“Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.”John 12:26
When Greeks became seekers, Jesus did something unlike many seeker-sensitive churches today. Instead of adapting the message to appeal to the comfort of the crowd, Jesus gave principles that seemed almost to repel them from their comfort to commitment. He first talked about giving up their lives. Then He spoke of obedience. Jesus told the Greek hearers that if they want to serve Him they must follow Him.
The message remains true for us today: following Jesus has implications of obedience, as well as threats to comforts of the present life. We cannot serve Jesus without following Jesus. I don’t know how people get the idea they can be a Christian without following the teachings and the ways of Jesus. You don’t get that from the Bible. You get that from the world that wants us to be deluded into thinking: “I can be a Christian and not change a thing in my life.” There are things we do not want to do, but if it means following Jesus, then we do them. There are things you will want to do, but by following and serving Jesus, you don’t do them. We lay aside our wants and preferences to be obedient.
In that commitment of service, there is honor given by God. When I look at Revelation 7 and see people who have literally followed Jesus to death, they are honored in eternity. I see in Hebrews 11 the horrible illustration of people who have suffered and bled and died for their faith and the world is not worthy, but they will be honored for eternity. In the parable of the talents, it didn’t make any difference whether the Master gave the servant ten talents or five talents. They were honored for their faithfulness to the task of stewardship and service.
Christmas Evans was always on the move serving Christ. He said, “It is better to burn out than to rust out.” When Joan of Arc knew her enemies were strong and her time was short she prayed to God, “I shall only last a year, use me as you can.” Jesus is teaching that only by spending our life in service do we receive honor.
The question must be asked: “Will we still serve Him even when people forsake us?” God knows we cannot live the Christian life by ourselves. We need the encouragement of others. But what happens when friends forsake us? Will a student still serve God in school if he or she must stand alone and be the only one who turns down particular invitations and no one else is there to comfort and encourage? Will a businessman serve Jesus when he knows that his boss will reprimand him if he doesn’t make a sale if it meant misrepresenting the product? Will the lady serve Jesus when she is the only one not participating in the tearing down of another and even defending the one who is being discussed?
Jesus goes much farther. He teaches us, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life.”
God will honor His faithful servants.