Summary: In serving the Lord you can either look at what you are doing as a ministry or a job. When ministry becomes a job you lose the passion God wants you to possess.
James – Apostle of Passion
In serving the Lord you can either look at what you are doing as a ministry or a job. When ministry becomes a job you lose the passion that God wants you to possess.
My first ministry assignment as full-time pastor was in Kansas City, Kansas. I was active in the Great Kansas City Association of Evangelical Pastors and served as one of the officers. When Billy Graham held a Crusade in Kansas City I served as a coordinator of counselors. I also served as one of the leaders in showing a Billy Graham film in public theatres.
Only one problem…during all this activity I developed intense stomach pains. I went to a Christian doctor and explained that I might be coming down with ulcers. He checked me out and asked me if I was under a lot of pressure. I told him what I was involved in and he said he would give me something to help.
The tranquilizers did work. I called them my “I don’t care pills.” I began to see the ministry as just another job. At times my thinking would be fuzzy and my preaching from time to time didn’t make sense.
I said to myself, “As a pastor I’m supposed to care. I need to get to the bottom of why I have to take ‘I don’t care pills.” After prayer and meditation I came to the conclusion that I was full of self-pity. I was involved in all the community leadership responsibilities and yet people didn’t appreciate me like they should.
Only when I confessed my sin of self-pride and self-pity to God and others did my passion return.
In the Apostle James we see a person that possessed authentic passion.
In the early church there were three Christian leaders with the name of James.
James, son of Zebedee, an older brother of the Apostle John.
James, Son of Alphaeus, an apostle, but little is know
James, half brother of Jesus, a leader in the church of Jerusalem and the author of the book of James.
James, son of Zebedee grew up in a prominent family in Galilee. His father Zebedee was a person of wealth. Only wealthy families could afford servants in their home. James, John and family knew the High Priest. Only the people with money had access to this most powerful man In the Jewish community. (John 18:15-16) Because John knew the High Priest he was allowed in the courtyard after the arrest of Jesus while the Apostle Peter had to wait outside the door.
The James family worked hard for their wealth. Father and Sons Fishing Company sailed the sea on a regular basis catching fish to sell in the fish market.
James and John grew up in a family where both parents had strong personalities. With great boldness the mother of James and John marched up to Jesus (possibly here step Nephew since some Bible scholars believed Salome was a sister to Mary, mother of Jesus). Salome requested her two sons sit at the right and left hand of Jesus when he set up his earthly kingdom.
Luke 9:51-56 we see why Jesus called James and John the “sons of thunder.” Jesus knew it was time to fulfill His mission. He “set face” or determined with a set purpose to go to Jerusalem. The shortest way from Galilee to Jerusalem was through Samaria. He sent messengers to go ahead and get permission to travel through Samaria.
The Samaritans were a mixed race of Jews and Assyrians. They established their worship center on Mt. Gerizim. In Jesus’ time the Jews hated the Samaritans and equated them on the same level as dogs. The Samaritans did not associate with the Jews. The story of the Good Samaritan is unusual and not the normal attitude of Samaritans toward Jews.
On this occasion the Samaritans refused to allow Jesus safe passage because they knew Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem. Mt. Gerizim not Jerusalem was the center of worship.
When James and John heard the news they became angry and asked Jesus to call fire down from heaven and zap the Samaritans. Show them no mercy. Annihilate the pagans.
Jesus responded, “Luke 9:56, “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” So they went through another village. Jesus gave the Samaritans compassion.
From the life of James, son of Zebedee we can learn several lessons.
I. People need to be careful how they use their influence.
As an older brother James had a great influence of his younger brother John. When names in the early church the authors listed the person of greater influence first. Throughout the Gospels the names of Peter, James and John are given in that order. Peter had the greatest influence, James the next and then the Apostle John.