HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?–Matthew 10:25
Spirituality Is Conformity to Christ
The highest praise that can be given to any man is that others, knowing him, should call him Christlike. That is the noblest ideal in the world. People who live long together often grow to resemble one another. Years of intimate and loving fellowship reflect themselves even on the face. So years of close communion with the Lord insensibly convey His impress, and the inward life becomes what we call Christlike. Now one of the subtle temptations of this life is an impatience with the reality of things. The facts of life are often hard, stern facts, difficult to reconcile with spirituality. And it is when we are tempted to despondency, as if the higher life were not for us, that we ought to remember this saying of our Lord. One is our Master, even Christ. His life is our ideal. Spirituality is not a vague abstraction; it is growing conformity to Him. And if He was burdened, and misunderstood, and sometimes sorrowful even unto death, we must not quarrel with such dark experiences. It is enough that we should be like Him.
Christlikeness Does Not Exempt Us from Weariness
We ought, for instance, to remember this great saying in the frequent hours when we are weary. Many of His servants have times of great exhaustion in the work and welfare of the Kingdom. They would give much to be always at their best, and perhaps they read of others who are so. There are those who claim never to have known weariness since they gave themselves up to Him in full surrender. But the Lord Himself, who yielded up His life in a way that no one else has ever paralleled, never made any such claim as that. He was so weary once that He fell fast asleep, with His head on the wooden pillow of a fishing boat. He was so weary once, travelling to Calvary, that His cross was transferred to Simon of Cyrene. And all this is written on the page of Scripture, not only that we may see the kind of man He was, but that those who love Him, and who seek to follow Him, might be delivered from the lure of false ideals. It would be a wonderful thing always to feel radiant, and equal to every task the day may bring. Never to grow weary in our service would be to taste the joy of service in eternity. But our Master knew not that experience. There were hours when He was utterly exhausted. And it is enough, He tells us, that we be like Him.
Christlikeness Does Not Exempt Us from Being Misunderstood
Again, we should always bear these words in mind in seasons when we are misunderstood. To be misunderstood is always bitter. Nothing so adds to the joy of spiritual service as to be certain that it is appreciated. Appreciation, from the right kind of people, is always a spur to more devoted toil. But to toil on, as so many have to do, misunderstood even by those they love, is one of the heaviest crosses in the world. It is so apt to blight all that is most delicate, so swift to sour the milk of human kindness. Why should God permit this chilling atmosphere to surround many of His finest toilers? Then one remembers that He who came to earth to embody the ideal of life and character breathed that pestilent atmosphere all the time. He was misunderstood when He wrought His deeds of mercy–He casteth out devils by Beelzebub. He was misunderstood when He hung upon the cross–they thought He was calling on Elias. And with that spirit of His, so exquisitely sensitive, that increasing and deep misunderstanding were sorer than the piercing of the nails. One of our novelists speaks of “Kingdom of Heaven kindness.” Have not many practised it and been misunderstood? A little gratitude would have made all the difference, but gratitude was conspicuous by its absence. It is in such hours, and they come to everybody who has practised the secret of the “cup of water,” that there is a gospel in the word enough. Enough is as good as a feast. Enough is satisfaction. More than enough would be a spiritual surfeit, and surfeit is the prologue to disease. He who knows us and what is best for us, just as He knows what is in store for us, says it is enough that the servant is as his Lord.
Christlikeness Does Not Exempt Us from a Sense of Failure
Then, lastly, we should remember this in the seasons when we think that we have failed. Spiritual work, above all other work, is dogged and haunted by the sense of failure. A postman does not fail–he delivers his letters, and his work is done. A captain does not fail–he brings his ship to port, and that’s the end of it. But when men are dealing, not with ships but with souls, and seeking to win them for the Lord, the sense of failure is often overwhelming. How many a minister, who has wrought and prayed, is so haunted by the failure of his preaching, that he longs sometimes never to preach again! Is it alien to the spirit of the Lord? It seems to me that without that seeming failure we shall never fully share in His experience. When I hear Him crying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,…how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not” (Luke 13:34), I realize that He was there before us–and it is enough, for the most ardent heart, that the servant should be as his Lord.