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Solid Service

There are three qualities necessary for the one who shall be used of the Lord in a time of difficulty. The first is the power to deny oneself voluntarily. The second is the ability to view or to judge of man and of everything as they are seen in the eyes of God, or in relation to Him; and the third is patient dependence on the Father when everything is against one.

The power to deny oneself voluntarily is the first, because when I am truly set on the work and service of the Lord Jesus, self-consideration* must be dispensed with. It proves that I have His interest primarily at heart when I can overlook what personally concerns myself. As Paul said, “I endure all thing for the elect’s sake” (2 Tim 2:10). He is not only comforted by the Lord, but he is able to comfort others, as he himself has been comforted (2Cor 1:4).

The second quality necessary for a servant is viewing or judging of man, and of everything, as they are in the eyes of God, or in relation to Him. As the first is the virtue of the “forlorn hope” who counted not their lives dear to themselves, in order that they might secure the interests of Christ; this next is, that as I see Him in His glory, so I am able to judge of everything of man as in relation to Him.

One may, like Job, hear of Him by the hearing of the ear, but what a change when one sees Him! “Now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself.” Stephen is consciously connected with the glory of God and the Lord Jesus, and then he is personally qualified, not only to announce where the Son of Man is, but to endure the worst sufferings without swerving from serving those by whom he suffered.

Paul is introduced into the full elevation of a man in Christ, and he learns in himself the weakness of man and the sufficiency of grace, so that he takes pleasure in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on him. In the knowledge of the good, he can refuse the bad. As possessor of the highest things, he can refuse all inferior things. He can maintain the standard because he knows it, and is of it. Gold remains gold, however it may be abused and defaced.

The third quality or proof of power to serve is the patient dependence on God when everything is against one. There is no way in which our capacity for service is so tested as by being placed in circumstances where we have no door of escape but from God. Every competent servant is imprisoned in some way or other, in order to be tried in the balances as to whether he has patient dependence; whether he can be, as it were, steady under fire.

When everything and everyone was against David at Ziklag he proved to be God’s servant, for “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” When Joseph was suffering from the irons in prison; when Job was scraping himself with a potsherd; when Paul and Silas patiently sang in prison at Philippi, none of them had any conception of the high service for which they were being proved competent; and this is very instructive to us.

At midnight in the prison Paul and Silas prayed and gave thanks, and when they little expected it the Lord appeared to them, and the jailor is at their feet seeking salvation. Thus the true servant waits patiently on God when everything is apparently against him, and thus he is proved capable for service according to the Lord’s mind at the time.

- J B Stoney

Poster’s Notes:

* “self-consideration”: What we may think, i.e. considering how difficult, confusing or discouraging something might be to us, which cannot be completely avoided for their purpose is to increase our God-dependence; which is the only strength of a believer.

Excerpt from MJS devotional for 11-21:


Since we are morally colored by the human company we keep, whether high or low, think of the importance of continually associating with the Lord Jesus on high, and having Him as the center of our love and interest (2 Cor. 3:18).

“As babes in Christ we are left for a season in the old surroundings, because the time is not yet ripe for us to know our high calling, and the discipline needed for the heirs of God. The Father waits for His babes until they are weaned, and able to bear the detaching from things necessary at first.


None But The Hungry Heart

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