James refers to himself as a “bond-servant” what is he trying to tell us about himself? Bondservants were slaves who had been released from their obligation but who willingly remained in a condition of servitude out of respect for their masters. James was trying to tell us something about his way of life by choosing this specific word. James is saying that he found satisfaction, contentment, and a sense of significance as a bond-servant. He’s telling us that he is willing to obey the commands of Jesus. He’s telling us that his loyalty is to Jesus regardless of the price-tag. He is willing to follow and to serve Jesus even to the extent of putting aside his own self-interest.
What’s the Point?
Our significance is not found in the impressions or opinions of others! We are so image conscious that we lose ourselves in the need to impress others. We need to take a lesson from James. No more name dropping. No more seeking titles in order to gain celebrity status. Let’s simply be content and find satisfaction is being known as a servant of Jesus. Let’s be a person who willingly not grudgingly obeys and follows the instructions of the Lord. Let’s be a person who will follow the Lord in difficult times and situations. Let’s be a person who doesn’t hesitate to put aside our self-interest in order to please Jesus. If we insist on name dropping then why not share with people the name of Jesus!