Service with Tears
John Heading, Aberystwyth
Tears are a spontaneous outward emotion when the mind and soul experience grief and sorrow, and are the portion of both believer and unbeliever. The Lord's human eyes experienced tears; He wept at the sorrow of Mary and the Jews (this was quite independent of His knowledge that Lazarus would be raised shortly afterwards),, John n. 35; He wept over Jerusalem as He viewed the city that would shortly condemn Him to death, and that would afterwards suffer such fearful judgment for its guilt, Luke 19. 41. The grief of parting was seen in the tears of Mary Magdalene, John 20.11, in Paul and the elders as they wept when they thought they would see his face no more, Acts 20. 33, and in Timothy when Paul was taken from him for the last time, 2 Tim. 1. 4. But tears relating to strictly spiritual circumstances may be a rarity today, though the Lord knows whether some of His servants are reduced to tears in the solitary precincts of the sanctuary alone with Himself. At least Paul was a servant who served with tears in spite of being an apostle. Grief at failure and intense desire for success bring forth their fruit when the soul is poured out before God. In his apostolic sendee,
He was Working with Tears, Acts 20. 19; during the three years he was at Ephesus he had been "serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears". Thus he taught all things profitable and all the counsel of God.
He was Warning with Tears, Acts 20. 31, "I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears". Do we grieve at the possibility of elders becoming corrupt and leading the disciples after their unscriptural ways? This knowledge reduced Paul to tears in a public way.
He was Writing with Tears, 2 Cor. 2. 11, "and of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears". This writing was no superior criticism of failure, but evidence of love seeking restoration to godly living and service.
He was Walking with Tears, Phil. 3. 18, "for many walk, of whom I ... now tell you even weeping". Paul knew his walk in Christ was a proper example for his converts, and grieved at the defiling walk of the enemies of the cross of Christ.
Truly such thoughts illustrate the quotation on the cover of each issue, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him", Psa. 126. 6.