Friend Or Slave?

by Pastor Jack Hyles

(Chapter 20 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Strength And Beauty)


Up until John 15:13-16 our Lord had called His disciples servants or slaves. Now He says He plans to call them His friends. What is the difference between a friend or a slave; or, better still, a friend or a servant?

Here is a man who gets a job. He does not particularly like or dislike his boss, but he is a man of character and he does his job. He does it well. He gets to work on time, works until quitting time, and occupies himself with the task at hand while he is at work. He is a good employee, a good worker; his boss has no complaints. Then one day he suddenly feels friendship toward the boss. He ceases to be a servant; now he is a friend. He works no harder, for he was already working up to his capacity. He gets there no earlier; he stays no later; he does his job no better, but now he is a friend. When one gets to the place that he serves willingly, happily and voluntarily, he is then a friend. He may or may not do any more work or work any harder, but he enjoys his work more because he is a friend of the boss.

In this simple truth there is great reward for the Christian. There are some who are servants of Christ; there are others who are friends. Both the servant and the friend come to all the services of the church. Both the servant and the friend tithe. Both the servant and the friend witness. Both the servant and the friend read the Bible. Both the servant and the friend pray. Both the servant and the friend teach a Sunday school class. Then what is the difference? The servant does it because he is supposed to do it; the friend does it because he wants to do it.

Ah, 'twas a happy day in my life when I began preaching because I wanted to. I recall those days when I would dread Sunday coming, stay awake all night Saturday night, lose my breakfast after the Sunday morning meal, and walk in the pulpit with dread and fear. Then one day I became His friend; I wanted to preach. Maybe I preached better, or maybe I didn't but I preached with more enjoyment. The motive was different; I was His friend. Ah, how wonderful preaching has been since that day.

I can recall the days when giving was a chore. Tithe I did, and give I did, because I was supposed to give. I was His servant; I was obligated to give. Then one day I became His friend. Now I give because I want to give, because it is a joy to give. The same thing could be said about soul winning, church attendance, obedience, etc.

Wonderful is the day when the Christian changes his motive for service. He does what he does because he wants to do it, not just because he has to do it. He has changed from being a servant to being a friend.

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