If you want to know the character of a house, ask the servants—especially the old servants. If you want to know what sort of a condition the public services are in, sometimes you will hear various accounts of them. But it is different with the service of our Lord. Ask the old servants and you will get the best account of it. There may be servants who have tried it for a little while and have become froward and willful. Those who have been at it longest have the best things to say about it. Ask such an one as Paul, the aged. Observe the cheerfulness of the latest epistles of Paul. You have a good deal about his trouble and suffering in the midtime, but when he came to be Paul the aged, when he is writing to Timothy and Titus, he is extremely cheerful and consolatory. He has been long in the service. Ask the apostle John, who began in earliest life and lasted longest in earthly service. You will hear how he had not found it an easy service—nobody does who goes thoroughly through with the Lord. John had, after the Master left, been arrested and threatened along with his friend at Jerusalem. Afterwards he had been exiled, as we know, to Patmos, for the Word of God. He had lost his own brother, James, and his dearest friend, Simon Peter, by martyrdom in the service of Jesus Christ. But what does he say of it at the end? Look at his epistle: "His commandments are not grievous." He came more and more to see, as all aged Christians do see more than they saw it in youth, how thoroughly reasonable is this service; how good it [R821 : page 7] is, how right it is—nay, how blessed it is.
John heard his Master saying, and put his "Amen" to it at the end of his service, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." It may be a question having regard to the context, whether, when our Lord says "Take my yoke upon you," he just meant the yoke assigned to us, or the yoke that he had borne, and which he called us to share. Take the latter meaning. Just as when he says to his disciples, "My peace I give unto you." He intends not merely a peace that he can confer, but the very peace that possessed his own soul in the midst of his tribulation, and says, "That peace I give unto you. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but in Me you will have peace." So in regard to those obligations of duty. He calls those who come to him to follow him in the way, and to bear the yoke with the courage and the burden he endured when he was here as the Father's elect Servant. So we are not merely commanded, by the thought that God has a right to give his orders, and we cannot take a higher place than to be his servant, but we have, as has been again and again pointed out, to follow the Master, who himself has served, and knows all the difficulties of the service.
It gives a master great power over his workmen when they know quite well that he is not a mere amateur in the thing itself; not merely master because he has money enough to employ them, but is a master who has done the work himself, and knows it better than they do; has done it well, has done it thoroughly, and joins them in the work, and says, "Come and work with me; what you do not know how to do, I will show you." It is such a Master whom we serve.—Donald Fraser.