THE TREE OF LIFE by
The Service of Love,
or The Disciple Washing Christ's Feet
"A certain immoral woman heard Jesus was there and
brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind
him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off
with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them."
We have considered one of the most instructive and
impressive acts of our Lord's life. His washing the disciples' feet.
Scarcely less so is that one which is now to engage our study, and which we
place by its side- the disciple washing the lord's feet. The incident is one
of those occurrences which illustrates the reciprocal interest which exists
between Christ and His people. On His part, redeeming love and condescending
grace; on theirs, the warmest affection and the most unreserved service.
We need not speculate upon the identity of the woman who stole into
Simon's house to perform this act of love to her Savior. But little is known
of her history. The only event recorded of importance to know is, her true
conversion to Christ, and this fact will contribute to the praise of Jesus
and the glory of God when the annals of the world and the exploits and pomp
of the great will be buried in eternal oblivion.
How indistinctly do we understand the nature, or estimate the importance
of conversion. It is the only event in our history worthy of a thought. It
is the one event of our present life, which moulds and colors all our
endless future. All other events are band impertinences in comparison of
this one. Converted or unconverted ! is the grand question. Converted- "life
eternal!" Unconverted- "eveslasting punishment!" So spoke Him who is eternal
Let us turn to the woman who washed the Savior's feet. We are not to
identify her with Mary, sister of Lazarus, who was of Bethany, nor with Mary
Magdalene, who is supposed to have acquired this appellation because she was
born in Magdala, an unimportant town of the tribe of Manasseh. But she,
doubtless, resided in the city of Nain, and is described as "a woman in the
city," where in His walks of usefulness Jesus met her, to whom He preached
the gospel of His grace -a gospel of glad tidings for poor, lost sinners-
and who by His Spirit He drew to Himself in penitence, faith, and love.
And now we are to view her as sitting at His feet, bathing them with her
warm tears of affection, and illustrating the sweet service of love. She is
described as a sinner. Was she a sinner above all that dwelt in the city of
Nain? Was she by nature viler than us? No, in the strong
language of Scripture, "All have sinned, and have come short of the glory of
God." "There is none righteous, no, not one." We are all included in man's
fall from original righteousness; all are conceived in sin and born in
iniquity; all are by nature wholly depraved and universally tainted. "The
heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." This is the
first lesson we learn in grace, the first stage we take in conversion- the
lesson of our sinnership.
If, my reader, the Lord is for the first time setting you to learn this
lesson, if the fact has burst upon your mind as with electric power,
startling you from a profound slumber, yes, awakening you from the sleep of
death, hail with joy this new-born revelation of yourself to yourself, as
the dawn of that day of grace which will assuredly terminate in an eternity
of glory. Oh, it is a grand thing to learn spiritually and experimentally
that we are sinners! To know it not merely in the judgment, but from the
heart. To acknowledge it not only with the lip in the public service of the
sanctuary, but to confess it in the private devotion of the closet, with the
mouth in the dust, beneath the cross of Immanuel.
Be assured of this, as of a most vital truth, that Christ will have no
gracious dealings with you in the way of pardon, but in your capacity as a
sinner. "He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." "He
came to seek and to save that which was lost." "This is a faithful saying,
and worthy of all acceptaance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save
sinners." "Sinners, of whom," says Paul, "I am chief." The Pharisee despised
this poor woman because she was a sinner, but Jesus threw around her the
shield of His sin-forgiving love.
But she was more than a sinner- she was a penitent sinner. God had given
her a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and this had humbled her at His
feet. Has He, my reader, wrought this grace in your soul? The world thinks
meanly of a man who thinks meanly of himself; but God's estimate of
self-abhorrence and man's estimate are essentially and widely different. The
world passes him by as a being beneath its notice and regard, but God says,
"To this man will I look, even to him who is of a broken and humble spirit,
and who trembles at my word."
Make a personal and serious application of this truth to yourself, my
reader. Has your proud spirit been humbled? Has the inmost and hidden
fountain of evil been unveiled to your eye! Has Jesus, by His Spirit and
truth and ministers, met you pacing along the highway of sin and rebellion,
and shown to you the leprosy of sin, as, like a pestilential and fatal
plague, it touched and tainted all within! Solemn, momentous questions!
But how sweet and blessed is the grace of repentance! To lie in the dust
before God is at once the most humiliating and the most exalting condition;
it is the bitterest and yet the sweetest experience of the believers life.
There is no sweetness tasted of pardoning grace until this bitter. Like the
little book which John received from the angel's hand and ate, which was "to
the belly bitter, but in the mouth sweet as honey," so godly grief for sin
is at first bitter as gall, but afterwards sweet as honey, in the experience
into which it brings the soul of God's forgiving love.
She was also a pardoned, saved sinner. Her sins had been great, but the
blood of Jesus had proved greater, and had prevailed to wash them all away.
We too much overlook this assured truth- and its oversight is the secret
cause of much spiritual despondency- the present salvation of a child of
God. Salvation is always referred to in the divine Scriptures of truth in
the present tense. "By grace you are saved." "He has saved us." We shall
never be more really saved than we now are if we believe in Jesus. Our
salvation is not a past or a future blessing to be enjoyed, but a present
one. Our sins are now all pardoned- "Who has forgiven you all trespasses."
Our persons are now fully justified- "Accepted in the Beloved." We are
now adopted- "Now are we the sons of God." Oh, let us not sink below the
level of this precious and sanctifying truth, but rise to its highest reach
and its fullest realization and enjoyment. We lose one of the most powerful
incentives to holiness, and with this, one of the sweetest springs of
happiness, when we lose sight of our present and complete salvation.
How should our songs of praise wake the sweet echoes of every valley, and
of every mountain, and of every plain, along which we travel home to God,
for this great salvation which God has provided, which Christ has wrought,
and which the Holy Spirit has applied, and which faith has freely received
and is privileged fully to enjoy.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."
Rest not until you know that you are saved. It is attainable- others have
attained it, and so may you. The blood sprinkled, the Spirit's seal
impressed, peace with God experienced, the Savior's preciousness felt, and
holiness breathed after, will leave not the shadow of a doubt upon your mind
as to your present and eternal safety.
How blessedly will this experience bear you through the trials and
sufferings and sorrows of your pilgrimage! It will extract poignancy from
grief, will blunt the keen edge of affliction, will sweeten the cross, and
fringe with gold and purple hues the dark and gloomy clouds which often
drape the path we tread.
And mark the place where this loving disciple stood. It was at the
feet of Jesus. "And stood at His feet behind Him." How suggestive is this
feature of her history. This is the true place of every believer- at the
feet of Christ. Everything which attaches to us as believers, and all the
dealings of God, point to Christ's feet as our true place. All is designed
to bring us there. Nor could we seek a place this shady side of heaven so
favored, appropriate, or blessed as this. That we may feel that this is the
privilege of all, and that it is accessible to all, let us see what some of
the errands are that brings us there.
In the first place, spiritual ignorance brings us to the feet of Jesus.
The Lord Jesus is the great Prophet of His Church, her only Divine and
authorised Teacher! All God's children are taught of Him, and their great
Teacher is Christ the Anointed One. Thus spoke the Lord, "It is written in
the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that
has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto me." And again,
"Neither knows any man the Father, except the Son, and he to whomsoever the
Son wills reveal him." There is a remarkable ignorance of this truth in the
Among the many and marked denials of Christ in high places, the denial of
His prophetical office is not the least one. Men are setting themselves up
everywhere as God-sent teachers of Divine truth, but who give undeniable
evidence that they are but Satan-sent emissaries of human error- and, what
is most lamentable and alarming, people love to have it so. But what is our
safety? what is our true position? The answer is- humbly sitting at the feet
of Jesus. Oh, honored place! Oh favored position of a poor sinner deeply
sensible of his spiritual ignorance, and ardently desirous of being taught
the truth as it is in Jesus. To this place we must bring all those mysteries
of revelation, and apparently inexplicable truths, and discrepant
statements, and things hard to be understood, which have perplexed and
confounded us. The Bible can only be properly studied in the light of Christ
and at the feet of Christ. If we read it merely as a history, or as a poem,
or as a system of philosophy, and not as a Revelation of Christ only, we
shall fail of compassing the grand end for which the Divine revelation was
given. Or, if we sit at the feet of a human Gamaliel, and not at the feet of
Jesus only, receiving in humility and faith the gracious words that proceed
out of His lips, we shall most assuredly err, not understanding the
Let your place of learning, then, my reader, be at the feet of Jesus. Are
you perplexed about a doctrine, or an ordinance, or a question of
conscience, or a path of duty? Take your place here, and seek instruction
from Him, and in His light you shall see light.
Human reason must come there, the pride of intellect must lie there,
preconceived opinion must yield there- sitting there as a little child,
desiring the sincere milk of the word- as a humble disciple anxious to know
the truth that quickens, sanctifies, and saves. Thus surrendering yourself
entirely to Divine teaching, Jesus will show you the way of life, will
enlighten your mind, resolve your doubts, and unfold to you more clearly the
blessed truth that He Himself is "the Truth," whom to know is life eternal!
I cannot sufficiently reiterate the averment that the Bible can only be
clearly understood as it is studied in the light of the Sun of
Righteousness, with one intent and aim only to know the Lord Jesus Christ,
of whom the Old and the New Testament unitedly testify. Thus the very
closing book of the sacred canon, the Revelation of John- mystical and
symbolical as it is, is termed "the Revelation of Jesus Christ", not the
revelation by Jesus Christ merely, but the revelation concerning Jesus
Christ Himself. In other words, it does not mean so much Christ the
Revealer, as Christ the Revealed.
And so is Christ the revealed Messiah, Savior, Redeemer of the entire
Scriptures of truth. Jesus Christ is the same in the "yesterday" of the Old
Testament, in the "today" of the New, and in the "forever" of our endless
study. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever." "Search
the Scriptures," said He to whom gave all the prophets witness, "for they
are they which testify of Me."
At the feet, then, of this Divine, skillful, gentle Teacher, humbly take
your place as a sincere learner, as a loving disciple, and in His light you
shall see light upon all that is essential you should know as a sinner on
your way to the judgment. He will open your understanding as He did that of
the disciples of old, that you may understand the Scriptures concerning
Himself. Let us imitate Mary of Bethany, who also sat at Jesus' feet and
heard His word. Affection brings us to the feet of Christ. Love ever
delights to be near the object of its preference and regard- In nothing does
this sentiment find a truer, or more sacred illustration as in the
experience of the believer. Christ is the Object of his supreme affection.
He loves Christ more than he loves all other beings, single or combined.
"Do you love Me more than these?" awakes the ready and earnest response
from every Christian's heart, "Lord, you know that I love you." It is his
supreme happiness, his heaven on earth, to be close to the Savior who
sacrificed His life for him, who called him by His grace, and has told him
that where He, the Lord, is, there he the disciple shall be.
This sensible realization of the Lord's personal presence constitutes the
life and nourishment of daily personal religion. There are many religious
professors who do not know what the absence of Christ is, because they know
nothing experimentally of His presence. We cannot miss a joy we have never
felt, nor pine for a blessing we have never possessed. We must
experimentally and personally know Christ, and love Him, and walk with Him,
to be conscious of the cold, dreary blank- a blank no creature-good can
fill- which the withdrawment of His sensible presence creates. Oh happy
soul, so living in the sunshine of the Divine presence as to be sensible of
the slightest cloud that veils it! who, wont to walk side by side and in
face-to-face communion with the Lord, are more sensitive to any disturbance
of your holy joy than the compass is to the slightest variation of the
Behold, then, the true place of love to Christ- His sacred feet. Prove
your love to the Savior, my reader, by being often there. Allow no creature
to come between you and Jesus. Let not the world allure you from so dear a
Friend. Be loving to His person, loyal to His cause, steadfast in His faith,
valiant for His truth, holding fast your Christian profession without
Let sensible nearness to Christ be the life of your religion and the
characteristic of your walk. It is the happiest as it is the holiest life on
earth. It is one remove only from the life of heaven. There, "in His
presence is fulness of joy," and only there. We know the joy in part now
when we feel our Lord near to us; but we shall know the "fulness of joy"
then when standing in His beatific presence unshared by an object, unshaded
by a cloud. Let the cold-hearted intellectualist call this the religion of
sentiment if he may. I desire no other.
To walk with God is the loftiest reach of the sanctified intellect, the
highest and noblest desire of the human mind. We can only properly employ
our thoughts upon God as we move in the orbit of His presence; and no object
of contemplation and research, no theme of meditation and discourse, gives
such development and expansion to the intellectual powers, as the study of
God revealed in His Word and manifest in His Son- Christ Jesus. "This is
life eternal, to know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have
How do we best become acquainted with the mental and moral qualities of
an individual but by frequent, close, and confiding communion. Thus is it
that in the Enoch-like walk of the child of God he gets to understand God's
revealed mind and Christ's unveiled heart, and so his soul revolves near to
the Divine, Eternal, and blessed Center.
Not less does the discipline of sorrow bring us to the feet of Jesus. It
is sent, indeed, by our blessed Lord for this purpose. Sorrow always brings
Christ to our people, and to our homes; and, when sanctified, brings us to
His feet in a closeness of acquaintance and fellowship, perhaps, unknown
before. We become better acquainted with Him who Himself was acquainted with
grief. Oh how near to Christ, our Friend and Brother, does one trial, a
single affliction, a solitary sorrow, bring us. We seem scarcely to have
known Him before. The stars we admired, the moon we worshiped of created
attraction, have withdrawn their light, and the Sun of Righteousness takes
their place, and we fall before Him with a depth of adoration and an
intensity of love such as no Persian idolater ever felt in the worship
offered to his god.
What a volume on the hallowed benefits of affliction might the personal
history of each child of God supply! Would not this one stand first and
foremost in the catalogue- "I have known more of Christ in this season of
suffering, in this hour of sorrow, in the discipline of this one trial, than
I ever knew in all my previous experience!" Truly is that sorrow a blessing
when we can bless the Refiner for the sorrow, a sorrow that has brought us
into the possession of a blessing like this. Oh, how we shrink from the
discipline of trial as though some strange and needless thing happened unto
us! How we recoil from this assimilation into which it brings us to Jesus,
just as if the disciple must be above his Lord; the servant above his
Master; the bride a wife of pleasure while the Bridegroom was a man of
O no! we wish it not. We would be like our Lord, and in nothing is the
resemblance more complete than in the sacred sorrow which often drapes the
spirit and crushes the heart. It is thus we "have fellowship with Him in His
sufferings," and are made "partakers of the afflictions of Christ," drinking
of the cup He drank, baptized with the baptism with which He was baptized,
and treading the path He trod. And all this we come into the experience of
when sorrow brings us to His feet.
This, perhaps, in a measure, is a new place in our Christian experience.
We have known something of the head of Christ, for we have felt the power of
His truth; we have known something of the heart of Christ, for we have
tasted the sweetness of His love; but little have we known of the blessing
of lying down at the feet of Christ, chastened and humbled, emptied and
weaned, willing that He shall be now, and in all future time, our all in
For this the discipline has been sent. Your heart, perchance, has
wandered far away from the Lord; your walk with Him has been distant, your
communion shy. Your mind has grown worldly, and your heart idolatrous; your
confidence has become timid, and your love has chilled. The Lord, whose eye
has not for a moment lost sight of you, has seen it all, and, loving you, in
love has sent the chastening that has brought you back to Himself, and once
more you find your heaven at His feet. And then you sing,
"Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there."
There, tried and sorrowful believer, bring your grief. Those feet once
pierced for you will now hide and soothe you within their very wounds, those
wounds at once your healing and your shelter. It is a holy and costly sorrow
that brings us closer to Christ. We never learn so much what He is as then.
And when we arrive in heaven and fall down before His throne, how fully
shall we the sentiment of the Christian poet realize,
"Blessed, there, with a weight of glory,
Still the path I'll never forget,
But, exulting, cry, It led me
To my blessed Savior's feet.
Which has brought to Jesus feet!"
Once more. The feet of Christ is the only place of real safety. There is
much in the history of each saint of God to jeopardize his well-being. David
was a giant in grace, compared with whom the tallest of us are but dwarfs-
and yet listen to his petition, "Hold me up and I shall be safe." Paul was a
veteran in the holy war- compared with whom the most valiant of us are but
raw recruits- yet listen to his exhortation, "Let him that thinks he stands
take heed lest he fall."
Ecclesiastical pinnacles are dizzy and dangerous places for a man of God.
Have we ever met with one advanced to distinguished preferment who has not
had need to seek a double portion of God's Spirit to rest upon him? I
received this holy acknowledgment once from the lips of a prelate whom in
earlier years I had known and labored with as the humble pastor of a village
parish, but who since then had been advanced to one of the most important
sees in the English Church; and God, I believe, gave him the request that he
asked. The divine discipline, moreover, through which he subsequently
passed, out of which fiery tribulation Christ took him to glory, brought him
yet closer to the Master's feet, from where Jesus raised him to that bright
world of bliss "where the wicked cease from troubling and where the weary
are at rest.''
Here, then, is our true place of safety, wandering from which we are as
"a bird that wanders from her nest." Peter had not denied his Lord but for
this. Following his Master afar off, the enemy found room to come between
him and Jesus; and thus, effecting a momentary separation of the disciple
from the Lord, accomplished his downfall. Here, then, is our safety. "He
that is down need fear no fall." He that lies "low in a low place" is safe.
Here at the feet of Jesus the world is renounced, self is loathed, sin is
forsaken. Satan flies, and God draws near, and we sit and bask in the
sunbeams of His smiles. Oh that wherever we are, and with whatever we
possess, to the place where this loving woman sat may we repair. Have you
talents? bring them here. Have you honors? renounce them here. Have you
wealth? deposit it here. Are you useful? lay it at the feet of Jesus.
Accumulate, cluster, and concentrate all you are and all you have around
those feet that trod for you Gethsemane's garden, and were nailed for you to
Calvary's cross, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.
We now reach an interesting and instructive part of this narrative- the
disciple washing Christ's feet: "And washed His feet with tears, and wiped
them with the hair of her head." Those tears! who can analyze them? Where
shall we find pearls so priceless, or stones so precious and of fairer
colors? Away with the notion that true religion is the foe of sensibility,
that the gospel of Christ is the patron of stoicism. The religion of Christ
is the only religion that unseals the fount of feeling, while it chastens
and sanctifies the tears it bids us shed. The divine Author of that religion
wept. What more do we need. Let us turn to the weeping disciple.
She washed Christ's feet with the tears of penitence. There are no tears
in Christ's view more costly or precious than these. This woman was poor in
spirit, humble and contrite, and as she stood behind her sin-forgiving
Savior, her tears of godly sorrow for sin rained fast upon his feet. Have
you, my reader, wept for sin? Does the recollection of past transgression
make you sorry? Does the memory of the sins of your youth, the
transgressions of riper years, the sinful infirmities of old age, humble you
in the dust? Holier and more precious tears were never shed than those wept
for having sinned against God at Christ's feet. "And Peter went out and wept
bitterly." "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a
contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Good words these for penitent
She washed Christ's feet with the tears of faith. Is faith, then, you
ask, an emotional grace? Most surely so. "With the heart man believes unto
righteousness." And again it is written, "They shall look upon Me whom they
have pierced, and shall mourn." It is faith that looks to a crucified
Savior, and the sight of the eye melts the heart, and the believing penitent
weeps. A humble penitent, this woman was a true believer. These are twin
graces in the experience of the saints. Repentance towards God and faith in
the Lord Jesus Christ constitute the two cardinal principles of experimental
religion. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus, my reader? The Bible does not
ask if you work, or if you strive, or if you pray; its great inquiry is, "Do
you believe?" "To him that believes is the reward not reckoned of works but
of grace." Do you believe in Jesus? Has your faith received Him? Are you
willing to be nothing- to cast your deadly doings down, yes, down at Jesus'
feet, accepting Him as "made of God unto you wisdom, righteousness,
sanctification, and redemption? Come and wash the Savior's feet with the
tears that flow from a believing sight of Him whom you have pierced. Faith
in Jesus will be as the rod of Moses smiting the rock and causing the waters
She washed Christ's feet, too, with the tears of grateful love. Jesus had
pardoned all her sins, had absolved her from their guilt, and had released
her from their power. How natural was the feeling of gratitude, how
appropriate this service of love! The most evangelical and genuine
contrition for sin flows from a sense of its forgiveness. Nothing breaks the
heart so thoroughly as the experience of God's pardoning love, love flowing
from a sight of the cross.
Sinai terrifies, but Calvary subdues. The law petrifies, but the gospel
melts; terrors repel, but love wins.
"Law and judgment do but harden,
All the time they work alone,
But a sense of blood-bought pardon
Soon dissolves the heart of stone."
Let your love be a weeping love, then it will be a practical love,
bathing the feet of Him who virtually bathes yours in the condescending acts
of His grace, by which He is among us still as Him that serves.
In lending ourselves to acts of Christian kindness, beneficence, and
sympathy, we are still washing the feet of Jesus in the lowly service of
love offered in His name to His saints. This fact is much overlooked- Christ
as represented by, and as recognized in, His people. We but little reflect
that when in any way we wound, or neglect, or despise a true disciple of
Christ, we turn our back upon Christ Himself- such is the oneness, the
essential, undeniable oneness of the Lord Jesus with His people. Oh how
sweet it will be to hear Him say, when He comes in His glory to receive to
Himself and to present to His Father His elect Church, "Inasmuch as you have
done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto
Me." Then will the cup of cold water given; the soothing administered at the
sick-bed; the visit to the house of mourning- be acknowledged and rewarded
before an assembled world!
Then followed her holy caress and the sacred annointing. "And kissed his
feet, and anointed them with ointment." This mode of courtesy, prevalent
among the Jews, and also among the Greeks and Romans, received a peculiar
and impressive significance in this instance. The kiss was her confession of
Christ, the seal of her love to His person, the expression of her gratitude
for His great and distinguishing grace towards her.
The Church of old aspired to kiss the lips of Christ- "let Him kiss me
with the kisses of His mouth" -but this disciple was content to kiss His
feet! It is our happiness to know that the Lord will accept the lowliest
service and the feeblest expression of faith in, and love to, Him. "If I may
but touch the border of His garment," is the highest ambition of humble
faith; if I may but kiss His feet, is the ardent desire of lowly love. Judas
soiled the face of Jesus with the kiss of perfidious treachery- this humble
disciple anointed His feet with the sacred kiss of admiring and grateful
love. Whose place would we prefer? Lord, let me kiss Your feet, worship at
Your feet, keep close to Your feet, until, springing from Your footstool on
earth, I find myself adoring, praising, loving You at Your feet in glory.
"That blessed interview, how sweet!
To fall transported at His feet,
Raised in His arms to view His face,
Through the full beamings of His grace.
"Yet, with this prospect full in sight,
I'll wait Your signal for my flight,
For, while Your service I pursue,
I find my heaven begun below."
This narrative impressively illustrates the true service of love. Never
did purer love offer a more grateful service to the Savior than that which
this sin-pardoned disciple presented. We behold the model of what Jesus
desires and expects at our hands. We are Christ's servants if we are
Christ's disciples- "for we serve the Lord Christ." Our consecration to the
service of Jesus is an evidence of our true love to Him. Love is not an
inactive, selfish, indolent grace. "Faith," which is the root of every other
grace, "works by love." What will not mere creature-love do and suffer for
the object of its regard! See its power in a mother's heart, bending night
after night in sleepless watching over her sick and suffering babe! See its
power in a father's heart nerving him for toil, and constraining him to
plough stormy seas, imperiling life in distant and unhealthy climates, for
love of that home-circle around which his untravelled heart still clings.
But infinitely more potent, as divinely more precious, is the love which
constrains the disciple of Jesus to consecrate his service to the Lord. Our
Christian profession involves a service, as our Christianity imposes a
cross. An inactive, indolent disciple of Christ is a contradiction of terms.
The moment we become the Lord's, we submit our necks to a yoke, and our
backs to a burden, and love makes the one to be easy and the other to be
light. Christ's service has many fields and various departments- all may
find employment here. There is a sphere for every servant, work for every
laborer, employment for every gift. "Son, go work today in my vineyard," is
Christ's command to every believer, even to him of but one talent only.
There is a field for the evangelist, a sphere for the teacher, scope for the
visitor, work for male and female.
Oh, how much is to be done for this fallen, sinful world, speeding to the
judgment! What countless, goodly pearls are to be found! what hidden sheep
are to be sought! what wandering children are to be brought home of the
innumerable seed given of the Father to the Son, for whom He travailed in
the sorrow of Gethsemane, the ingathering of whom He shall yet behold with
infinite satisfaction, delight, and glory! To aid Him in this work of
recovery, He asks our consecrated service, He bids us come to the help of
the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. And shall we, wearing
the badge of the Christian disciple, renounce the livery of the Christian
servant? Redeeming love, forbid it! We are the Lord's. Henceforth we bind
ourselves to acknowledge no Master but Him, to wear no yoke, and to engage
in no service but His. Oh impressive thought "Whose I am, and whom I serve!"
Up, then, my Christian reader, to the service of your Lord and Master.
Awake you that sheep! Rouse up from selfishness and indolence, and disinter
your buried talent. Go to the cross, where, in tears and blood, in suffering
and death, your hell was extinguished and your heaven won, and before that
cross blush that you should for one moment have hesitated to yield your
ransomed powers, gifts, time, and possessions entirely, freely, and
supremely to the Savior. From this solemn hour let love constrain you to a
simple, self-denying, unfaltering devotion to Him who sacrificed His life
for you, and who, at His second coming in glory and majesty, will make you
sit down at the marriage banquet, and serve you. "Where I am, there shall
also My servant be."
Weary, suffering, persecuted servant of Christ, take heart, for the
Master is coming, and rich will be your reward. Bind to your heart His yoke
more firmly, His burden more closely, His cross more fondly, for a
glittering crown, and a snow-white robe, and a waving palm, and a golden
harp await you in glory. Living or dying, be your place and posture that of
the loving disciple we have been considering- at the feet of Jesus! There
you are happy and safe; there you will derive strength for duty, and grace
for trial; and whatever clouds may shade other spots in life, this will be
bathed in undimmed and eternal sunshine.
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say;
Happy place! so near, so precious,
May it find me there each day.
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last.
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would seek to be much blest;
There I lay my sins and sorrows,
And, when weary, find sweet rest.
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would wait my way to see;
Leaning, trusting, and confiding,
Since He orders all for me.
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Holy happiness I find;
In the secret of His presence,
He reveals to me His mind.
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray;
While I from His fulness gather
Grace and comfort every day.
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would choose that better part;
Flee from earthly cares and pleasures,
While I tell Him all my heart.
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I there learn His will divine;
See His smile, and catch His sweetness,
As He whispers, "You are mine."
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would pray to be kept there;
Clothed and hidden, washed, forgiven,
I may lay aside all fear.
Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As I sit low at Your feet;
Oh! lock down in love upon me,
Let me see Your face so sweet.
Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,
Make me holy as He is;
May I prove I've been with Jesus,
Who is all my Righteousness.