Our Lord Jesus said, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:26).
Who does truly serve Christ?
According to Christ’s own words, it is he who follows Him that truly serves Him. In the context of this passage, following Christ would mean self-sacrifice and even death. He had earlier spoken about His hour of death (v. 23; cf. v. 27) and the need to die like a corn of wheat to bear fruit that will last unto all eternity (vv. 24- 25). Without an absolute commitment (which may even incur death) to go with Christ, one cannot truly serve Him. One should surrender oneself totally to Christ’s leading to be a true servant worthy of His name.
A true servant of Christ will fix his eyes upon his Master, avoiding all else that would distract or lure him away from Him. The servant of the Lord is most willing to serve Him with his whole heart. He will not quit attending to his Master for any consideration of wealth, rank, relationship or fame. He will also be willing to serve Him at His command in any place, in any condition and in any circumstance. He does not choose his area of service according to his own wishes and whims, but according to his Master’s will.
He has no terms or conditions in his service to the Master. He is ready to do the Lord’s work even if it would mean sacrifice and suffering. He is singleminded to know his Master’s will and to fulfil it with all his strength. He is committed to follow every word of his Master and render a faithful service. The pleasure and honour of his Master is his singular passion.
He is thankful that he is allowed to be so close to the Master to serve Him. So he lovingly, diligently, enthusiastically, joyfully presents himself as a servant to his Master. He revels in his privileged opportunity to stay by his Master. With pure delight, he listens to the Lord’s voice – His commands, His counsels, His promises. The Master is everything to him.
The servant of the Lord is very grateful that he is permitted to follow Him everywhere. His joy and honour are greater than those of the great king Solomon’s servants, whose “sitting”, “attendance” (i.e. manner of service), and “apparel” literally overwhelmed the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:5). Indeed, to every sincere servant of Christ, His presence and guidance are infinitely more eminent and honourable than Solomon’s glorious palace. So Christians, let us serve our Lord wherever He would lead us, be it in the church, in the home, in the school, or at work.
What does Christ promise His servant?
Jesus promises His servants, “if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Ah, what great honour is promised to all who serve Christ according to His good and perfect will as revealed in His Word! How wonderful to hear it from the lips of our blessed Lord and Saviour! He will certainly do what He has said. Oh, how tenderly and graciously the Lord deals with His servants! How amazing it is that in the midst of His great agony, He thought about cheering His troubled servants by telling them of the honour that His Father will bestow upon them!
The prospect of being a servant of Christ is the highest and an unsurpassable honour that a man can ever receive. Obedience to Christ is a glorious privilege, for it empowers a man to overcome his wicked lusts and thoughts, and live a godly and blessed life. Being an obedient servant of Christ is to inherit a pure and clean life devoid of the corruptions of sin. To be a submissive, dutiful follower of Christ is to be conformable to Christ. A true servant of Christ is Christ-like. Oh, what an honourable and high calling Christ gives to everyone who follows Him as His servant!
Serving Christ in this hostile world would bring many trials and much suffering to His followers. Jesus Himself has said, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord” (Matthew 10:22-24).
The humiliations and the hurts one suffers for being a servant of Christ serve only to prove his calling and the certainty of the eternal glory and honour the Father will bestow on him. True servants seek not the honour that cometh from man, but from Christ and His Father. So Jesus said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12). Paul told the suffering Christians, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12). Servants of Christ may suffer on earth, but they shall have great honour in heaven!