‘If any man serve me, let him follow me’, John 12. 26
Let us be clear, our Lord does not need our service. Yet, seeing how great a debt we owe to Him, why would we not want to ‘attend to anything’ that is in His interest? ‘If the Son … shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed’ - free to follow and free to serve, John 8. 36. This service is not slavery, but true liberty. It is an honour beyond any other.
In Isaiah chapter 42, among all the statements made, there are three that seem pertinent to the nature of our service for the Lord Jesus as we work out His condition for serving Him - ‘let him follow me’.
True service for Christ can only be done through complete dependence upon the leading and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. God’s work must always be done in God’s power and at God’s prompting. There must be nothing of self infiltrating or infecting service for Him. Such truth must cause us all, as servants and followers, to continually examine our motives. The approbation of others can be so deceptive and lead us into paths that, while they might seem right to ourselves and others, are not of the Spirit. It is one reason why daily communion with God through prayer and reading the scriptures is the lifeblood of Christian service.
The manner of service is also worthy of note. His ministry among a nation that He knew would reject Him, was one of meekness. He patiently endured the ‘contradiction of sinners against himself’, Heb. 12. 3. He was not one that protested injustice, but He ‘committed himself to him that judgeth righteously’, 1 Pet. 2. 23. We might be outraged at the sin we see so obviously around us, and angry at such dreadful unholiness, but we must never make that an occasion for angry, indignant, and personal outbursts in our dealings with our fellows. His servants have no mandate for such an approach. Preaching is not a diatribe; it is the announcing of good news, Acts 5. 42. That does not mean compromising the truth we are entrusted to communicate, but the manner of how we serve must be aligned with that of our Lord.
If meekness should mark our service, then compassion should, too. We must remember that, whether dealing with believers or unbelievers, a tenderness to those who are breaking under the crushing pressure of burdens does not need cold indifference. It takes a tenderness in heart, a listening ear, an encouraging word, an approach that does not break the bruised. Similarly, those who are not burning bright as they maybe once did, need gentle wafting back into brightness, not the fierceness of a gale to put them out. The wise man noted the value of ‘soft’ [tender] words, Prov. 15. 1.
May it be that we continue to look daily to the great example of the perfect Servant to help us follow closer and serve better.
It is the prayer of the committee that the articles in this issue will cause the reader to hear His gentle words again to those who were feeling the weight of burdens, ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me … and ye shall find rest unto your souls’, Matt. 11. 29.
Ministry Articles Editor
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