Authority — Service — Power

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
THE first requisite for service is the commission to serve. The servant's most important essentials are his credentials. The man of chief rank and ability, who represents his country as ambassador, or the humblest gatekeeper of the king's palace, each has authority committed to him for his work. The authority given places each of them in his position of service. When the Lord was leaving this earth He said, "The Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants" (Mark 13:3434For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. (Mark 13:34)); authority, therefore, was that which the Lord first committed to His servants. The servant is never in authority beyond the limits of his commission. In this life it is not for a general to assume the judgeship, or for the policeman to attend the fireman's duty—each servant of his country has authority in his own sphere, not in that of others. God commissioned Saul to be king over Israel; Saul assumed the priest's service, offered sacrifices, and lost his crown. (1 Sam. 13:12-1412Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. 13And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee. (1 Samuel 13:12‑14).) To Moses were given the designs of the tabernacle; to Bezaleel and Aholiab its construction. (Ex. 31) Paul planted; Apollos watered. The Lord has given us authority to do the work He prescribes for us in His Name, not to do the work of others.
God first appoints a man for a service, and then enables him to serve. God called Moses, and commissioned him, saying, "I will send thee." (Ex. 3:1010Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:10).) The commission of Jehovah was authority for Moses. But Moses looked for power in himself (4:10) to carry out his service, and, not finding it, sought to avoid executing his service; then "the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses" (4:14). How often, like Moses, do we look for power in ourselves to fulfill that service to which we are appointed! Our first question should be, "Am I sent?" David went against Goliath of Gath, as Jehovah's servant; Saul looked at David's own power, and endeavored to make him go to war in his armor; but David took with him Jehovah's Name, and by a sling and a stone the giant fell. David went on in faith; the result was in Jehovah's hand; the issue—victory.
Christ's servants have His authority, and greater authority no Christian can possess. Human authority is either that of him who speaks or of those who sent him; it is as great or as small as man—it is neither more nor less. Its boundaries are time, and its limit the reach of the arm of flesh. We have not authority over our fellow servants. Interference is not authority. "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth." (Rom. 14:44Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4).) Let Christ's servants lay to heart, that the first thing the Lord gave to His servants was authority, and they will be emboldened in their service; for who shall stand against their Master, and what encourages a man more in his work for his Lord than this happy knowledge—my Master sent me?
Our gracious Lord when on earth was the Servant, and as such He had authority given Him of His Father. He spake as one having authority, not as the scribes. (Mark 1:2222And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:22).) He spake of God, and from God; they, as schoolmen, of their books and from their wisdom. The people were astonished at His doctrine, and, in measure, it is so even now with the servants of Christ, who are like their Lord, for those who speak direct at His bidding, as from Himself, command the souls of men. They may be laughed at, or envied, but their doctrine is not as the scribes. What greater honor, servant of Christ, can you have on earth than the authority your Master in heaven has given to you? The great men of this world seek service under kings; you are the servant of the Lord of all—go on in your service, serving Him. Let no power on earth drag you from your path of duty.