I love that hymn we have just sung. Ken Paginton composed this hymn in 1961 and he said, “Lord let me hear once more the call to labour.” At this time, he wasn’t looking for an easy way and possibly he never did look for an easy way. It is a very rich hymn because he expresses what he felt. He was found labouring for Jesus when the end came. He laboured in Madagascar and when he was asked to come back to England and help with the plans, he accepted that. That wasn’t anything he would wish to do. I wonder how often we thank God for those who make plans for us. How often do we complain about the plans they make? Do we ever say, “Thank you,” even though we may not like it?
I remember some years ago before the list came out, I thought that if I get with a certain sister, I will have a very special year but it was the worst year I have had. It wasn’t easy for her and it wasn’t easy for me. I was young then in the work and I got too much attention. It didn’t do anything for my soul and it certainly didn’t help my companion. We should let God choose for us and be grateful.
Acts 13:36, “For David after he had served… fell on sleep.” I was remembering Mr and Mrs Porter. When I came here for Preps. This was my first and that generation is almost gone now. The thoughts remain because the memory of the just is blest. We used to dine in the cookhouse but in the evening we went into the house and Mrs Porter always had a fire on and supper ready. She was always smiling and she loved us. Mr Porter was older. He was serving with love. He used to say, “I like you well!” He wasn’t able to do much but he encouraged us a lot by his spirit of service and that spirit remains here today. We don’t need to have our name on the list to be in the Work. We see servants everywhere. You are servants of the servants. Every home we go to so much is laid on for us in love service.
In John 13, Jesus showed us how to serve. The quality of His service is incomparable. He washed the Disciples’ feet but before this it says, verse 3, “Jesus knowing that the Father had given…… hands.” He knew that He had everything. God gave Jesus the highest place but He took the lowest place. That is the spirit of a servant. Whether in the Work or in the home life, it is lovely to have the spirit of service. We see it here at Convention as even the most manual tasks are done and no one says, “I can’t do that.” We want to be very careful about that spirit of service.
From Carrick, I traveled with a young couple with two young children and it was a very special journey. I could see the spirit of love and service. The older little boy wanted to know if I was going to stay with them that night. His mother knew I had other plans and she didn’t upbraid me. Then the children talked about Uncle Alan coming. The children are like that because their parents want to serve. They are servants of the servants. I noticed these young parents are not over-ambitious about material things. They had a beautiful car but I could see the wife wasn’t interested in material things. She had a beautiful home before she married and I haven’t been to her present home. No doubt she has everything she needs but she may not have everything she wants.
I won’t be on the list when it comes out but I thought it would be nice if the children helped by their parents would make a list of the Irish Workers labouring in other lands. It could inspire the parents also to pray for the Workers. I love to think of David. He served his generation by the will of God. It wasn’t by his own will. He sought out a man of the house of Saul to serve him. He had nothing in his spirit against Saul and he sought this man out.
At some Convention places there is a table for the less able. It really impressed me. Mephibosheth was less able. His service was to sit at the king’s table. If we are less able, we can pray. It is very encouraging when we remember that others are praying for us. We don’t have to be very active, we don’t have to be very capable to pray for others. Even the little children can pray for the Workers. It is lovely to see this spirit of wanting to serve in the Kingdom of God.
At the Post Office in the capital of Colombia, there is a little man who doesn’t have any arms or legs and someone puts him on the street each day to beg. He can’t serve, he can only beg. Sometimes when I think things are getting a little bit hard, I look at that little man and think what a privilege we have that we can serve. When we think things are getting a little bit tough, we can think of those who can’t serve. Those who are older cannot serve as they used to but we can’t complain because we have everything.
Esther faithfully served in her generation. When everything was going wrong for the Jews, she sat in the ashes to plead for God’s people. She took off her royal gown. She sat there and pleaded and had others pleading with her for the liberation of God’s people. She was offered half of the kingdom. She was thinking about others. It helps us a lot to think about others. If we think only about ourselves, we will have no joy. We should expand our little bubble and think about others and there is a lot of joy in that. There is so much in the Scriptures to help us to serve faithfully by the will of God. The children are noticing. They repeat what their parents say. They are the mirror of the home and they can teach us many things. We must have quality in our service and this will please God.