Year 2 Day 176
Read - Luke 6v12-16
Message - Scott Woodburn
Today’s Apostle is called James. Not the James we’ve already heard about but the other James. James the son of Alphaeus, also called “James the Little” because it is supposed that he was small of stature. Here’s how he is described by one author “evidently he did nothing that needed any record.” I don’t know about you but I find that description a little bit sad.
Do you remember when you were a child and someone asked “what do you want to do when you grow up?” How did you respond? Many children make grand claims about being the Prime Minister or going to live on Mars. But James the Little? He didn’t do anything that warranted a mention in Scripture. Brothers and sisters, don’t weep over James today. I can assure you that he rejoices in glory and does not care one jot about the lack of Scriptural testimony to James the son of Alphaeus.
By faith we will join James in glory, but what will life be like until then? The vast majority of us will have lives of absolutely no significance. Future generations will not study our words or lives. The newspapers will not report on our deeds. Most of us will live, love, work and then die without the world’s attention and do you know what? That’s great and perfectly normal.
Think on it this way. The Christian experience is often radically different in July than it is in November. What do I mean? I’ve been on various summer mission trips over the years to locations all across the world. I’ve preached the Gospel in foreign lands. I’ve worked with children in Thailand. I’ve literally worn multiple team t-shirts and hoodies. These were wonderful experiences and I trust they were used by the Lord but they’re not the reality of the Christian life.
I suspect it is quite easy to be a Christian on a mission team. For a week or two we are surrounded by like minded individuals in a far off land. We pray together and serve together. We see new places and new churches. We laugh and sometimes fall in love. But soon it all comes crashing down when we arrive back home. There aren’t any hoodies to wear in November and to swap the excitement of July’s team for November’s prayer meeting is often a step too far.
Yet the Christian life is everyday. It is walking the dog. It is meeting your children’s teachers. It is leaving the house on cold winter nights. It is struggling with ill health. It is visiting your parents. It is attending your local church where the music isn’t great. It is going to work. The vast majority of Christians live such lives and all of it is perfectly acceptable in the sight of God. For every famous, superstar Christian, there are thousands of ordinary souls, living for Christ in ordinary places.
We know James the son of Alphaeus only in passing but he still challenges our hunger for significance and success. How do we live until Christ returns? Live for Christ by living quietly, minding your own business and working hard. This isn’t my advice gleaned from my own experience. Instead God’s Word speaks “Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you” (1 Thessalonians 4v11) You’re not required to make a name for yourself, instead be content that through faith in Christ your name is already in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Q60 How is the Sabbath to be sanctified? The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.