Service to the Lord

have you waited in the presence of God? 

I assume that as believers in we are definitely devoted to service the Lord Jesus Christ, and I make an appeal…to all here as to whether that is so.  I do not presume to define what the service is.  Probably that is a matter that lies between the Lord Jesus and your own souls; but that every one that belongs to Him is devoted to service, and that for ever, must go without saying; for the immensity of what Christ has done lays us under eternal obligation.  Our lives, our abilities, all that we possess, must be at His feet for service…

I ask you, in regard to your service, have you waited in the presence of God?  Have you a sense that He has taken you up?  There are two dangers: one is to serve unintelligently, and the other is to not serve at all.  There should be a sense in our hearts that God has definitely taken us up for service.  It was so with Christ…there abode in His heart the secret that He was God’s Servant.

(R Besley)

Golden Nugget Number 328

Golden Nuggets are published by Saville Street Distribution, Venture, Princes Esplanade, Walton-on-the-Naze, CO14 8QD UK


A Classic Quote by JND – True Greatness

This is true greatness – to serve unnoticed,
And work unseen.

Learn to grapple with souls
Aim at the conscience, Exalt Christ.
Use a sharp knife with yourself,
Say little, Serve all, Pass on.

This is true greatness – to serve unnoticed,
And work unseen.

Oh, the joy of having nothing, and being nothing,
Seeing nothing but a living Christ in glory,
And being careful for nothing
But His interests down here!


From Miscellaneous Tracts

J N Darby – French Letter No. 129 – Encouraging a Labourer

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby


Elberfeld – 29th October 1861

To Mr B

Look how long it is, beloved brother, since I ought to have written to you, and I had thought of doing it; but, always travelling or in conferences, and pressed by desk work, your letter has remained among the unanswered letters. I take the pen at last, and be assured that it was not a lack of will or interest, for your letter has interested me a lot as news of the brethren always does. A stop of two or three days following a conference allows me a little time to answer you. ‘Dolce far[29], I understand a little, but dolce farniente[30] I hardly ever get, while rest is in God and one does not fail to enjoy it. This gives us the power to work.

I have been told that you are established at V, so that your doubts as to your stay at St are over. I think however that you continue to visit G-I-P and other neighbouring villages, for there are open doors around V. Have good courage, dear brother. When God wills, we will harvest if we do not weary; and then His power is perfected in weakness[31]. Our brethren in V are quite independent, but I have always found a little affection in walking happily with them. One could wish that there would sometimes be a bit more order, but there is a good foundation. For the rest, it is Jesus who is able for all, and His grace which does all.

Who is working at St now? After all, if the meetings are happy it is the great thing. For St to begin at nine so to say is not evil. Do they still meet at G in the same place where they met in Mr L’s time?

As to your labours, dear brother, seek the Lord’s face and rely on Him. When the body is not robust, one is in danger of doing this as a chore, as an obligation, and the spirit becomes a bit legal, or even one yields to fatigue and is discouraged before God. The work is a grace which is accorded to us; be fully in peace and happy in the feeling of grace, then go and spread this grace on souls. This is true work: one can become very tired in body but sustained and happy, one rests under God’s wings; and takes up His labours until the true rest is reached. One renews one’s strength like that of eagles[32]. Always remember these words: “My grace suffices thee, for my power is perfected in weakness”[33]. May communion with God be your first concern, as the sweet relationships in which we are placed with Him. All is well when we walk thus; then one discovers and judges day by day all that hinders communion. Thus the heart is not hardened, or the conscience dulled, and one easily enjoys these communications of grace which give power. Yes, seek above all personal communion with the Lord.

As to your Italy, in effect all is quite dark, and not just Italy but the whole earth. Soon the world will no longer suffer from man’s ambition, only it will be stopped by Him who has the right to it. England, up to now so prosperous, is in difficulty like every other country. The American business tends to ruin it. In France, it is the same again; Austria, Poland, Turkey, are like the others. Here, workmen are without work; everywhere enormous preparations are made for war. How small the wisdom of man is! Why therefore? The Lord is coming and we belong to heaven. In the church, there is neither Greek nor barbarian nor Scythian[34]; we are Christ’s bondmen, sure of our Master’s victory, victory which will give peace to the whole world. In waiting, in this place where He has set us as a testimony to the real peace which God gives, may God’s love and grace which set us in an intimate relationship with heaven fill our hearts, and may we know how to bring to agitated and suffering souls the tranquillity and peace which nothing in this world can destroy. We are not of the world, as Jesus was not of the world[35]. Our life comes down from heaven and goes up there to its source. Keep there, dear brother. It is possible that we will have tribulation in the world, but be of good courage, he has overcome the world[36].

May God in His goodness keep all the brethren in this spirit, so that at least someone in the midst of this world of trouble and worry for such a great number knows to wear peace in their countenances, because it reigns in their hearts. All that happens, happens by the hand of God; not a sparrow falls to the earth with Him. He forgets nothing; nothing escapes Him. Then the Lord will come. Oh may the children of God think of that! I believe that this truth has more practical power in the hearts of the brethren in England. May God be blessed. Conversions are still numerous; meetings grow a lot, and new ones are formed. There is a little more devotion, and I believe a good spirit and unity. There are meetings which are ten times more numerous than last year, others twice, and although there was more activity than now and for some, the danger of being caught up in the current of revival, I believe that the brethren’s principles are dearer to them than ever. There are superficial elements in this revival more than in Ireland, but a lot of true conversions too.

Brother O is married and gone to Italy to seek the brethren; might it be possible or him to communicate with G or B if they are still there? As he has gone a bit for his health, he will not be visiting la Valais.

Greet all the brethren in V with much affection on my behalf; I am reminded of their good memory in their prayers.

Your very affectionate brother



[28] most of this letter also appears in JND’s published Letters – vol 1 p317

[29] Italian for ‘pleasant work’

[30] Italian for ‘pleasant idleness’

[31] See 2 Cor 12: 9

[32] See Isa 40: 31

[33] 2 Cor 12: 9

[34] See Col 3: 11

[35] See John 17: 14

[36] John 16: 33

Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

J N Darby – French Letter No. 126 – 81-year-old Darby’s Feelings

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

London – 14th September 1881

To Mr P

Very dear Brother,

I do not need to tell you that I am very pleased by the news which you give me of Orthez[20], a place where I have laboured in the past, but which has been rather neglected for some time. It was the country of almost the first labours and triumphs of dear B, and the start of the awakening in France was there.

As to myself, dear brother, God has had led me close to the gates of death, near enough to have a little experience of what it was, but not as judgment. It was the dissolution of my being which made itself felt; but the experience has been useful to me; no new truth was needed by me, but salvation and grace. Christ Himself and His love, the love of the Father, all this became much more felt, much more real, a great gain to me. Probably, I will no longer have the physical strength to labour as I have in the past, but although to work would be a pleasure to me, I accept the will of God with joy. Besides, for some time, I have felt that I should lead a life more confined to London, then I could be useful in the exercises through which the brethren have passed lately, so beneficial but solemn exercises, which are not finished, but which draw to their end. I work in my office as usual, and I even attended some meetings. An attack of paralysis, though very light, stopped me a bit, but I suffer from it only in the right cheek. Although my members may have lost nothing of their force, I have experienced difficulty in maintaining my balance; at present it gets better, but I have to pay attention to my steps. God continues His work; in several places there are conversions, and the state of the brethren improves in every way.

It is God’s presence, dear brother, which gives us power and joy now and which will always give us them. What joy to see Christ who has so loved us, the same One who has been on this earth, the Friend so accessible to His own, to see Him truly and for ever. Labour belongs to this world, joy to the other, though we taste it as streams of water, before having reached the source.

I thank you, dear brother, for all your good affection. I would have loved to see the brethren in Pau, to whom I am very attached, as to those around, but I do not believe that this will be possible: we will meet elsewhere.

May God lead the elderly ones around you, and sustain the young converts in the good way, and keep them near to Him. All the rest will perish and pass.

Your affectionate brother in Christ

Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – Mark

In Mark, as he reveals Christ’s present service, we have in the parable of the sowing Christ’s activity in the field at the beginning, and its cessation till the end, when He is again active in the harvest. All the intermediate particulars given by Matthew are omitted here.

Outline of Bible coverIn Mark we get the Lord’s service (and therefore nothing of His birth), especially His service as prophet. Matthew brings out the order of the facts, with a view to the development of principles, while Mark gives them chronologically. Luke has the same chronology as Mark, where he has any at all.

In Mark, as he reveals Christ’s present service, we have in the parable of the sowing Christ’s activity in the field at the beginning, and the harvest at the end,  All the intermediate particulars given by Matthew are omitted.

In the prophecy on the Mount of Olives we have more references than in Matthew to the disciples’ service. The commission in Mark is to preach the gospel to every creature.

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes, July 2014  

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original