HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: —Revelation 22:3
Of the life of the glorified in heaven, Scripture does not tell us very much. And not a little of what it does tell is poetically and imaginatively described. There is, for instance, the familiar figure of the harp in the hands of the redeemed. It is easy to make a joke of that and so to turn beatitude to ridicule. But what Scripture is trying to convey is that in heaven utterance shall be music, and therefore self-expression shall be perfect. Music can say what speech can never say. It is more subtle and delicate than speech. It voices the deeper yearnings of the soul in ways that words are powerless to do. And if the utterance of heaven is to be music, then self-expression will be perfect there, and the loneliness of personality will be gone. Here we are all lonely. We long to express ourselves and cannot. There are a thousand things in every heart which it is quite impossible to utter. And the mystical meaning of the harp in heaven is not only that praise will echo there, but that at last, we shall be no more lonely, but be in perfect accord with each other.
But if not a little is poetic imagery, there are glimpses that must be literally taken. And all such glimpses are radiant with comfort for the sojourner amid the shadows here. We read that in heaven there shall be no temple, for worship and being will be coextensive. We are told that there are many mansions, for individuality will be preserved. We are assured there will be a place prepared, just as here there was a place prepared when the cradle was ready and the little garments and the nurture of the mother’s breast. We do not need to translate these into prose like the harp under the fingers of the glorified. If there is poetry in such expressions, it is the poetry which is the stuff of heaven. And so the words which form our text yield their comfort when they are taken literally–His servant shall serve Him.
In Heaven, There Will Be Continuity
Perhaps the first suggestion of the words is that in heaven there will be continuity. The ruling passion of the life on earth will be the ruling passion of the life beyond. A true believer is a man who serves. He does not live for self; he lives for others. He follows One who left His high estate that He might take on Him the form of a servant. And Scripture assures us that our service here, transferred in an instant by the grave, is to be carried on in the land beyond the river. With powers quickened by their earthly exercise, with zeal made warmer by rebuffs, with wisdom gained through many a mistake as we sought gropingly to help some brother, we shall enter heaven to discover that the reward of service is a greater service, and that crowning is really continuance. For such service, there will be ample room if heaven is the sphere of endless progress.
The Contrast of Heavenly Service
But if there be the thought of continuity, along with it there is the thought of contrast. As if at last, when the mists have rolled away, His servants shall serve Him. Here our finest service is imperfect; at the best we are unprofitable servants; self mingles with everything we do; unworthy motives touch and tarnish everything. But there where self is swallowed up in love and everything that defileth is excluded, in reality and in spirit and in truth, His servants shall serve Him. Think of some of the things that mar our service here. There is, for instance, the frailty of the body. How tender was that word of Jesus in Gethsemane. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Are there not many who read this little article who would give worlds to be in a greater service, but are debarred by frailty of body? There are the limitations of our ignorance, for here we know so little of each other. We long to help and do our very best, perhaps only to find that we have hurt. And then there is the shortness of our time, and the interruptions of sickness and of night, and the undeviating pressure of the hours. All this the Bible knows. It knows our frame and remembers we are dust. It knows our longings for a truer service than any we have been able to achieve. And then, when heart and flesh are failing and we lament the little we have done, it opens the lattice of heaven for an instant and says, “His servants shall serve him.” There shall be no more night. There the limits of time shall all have vanished. There we shall never misinterpret anybody, for we shall know even as we are known. With motives undefiled, with knowledge perfected, with the tireless zest of the eternal morning, at last His servants shall serve Him.