Posted by: rcottrill | April 23, 2018

In the Service of the King

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Alfred Henry Ackley (b. Jan. 21, 1887; d. July 3, 1960)
Music: Bentley DeForest Ackley (b. Sept. 27, 1872; d. Sept. 3, 1958)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Alfred Ackley)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: In 1912 two brothers created a simple gospel song about the joy of serving God. Alfred Ackley wrote hundreds of song lyrics, but only a few tunes. (Over 300 of his lyrics are listed in the Cyber Hymnal, including the popular He Lives.) Bentley Ackley focused on writing melodies. He also served as pianist in the meetings of evangelist Billy Sunday.

Words such as serve, serving and service have a surprising variety of uses. It could be said the words serve us in many ways. The word in its various forms has been a part of the English language for centuries. To serve another person could mean rendering obedience, or seeking, by your own choice, to be useful and be a benefit to another. It could involve doing one’s duty, or perhaps involve showing willing devotion.

To be “in service” is what might be said when a computer system or a telephone is programed or hooked up, ready to use. But being in service also refers to anyone who is employed as a servant. On the other hand, if someone says he is “in the service,” he could mean he’s a member of the armed forces. For a store clerk to say he or she is “at your service” means they’re ready to serve you. But if an individual is “serving time,” he’s in prison.

A service is work someone does for you. Or, it could be a church service. Or the act of putting the ball in play in a game of tennis. If the garage down the street services your car, it likely means a tune-up, and making necessary repairs. On the other hand, a table service is cups and plates and utensils set up for a meal.

In the Bible, words such as “serve” and “service” are used over four hundred times. And if we include the word servant, it mounts to some twelve hundred times. Averaged out, that means the concept of serving could be found in every chapter of the Bible. It is, in truth a book about serving. The question is, whom do we serve?

There are different chains of command on the human level. A person is called to serve the one ranked above him, whether its an army general or a boss in a factory. But in the ultimate and spiritual sense the choices are limited. We are either a part of Satan’s kingdom or of God’s kingdom. We’re either a slave to the devil (perhaps unknowingly) or we choose to be a servant of God.

As for Satan, for the present time he’s the master of the unbelieving world. Jesus calls him, “the ruler of this world” (Jn. 12:31). The Bible says, “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (I Jn. 5:19). Whether people realize it or not, he is “the god of this age” (II Cor. 4:4) who “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9).

But when an individual trusts Christ as Saviour, he or she is delivered from the devil’s hateful bondage into the glorious liberty of the kingdom of God. As the Lord said to Paul:

“I now send you to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:17-18).

Christians can say:

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed [transferred] us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13).

As believers, we’re called to “serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:24), “ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (II Cor. 4:5). Our calling is “through love [to] serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). And what a joy it is to serve the Lord! (cf. Ps. 100:2), using the gifts and opportunities He gives us.

“If anyone ministers [serves], let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (I Pet. 4:10).

The Ackleys’ song doesn’t say a lot. No deep biblical theology here. But it’s joyful melody is certainly expressive of the happy duty that is ours of serving God.

CH-1) I am happy in the service of the King.
I am happy, O so happy!
I have peace and joy that nothing else can bring,
In the service of the King.

In the service of the King
Every talent I will bring.
I have peace and joy and blessing
In the service of the King.

CH-3) I am happy in the service of the King.
I am happy, O so happy!
To His guiding hand forever I will cling,
In the service of the King.

CH-4) I am happy in the service of the King.
I am happy, O so happy!
All that I possess to Him I gladly bring,
In the service of the King.

Questions:
1) What is it about serving the Lord that brings us joy?

2) How will our service bring glory and honour to God?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Alfred Ackley)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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