If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
So you are proposing to yourself that you will serve Christ, are you? You are a young man, as yet you have plenty of vigor and strength, and you say to yourself, “I will serve Christ in some remarkable way; I will seek to make myself a scholar, I will try to learn the art of oratory, and I will in some way or other glorify my Lord’s name by the splendor of my language.”
Will you, dear friend? Is it not better, if you are going to serve Christ, to ask him what he would like you to do?
Now listen: Your Lord and Master does not bid you become either a scholar or an orator in order to serve him. Both of those things may happen . . . but first of all he says, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me.”
This is what Christ prefers beyond anything else, that his servants should follow him. If we do that, we shall serve him in the way which is according to his own choice. . . .
What does the Savior mean by bidding us render to him our best service by following him?
[F]irst, I understand by these words that we are to follow Christ by believing his doctrine.
Our Lord says, practically, “If any anyone serves me, let him follow me as Teacher; let him sit at my feet, let him learn of me.” . . . [Christ] has come to be the Teacher of the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and it is only by teaching the truths which he has made known, and by publishing the message which he has revealed, that you can really be his servant. . . .
[N]ext, I think that the text means, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me by obeying my commands.”
If you want truly to serve Christ, do not do what you suggest to yourself, but do what he commands you. Remember what Samuel said to Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” . . .
[T]hirdly, I think that by these words our Lord means, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me by imitating my example.”
It is always safe, dear friends, to do what Christ would have done under the same circumstances in which you are placed. . . . [T]he ordinary life of Christ is in every respect an example to us. Never do what you could not suppose Christ would have done. If it strikes you that the course of action that is suggested to you would be un-Christly, then it is un-Christian, for the Christian is to be like Christ. . . .
Once more, I think the Savior means this: “If anyone serves me, let him follow me by clinging to my cause.”
Cling to the cause of Christ, dear friend, give yourself to that kingdom for which you are taught to pray, and be ready to make any sacrifice whatever that you may advance and extend it.
Yea, throw your whole self into the holy service of your Lord; make the name of Christ to be more widely known, and the cause of Christ to be further extended among the sons of men. Cling to the cause of Christ, and so carry out his own words, “If any man serve me, let him follow me.” . . .
If any man will serve Christ, let him follow Christ.
Let him put his foot down as nearly as he can where Christ put his foot down; let him tread in Christ’s steps, and be moved by his spirit, actuated by his motives, live with his aim, and copy his actions. This is the noblest way in which to serve the Lord.
From the sermon The Rule and Reward of Serving Christ, delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, June 27th, 1889