I serve at the pleasure
Last year I stumbled upon the show Madam Secretary. I enjoy Téa Leoni’s acting, who plays the main character of the Secretary of State. It’s a smartly written show with great humor, opening up a world that I don’t think much about. The phrase, “I serve at the pleasure of the President” is a phrase that is used more than once over the episodes, and the clear delineation of authority is clear in every episode. In those show, Téa’s character, Elizabeth McCord, has the ear of the President in her role, but at the end of the day, he makes the decisions, and whether she likes it or not, she is expected to support those decisions with her actions and her words.
Our church just finished going through the book of 1 Samuel. We see the rise and fall of King Saul, the anointing of David and then the perpetual running and hiding as he sought to flee from the wrath of Saul who repeatedly tried to kill him. We Saul the faithfulness of Jonathan – his faithfulness to the Lord, to righteousness and truth. We saw how that faithfulness led to his covenant friendship with David, and we saw how that faithfulness ultimately led to his death as he continued to serve the Lord if Israel by continuing to fight for Israel, despite the wickedness of his leader, his king, his father, Saul.
Jonathan’s place was on that battlefield, against the Philistines at the end of the book of 1 Samuel. His place was beside the King of Israel, fighting for the honor of her God. While he covenanted with David, and while he helped and supported David, he was not “at liberty” to defect from his duty. He served at the pleasure of the Lord of Hosts, even if that meant his death.
It reminded me that all of us serve at the pleasure of our King. Like an obedient knight, we are to carry out his commands, without questioning. Like a soldier at war, we are to do as our commanding officer orders, without delay. Like Jonathan, we are to fulfill the roles and tasks assigned to us, no matter how good or bad our earthly leadership proves to be.
We serve at the pleasure of the KING. THE King.
We are to serve wholeheartedly. We are to serve faithfully. We are to serve unyieldingly. We are to serve until He removes us from duty through death or His return.
For some, that may mean going off to war, entering into physical battle, or heading to the mission field, quite possibly risking life and limb in the literal sense.
For others it means staying in that job that drains us because it provides for our family and is the best option at the moment. It means continuing to do our job as if we are serving the Lord, not man (we are) despite a boss that berates us to our face and takes credit for our work behind our back.
For others still it means leaving a lucrative job to wipe snotty noses and clean dirty clothes, forgoing all external recognition.
We all serve in different ways, but we are all called to serve. And unlike the uncertainty of work done in this world, we can be sure that our reward awaits.
Jonathan died on that battlefield, but he was ushered into glory, having died a good and faithful servant.
Will you make that your aim?