"The Lord is my portion, says my soul."
"You call me 'Master' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am." John 13:13
Emancipated from the slavery of Satan, the believer becomes the servant of Christ, and his highest honor that, henceforth, Christ is his Master. What a blissful exchange--the liberty of the child, for the bondage of the slave; the service of holiness, for the wages of unrighteousness; Christ his Master, for Satan his despot; and Canaan, with its vine-clad hills and sunny plains, its flowing rivers and spicy breezes, for the furnaces, the brick kilns, and the darkness of Egypt!
All this divine grace accomplishes--for, by the grace of God, we are what we are--and all this is involved in the relation which the Lord our portion sustains to us as our Master. It is clear that our Lord did not refuse to acknowledge the relation, but accepted and approved it. Not therefore as an empty title, but as a profoundly significant appellation, He recognized and commended it on the part of His disciples. Equally does it belong to us to claim Him as our Master, and diligently to inquire what are the privileges, duties, and blessings flowing to us from this high and sacred relation.
As our Master, we belong to the school of Christ. In other words, we are His disciples or learners. Plato had his school, and Pythagoras his, and proud were the disciples of each to be recognized as claiming either the one or the other as their master. Christ is our Master. He is divine, His school unearthly, His disciples spiritual, His doctrine and His teaching from above. My soul! in this sense--the highest, and holiest, and most solemn--call no man master except Christ.
There are many in this infidel and ritualistic age who set themselves up as heads of 'schools of religious thought' and teachers of theological doctrines, followed by multitudes of unreflecting and deluded admirers, but whose doctrines and practice, if faithful to Christ, we must ignore and shun as the garment saturated with the plague. Test the spirits by God's revealed word, for many false teachers are gone forth, denying the Lord Jesus, while yet presumptuously assuming the badge of His religion, and falsely wearing the livery of His Church. My soul! sit only at Jesus' feet, and drink of the pure wine of the gospel as it sweetly flows from His grace-anointed lips.
As our Master, we are bound to obey His commands. "If you love me, keep my commandments." And truly, Lord, Your commands are not arbitrary and grievous, but Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light; and in wearing the one and in bearing the other there is a present and great reward. "Your ways are ways of pleasantness, and all Your paths are peace."
Sweet and pleasant is His service. It blends the lowliest act with the highest honor, the most binding obligation with the most perfect freedom, the severest self-denial with the most exquisite enjoyment, the poorest offering with the richest reward. O my soul, in laboring for Christ you are serving a good, a loving, a faithful Master; and however obscure your sphere and humble your employment, His grace will aid you, His blessing will further you, and He will at the last day publicly and gratefully acknowledge and richly reward the cup of cold water given, and the box of fragrant ointment broken, in His name and for His glory.
As our Master, we His servants are to imitate Him. "The servant is not greater than his lord. If I, your Lord and Master have washed your feet, you ought also to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you." Lord! may I so closely walk with You, so faithfully serve You, and so truly resemble You, that in the servant, the world may trace the image of the Master, whose I am and whom I serve, and glorify Your great and precious Name.
"Lord, if You Your grace impart,
Poor in spirit, meek in heart,
I shall as my Master be,
Rooted in humility."