The Everlasting Service
‘And he shall serve him for ever.’—Ex. xxi. 6.
A PROMISE only differenced from a threat by one thing, love! But that makes all the difference.
To those who are still ‘enemies in their minds,’* the prospect of serving for ever would be anything but pleasant. But when the enmity is slain by the
11 Chron. xxviii. 9. 8 Rom. iv. 21. 8 Col. i. 21.
cross of Christ,1 and all things are become new,3 and the love of Christ constraineth,8 then it is among the brightest of our many bright anticipations, and everlasting joy and everlasting service become almost synonymous.
Rest is sweet, but service (in proportion to our love) is sweeter still. Those who have served much here cannot but anticipate the fuller and more perfect service above. Those who have to do little more than ‘stand and wait’ here, will perhaps revel even more than others in the new experience of active service, coming at once, as it were, into its full delight.
The Hebrew servant had trial of his master’s service for six years, and in the seventh he might go out free if he would. But then, ‘if the servant shall plainly say’ (plainly, avowedly, no mistake about it), ‘I love my master, . . . I will not go out free,’ then, publicly and legally, he was sealed to his service ‘ for ever.’ It all depended on the love. He would say, ‘I will not go away from thee;* because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee.’
How this meets our case, dear fellow-servants! We do not want to ‘go away from’ Jesus, because we love Him ; and we love His house too,—not only, * the house of God’ with which so much of our service is connected, but * His own house,’ the ‘spiritual house,’ ‘the blessed company of all faithful people.’
And are we not ‘well’ with Him? Where else so well ? where else anything but ill?
1 Eph. ii, 16. 2 2 Cor. v. 17.
8 2 Cor. V. 14. * Deut. xv. 16.
Has He not dealt well with His servants?1 What a chorus it would be if we all spoke out, and said, ‘ I love my Master, and it hath been well for me with Him ‘! Why don’t we speak out, and let people know what a Master He is, and what a happy service His is? Who is to speak out, if we have not a word to say about it! Let us stand up for Jesus and His service, every one of us!
Perhaps, when we do speak out, we shall realize the joy of this promise as never before. It was not till the servant had owned his love, and given up ‘the rest of his time in the flesh,’ and had his ear bored, that the word was spoken, ‘He shall serve him for ever; ‘2 and it is only the loving and consecrated heart that leaps up for joy at the heavenly prospect: ‘And His servants shall serve Him.”
Think about it a little. What will it be to be able at last to express not only all the love we now feel, but all the perfected love of infinitely enlarged capability of loving in the equally perfected service of equally enlarged capability of serving ?—able to show Jesus a love which would burst our hearts if poured into them now! Able to put all the new rapture of praise into living action for Him! Able to go on serving Him day and night,4 without any weariness in it, and never a hateful shadow of weariness of it; without any interruptions ; without any mistakes at all ; without any thinking how much better some one else could have done it, or how much better we ought to have done it; above all, without the least mixture of sin in motive or deed— pure, perfect service of Him whom we love and see face to face! What can be more joyful?
1 Ps. cxix. 65, 2 Ex. xxi. 6.
8 Rev. xxii. 3. * Rev. vii. 15.
We are not told much about it, we could not understand it now; the secrets of this wonderful service will only be told when we are brought to His house above, and see what are the heavenly ‘good works which God hath before ordained’ (margin, prepared) for us.
How full of surprises the new service will be !— new powers, new and entirely congenial fellowworkers, new spheres, new ministries; only two things not new, if our earthly service has been true, —no new power, and no new end and aim, but the same, even His power and His glory! Then shall come the full accomplishment of the Messianic prophecy: ‘A seed shall serve Him ; ” and still we shall say (only I think we shall sing it), ‘Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” ‘Whose I am and whom I serve’ for ever!3
My Lord hath met my longing
With word of golden tone,
That I shall serve for ever
Himself, Himself alone.
‘Shall serve him,’—and ‘ for ever!’
Oh hope most sure, most fair!
The perfect love outpouring,
In perfect service there!
I Ps. xxii. 30. 2 Matt. vi. 13. 8 Acts xxvii. 23.