Thursday, June 1, 2017

Less Is Not Always Less

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

A few weeks ago, I read an article about Jesus’ disciples. When I finished the piece, I thought that if I hadn’t known who the disciples were, it would have been easy to conclude there were only three: Peter, James, and John. 

There were others, you know. Less known. Perhaps less dynamic. We don’t really know much about them. Case in point: James the son of Alphaeus — not the James of Peter, James, and John. His name is mentioned a few times in the New Testament, but nothing he did or said was recorded. 

He is called “James the Less,” in Mark’s Gospel. “Less” means, “little” — “Little James.” It could reference his stature, his age, or his influence, we really don’t know for sure (some modern translations refer to him as “James the younger”). Here’s something we do know, he was “James the son of Alphaeus” [Matthew 10.3]. Interestingly, Matthew, the tax collector, is also called the “son of Alphaeus” [Mark 2.14], making it likely that they were brothers.

If he was the brother of Matthew, it’s possible he lived in the shadow of his brother. I know what that’s like. My older brother is a very dynamic guy. I followed him by two years throughout our school days, having many of the same teachers. Every once in a while, when I raised my hand to answer a question, the teacher would address me as “Gary’s brother.” Seriously, a math teacher actually once said, “Gary’s brother has an answer!”

Whatever James’ case, I’m encouraged that God uses obscure people like Little James, and rewards them accordingly. One day, in the Kingdom to come, James will take his rightful place judging the tribes of Israel, along with the more prominent disciples [Luke 22.28-30].

I’m of the opinion there are a lot of “James the Lesses” in the world. People less known, less prominent, more obscure from a human perspective. God can use them (YOU and ME). And keep in mind the glorious reward that awaits! 

There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome. Mark 15.40

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