What is Christian service according to the mind of God? It is not necessarily our having a very full program of Christian activities. It is not that we are always busy in what we call ‘things of the Lord’. It is not the measure and amount of our activity and business, not the degree of our energy and enthusiasm in the things of the kingdom of God. It is not our schemes, our enterprises for the Lord. Beloved, the test of all service is its motive. Is the motive, from start to finish, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence, that Christ may be all, and in all?
You know the temptations and the fascination of Christian service; the fascination of being busy, of being occupied with many things; having your program, schemes, enterprises; being in it, and always at it. There is a peril there which has caught multitudes of the Lord’s servants. The peril is that it brings them into prominence, it makes the work theirs; it is their work, their interests, and the more they govern the thing and run it, the more pleased they are.
There is a great difference between Christian service as mere enjoyment of activity, with the fascination of it and all the advantages and facilities it provides for ourselves, and its gratification to our flesh and this: “Christ all, and in all”. Sometimes this latter is achieved by our being put out of action; and then is the test, as to whether we are, or are not, quite satisfied to be altogether put out of work if only the Lord can be the more glorified thereby. If only He can come into His own, it does not matter a scrap whether we are seen or heard. We are getting somewhere, in the grace of God, when we are quite content to be put up in a corner, unseen and unnoticed, if thereby the Lord Jesus can come into His own more speedily and fully.
The challenge of service according to God’s thought is just this: What are we doing it for? Do we want to be in the work because we like to be busy? Or is it utterly and only that, by any means, He may come into His own, that God’s end may be realized? If He can be all, and in all, by our death as well as by our life, have we come to the place where we truly desire “that… Christ may be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death”? (Phil. 1:20). That is the explanation of service from God’s standpoint.
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