Here is the secret of true Christian service. In what must the Christian worker follow Christ? In His
I. Obedience.—He came to do God’s will. Have we tried to find God’s will concerning us? It is so much more pleasant to do the work which is most congenial to us. But if we are to follow the Master, our desire will be to be used of Him just as He will, and when, and where.
II. Humility.—How much Christian workers of all kinds are tempted by pride. How much we think of ‘our’ work, ‘our’ preaching, etc. If Christ is to use us, we must have the humble spirit which will enable us to take the lowest place (even that of a door-keeper if need be). It is more difficult to get good workers for the lowliest offices than it is for the highest, because men and women have not learnt to follow Christ in His humility.
III. Love for all men.—We have our favourites; Christ loved all men. It is so much more congenial to look after the ‘goody’ people. We need a large heart if we are to follow Him Who came to seek and to save the lost.
IV. Self-denial.—How little does self-denial enter into our lives! If we keep the Friday fasts and the Lenten fasts, we think we have done all that is required. But it is possible to observe these seasons and yet to be strangers to any real denial of self. ‘If any man will come after Me, let him … take up his cross.’ The cross does not enter sufficiently into our lives. Yet ‘no cross, no crown.’
‘A life spent in the pursuit of enjoyment cannot justly claim to be a human, still less a Christian life. Every exceptional indulgence in amusement or living which we admit, every use which we make of money or leisure for rest, for travel, for the accumulation of works of art or literature, must satisfy two tests before it can be approved by an awakened conscience. It must be found to contribute directly or indirectly its full value to the efficiency of our work; and it must not be such as to cause even the weak to offend by a perilous example.’