It is a relished aspect of modern life to look forward to the next fun or big thing – an afternoon playing video games, a vacation, an evening out. If we have this mindset in serving the Lord, frustration will ensue. Serving Him is not about the next big thing.
Serving Jesus Christ is to “walk as he walked” (1 John 2:6). He went about doing good (Acts 10:38). He filled his soul with the joy of serving his Father in the present. He spent evenings in prayer with his Father. His typical way of life was preaching, praying, listening, helping, loving, sympathizing, confronting, serving.
We have moved far from this. Today’s pursuit is the meaningful worship experience, the guru Bible teacher, the new ministry, the personal niche. We have fallen into faith by gimmicks and spirituality by artificial stimulants. It sets up the soul for a lifetime of frustration, pursuit of elusive spiritual highs, and dissatisfaction with the Lord’s normal workings.
The Lord normally works in the still quiet of prayerful time before his word. This is when the Spirit instructs, convicts, and encourages. He works as we pray and seek his face, without dramatic accompanying music or a cheerleader at our shoulder telling us to pray louder and raise our hands higher. The Lord normally works when we make him our contentment and simply serve him, without fanfare, not promoting ourselves for others to recognize and praise.
The Lord Jesus is a real person. Glorified in heaven, he has a personal nearness on earth by the Spirit. We can serve him the same way Mary did, when she washed his feet. The position of those reclining at low tables in those days meant their legs and feet were stretched behind them. Mary thought she would be unobserved. This was an act of devotion for Jesus alone. Judas embarrassed her by calling attention to it. Jesus rebuked him. He welcomes our simple service to him.
We simply serve Jesus when we do what he has called us to do as an expression of love for him. Doing our work quietly but unto Jesus is the model of serving him: “and that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business” (1 Thess. 4:11). Many early believers were of the slave or poor working class. When they heard, “Do all things for the glory of God,” this meant serving hard human masters “not with eye-service as menpleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart” (Eph. 6:6).
“Servants of Christ” is the key to everything – do the hard, obscure, unappreciated, lonely service that our Father sometimes asks of his people – for Him. It is the key to suffering patiently, loving enemies, passing through trying times without losing one’s mind or grip on reality, having hope when discouraged – we are servants of Christ, devoted slaves of our Master, and he is the kindest, most tender and faithful of masters. It is a privilege to serve him, and if he has ordained this thankless job, this difficulty in my child’s life, this lifelong trial without relief, I will serve him. Each disciple must come to this, if our service to Jesus Christ is to be real and satisfying, authentic, sincere and not a show for others or a drudgery to ourselves.
He is worthy. He is our delight and joy. One tender look from him makes lifetimes of trouble no sacrifice at all. This is our big thing coming – when we depart to be with him forever, enjoy him, and have all tears wiped away by his nail-scarred hand.