The Servant's Encouragement
By James Smith
"Where I am — there shall my servant also be." John 2:26
Christ as the best Master, ought to have the best of servants — but this is far from being the case often. Yet it is not for lack of encouragement, for no one manifests such love to servants as he does. They have present pay, and the promise of a future reward. To each one of them he says, "Where I am — there shall my servant also be." Look at,
The Relationship.Jesus is the Lord and Master of his people; and as a master, he has absolute power over them. They are his in every sense in which they can be, and he is at liberty to do as he will with them. Wrong he cannot do, the excellency of his nature and character prevent this, and therefore he employs them wisely, treats them kindly, and disposes of them suitably. He is a just master, neither wronging them nor allowing them to be wronged by others. He is jealous of his honor, and will not allow his servants to give the love, service, and honor that belongs to him, to another, without resenting it.
But he is most generous, the least good act he notices, records, and will reward. He is an incomparable master, and every believer is his servant. They are engaged to him, in their conversion and baptism; they are willing, and therefore pledge themselves to him. They are obedient, doing his will, and doing it from the heart. Each of Christ's servants, should have . . .
a courtier's ear — quick to catch the sound of his voice;
the servant's eye — intently watching to ascertain his will;
the child's heart — confiding and attached, and
the wife's affection — which will do anything for the object of its love.
The Promise."Where I am, there shall also my servant be." Jesus is with us now, where we are; and we shall soon be with him, where he is. Between death and the resurrection, we shall be with him in paradise, in a disembodied but happy condition. In the final state, we shall be with him body and soul, and be like him, ever seeing him as he is.
Will Jesus be in his Father's presence? So shall we!
Will Jesus be in perfect happiness? So shall we!
Will Jesus be in glory, endless unparalleled glory? So shall we!
His wish will be gratified, his desire will be granted, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world."
What more can we desire? Is it not our greatest wish, the very height of our ambition — to be where Jesus is? This desire, this wish, he has anticipated. Who could have expected so much? Who ever honors his servants in this way — but Jesus? With hearts like ours, with sins like ours, with such imperfect services as ours — how could we anticipate such a blessing?
What servants ought we to be — who have such a master? Can we ever do enough for him? Can any sufferings ever be too sharp for him? Enough for Jesus! Think of what you owe him, and how is it possible to make an adequate return? Think of what you expect from him, and say — can there be any comparison between your sufferings for Christ, and the glory that is to be revealed in you?
What obedience ought we to render — who have such a prospect? How prompt and hearty, how cheerful, and thorough — our obedience ought to be. Always ready to work, and ready to do any work he may require of us; always ready to suffer, and to suffer just what he pleases, is our proper position.
With the prospect of being with our Master, and being like our Master, and that soon, we should be ready to do anything, suffer anything, be anything, and go anywhere — if Jesus can but be glorified thereby.
How is the believer to be conformed to his Lord? He must work and suffer — and then enter into his glory. Work and suffer on earth — and rest and enjoy perfect happiness in Heaven. Do we not pray to be conformed to him? Do we not consider it an honor to be like him. If so, we must be content to resemble him in his humiliation — before we enter into his glory.
What a reproof does this subject administer to many professors.
The LUKEWARM. What! Lukewarm in the service of such a master! Lukewarm in the prospect of such a glory! Lukewarm, with such a promise in your hand to stimulate and encourage you.
The WORLDLY. And are any of the servants of Christ worldly? Alas! Alas! how many. It is but to look at their dress, or visit their homes, or observe their conversation, or mark their spirit — to discover how worldly they are! But if Christ is indeed your master, if you receive and believe his word, if you expect soon to be with him where he is — how can you be worldly? Has he not said, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world: if any man loves the world — the love of the Father is not in him."
The DO-NOTHING professor. And are there any who profess Christ — who do nothing for Christ? There are, or those who do next to nothing. Some even do worse than nothing, for they do mischief and hinder others! But how will they be able to lift up their heads before their master when he comes to take account of his servants, and reward every one according to his works! Reader, if you are such a one, how can you claim or appropriate his promise, seeing the promise is to his servants who imitate him?
The Servant's Honor.It is better to be the servant of Christ — than the son of the greatest monarch upon earth. It is better to serve Christ — than rule a world. All the servants of Christ, will be kings by and by; they only serve now — they will reign shortly. Jesus employs us that he may honor us now, and prepare us for far greater honor in future. What can exceed his own words, "If any man serves me, him will my Father honor." John 12:26.
Here Is a Subject For Inquiry.What is it to serve Christ? It is to believe in him, and believe his word. The work that God requires of us, is to believe on him whom he has sent. To believe the gospel, is called obeying it. As the root and the plant are one, and may yet be distinguished — so faith and obedience are one, and are yet distinguishable. Faith is the root, obedience is the plant; or faith is the plant, and obedience is the fruit. Therefore Jesus said, "By their fruits you shall know them."
Believing in Christ, we are required to avow our connection with him. He would have us confess him, and threatens every one that is afraid, or ashamed, to own him. Avowing our connection with him, he requires us to observe his ordinances, thereby showing forth his death until he comes. Nor is observing the ordinances enough, we must be ready to do and suffer all his will. We must not only look to him for salvation — but be devoted to his service, making his glory and honor the end of our lives. To serve Christ from the heart, to serve him in the life, to serve him with all that we have, and to serve him with a single eye to his glory — proves us to be, not only, the servants of Christ — but the sons of God; and to all such, Jesus says, "If any man serves me, him will my Father honor. Here is,
A Promise To Claim.Our Heavenly Father will honor every servant of Christ. He honors them:
by accepting their services — as poor, imperfect, and worthless as they appear to them.
By giving them his sealing Spirit, as we read, "The Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." And again, "After you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."
By admitting them into his presence, and holding sweet and hallowed fellowship with them.
By visiting them in trouble, and imparting sweet and soothing consolations to their souls.
By supplying all their needs, according to his riches in glory by Christ.
By clearing their characters from aspersions and slanders; it is written, "Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass: and he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noon day."
By cheering them in solitude, and indulging them with sweet converse with himself.
By rewarding their labors, so that the least of their poor services shall not be overlooked, or pass away unacknowledged. "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he reward every man according to his works."
Let us then examine,WHOM are we serving? We were the servants of sin once — are we now? Or, have we received the doctrine of Christ, taken upon us the yoke of Christ, and consecrated ourselves to the service of Christ?
We were the slaves of lust once, yielding to it, impelled by it, we broke God's bounds, and were found guilty of transgression. Have we put off the old man with his deeds? Have we crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts? Have we received Christ into the heart, and enthroned hi as sole monarch there? We were lovers of the world once, yielding to its maxims, customs, fashions, and follies. Is it so now, or can we say with Paul, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world!"
We were in the possession of Satan once, have we been rescued from his grasp, freed from his power, and have we voluntarily engaged ourselves to Jesus? Satan's slaves, or Christ's servants we are, we must be. Which is it? Do we serve Christ, and serve him from choice, for he does not approve of forced service — do we serve him impartially, for he cannot sanction our picking and choosing our duties. Do we serve him openly, for he cannot be satisfied with secret service alone.
If so, we may expect his Father to honor us, to honor us now, in the church and in the world; to honor us at death, by sweetly sustaining us and giving us power over the enemy; and to honor us at the end, publicly before assembled worlds, publishing what we have done for him, and then addressing us by the lips of the Judge of all, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, saying, "Come you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, For . . . " and then he enumerates our poor forgotten services, and thus rewards them!