Summary: Service to God is not a contract with an expiration date. We’re called to reflect the spirit of Christ, beginning from the first day that we receive his grace, and continuing until he calls us home. Of himself, Jesus said, “I have not come to be served
I heard about a Union Meeting where the Union Representative was explaining the new Work Contract.
He said, "I have great news, Comrades. Management has agreed to lighten our work schedule!”
The crowd shouted, "Hooray!"
"And we will have a 150% pay rise."
"We will finish work at 4 PM, not 5 PM."
And again the crowd yelled, "Hooray!”
"We will start work at 10 AM, not 9 AM."
"From now on, we will work only on Wednesdays."
There was dead silence --- then a voice from the back asked…
"Which ones?" (Illustration from Sermon Central)
Last week I talked about the gifts, the talents and resources that God has given each of us. I talked about how those gifts are there, within us, but we must be willing to unwrap them. Whatever our gift or talent may be, God meant for us to use it . . . not once, not twice nor even a hundred times; but every day for the rest of our lives. Service to God is not a contract with an expiration date. We’re called to reflect the spirit of Christ, beginning from the first day that we receive his grace, and continuing until he calls us home. Of himself, Jesus said, “I have not come to be served but to serve.” (Matt. 20:28)
Luke 22:26-30 it is written, “. . . he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet, I am among you as the One who serves.”
Isaac Watts was a well known minister and writer of songs in the 1700’s. Among his better known songs are, “Joy to the World,” “Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past,” and “I’ll Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath.” The theme of this last hymn reflects Isaac’s great interest in the afterlife with Christ.
He once wrote, “Death to a good man is . . . but passing through one little, dusky room of his Father’s house into another that is fair and large, lightsome and glorious, and divinely entertaining.”
Then he added this personal note. “May the rays and splendor of my heavenly apartment shoot far downward and gild the dark entry with such a cheerful beam as to banish every fear when I shall be called to pass through.”
It was as he wished. As he was on his deathbed for three weeks in November of 1748, at age 74, his friends gathered round. Mustering his strength, he exclaimed, “If God may raise me up again, I may finish some more of my papers, or God can make use of me to save a soul, and that will be worth living for. If God has no more service for me to do, through grace I am ready. It is a great mercy to me that I have no manner of fear nor dread of death . . . .”
His body lies buried in London, England’s Bunhill Fields. The epitaph on his tomb, which he had prepared for himself, includes the following scriptures:
2 Corinthians 5:8, “Absent from the body, and present with the Lord.” And Colossians 3:4, “When Christ, who is my life, shall appear, then shall I also appear with Him in glory.” (“Then Sings My Soul”, Book 2, Robt. Morgan)
• Service to our Lord Jesus and to his body, the church, is a life-long calling. That service does not end until we are joyously called home where our rest in Christ will be eternal. Where does it say that after ten years, twenty years or thirty years we can retire from serving our Lord? Jesus said, “But you are those WHO HAVE CONTINUED WITH ME in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom . . . .”
• The promise of a place in Christ’s kingdom carries with it a condition, and that condition is that we have been obedient. We “. . . have continued with (Him) in (His) trials” so that we may one day live with Him in His Kingdom.
The servant doesn’t go to bed before his master. He waits until his master sleeps, and then he retires. The church is the Body of Christ in this world, and as members of the Body of Christ, we’re called to serve it until the author of that body comes. This is what we’ve been called to because the call to serve the body is the call to serve our Lord and Master. But that service is not a grievous one. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, 30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”