Trees in Late Autumn

Today's devotion from Jude.

Jude is an interesting person. He calls' himself "a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James." But the fact is, he is more. Michael Green wrote, "The unadorned name James meant one person, and one only, in the apostolic church—James, the Lord’s brother, the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Though others called Jude ‘brother of the Lord’ (1 Cor. 9:5), he preferred to style himself brother of Jamesand servant of Jesus Christ."

In this simple phrase of introduction, he communicates so much about himself. And yet, his letter is not about his importance, but a warning about those who are usurping the gospel for personal reasons. They abandon the gospel that is proclaimed. Instead, they apparently prefer a mythology based on dreams and preferences.

Jude refers to them as dangerous, like an unseen reef that sinks ships. They are dangerous like a shepherd that pretends at watching a flock, but really only cares for himself. They are pretentious like a waterless cloud. They are useless like trees in late autumn, bearing no fruit.

Jude, who could have positioned himself to be a great benefactor of his brother's name and ministry, does not call on the name of Jesus for personal gain, but calls on "our Lord Jesus Christ" for mercy and protection. He looks to the One who had been his earthy brother and, seeing the divine distinction, thinks not of himself but of bring Him glory.

What a fascinating letter, not so much in the message written by Jude, but because of the message conveyed by him. No selfishness. No jealousy. Just the desire to be and to see others be fruitful believers standing fast in the gospel. I wonder what could happen in our churches if there were more people like Jude? We might never know that reality this side of eternity, but you can know what it would be like to adopt his philosophy personally. You cannot control the perspective of another, but you can surrender your own.