Pirates stored their treasure in wooden chests bound with chains and heavy padlocks. Banks store cash in high-security vaults. But God has placed his treasure in “earthen vessels”: in us. God doesn’t need chains and locks, laser beams or retina scans, to protect it. Whatever we lack in security, whatever weaknesses we bring to the life he has called us to, his power is more than enough to carry us through.
Saint James was a simple fisherman. How could he ever take on the responsibilities that Our Lord wanted to give him? But he did. This simple fisherman became the second head of the church in Jerusalem. The same James who wanted to call fire down on the Samaritans who had snubbed Jesus became a chief advocate for opening the Church to the Gentiles. Scheming James, who connived with his brother John, and their mother, to seek the places of honour in the Kingdom of Heaven, was the one trusted disciple Saint Paul visited on his final trip to Jerusalem.
At first glance James wasn’t the obvious candidate for leadership. He had no formal training in administration for what God had called him to. But God doesn’t depend on what we can do for him. His life and his power bears fruit as we humbly submit to him. All we have to do is acknowledge that we need him and are prepared to cooperate with him.
God begins where human ability ends. Like Saint James, we must ask ourselves: “How is Our Lord asking me to serve him?” And as we generously respond to Our Lord’s call to serve, we will see God’s grace flow through us as it did through Saint James, and we too, will bear fruit in God’s kingdom.
Saint James, pray for us.