SOLID SERVICE……J.B. STONEY

“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 things for the
elect’s sake” (2Tim.2:10).  He is not only comforted by the Lord, but he is able
to comfort others, as he himself has been comforted of God.  (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 unto 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

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