A CO-WORKER OF GOD
Bound Together with God
The sixth aspect of a person who lives in the spirit, in the Holy of Holies, is that he is a co-worker of God (6:1). It is not an easy thing to be a co-worker of anyone. You may work together with others and yet still not be a co-worker. If two brothers are going to be co-workers, God has to bind them together. For two brothers to be co-workers is similar to binding their legs together so that together they have three legs instead of four. It is hard for people to run together in a three-legged race. If two brothers can work together in this way, they are co-workers, or you could even call them “co-walkers.”
To be a co-worker of God means that you have to be bound together with God. You have to lose something of yourself into Him. For one to merely be the Lord’s servant is easier than being the Lord’s co-worker. It may be easier to serve a brother than it is to be his co-worker. To be a co-worker causes much bondage. I may want to rise at 6:00 A.M., but the brother I am with wants to stay in bed until 7:45 A.M. Since I am his co-worker, I have to wait for him. You may have the burden to go to Seattle, but the other brother may have the burden to stay in San Francisco. What shall you do? You cannot run away, because you are bound to him. You are his co-worker.
A co-worker of God is one who is bound together with God. When God works, he works. When God walks, he walks. When God stops, he stops. You may be a diligent person who wants to do more work for God, but God may say, “I do not want you to do more work for Me right now; I want you to rest with Me. I am resting, so you have to rest with Me.” So many so-called servants of the Lord simply cannot suffer resting together with the Lord. What the church needs is not a group of able workers but a group of people who are bound together with God, who are co-workers with God. When God works, you work. When God rests, you have to rest. When God withdraws, you withdraw. When God goes on, you go on. You do this because you are bound with Him as one.
The Signs of a Co-worker
Now we need to see the signs that prove that someone is a co-worker with God. Second Corinthians 6:4-10 gives us these signs. In 6:4-7a Paul lists eighteen qualifications of a minister of the new covenant: in much endurance, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in a holy spirit, in unfeigned love, in the word of truth, and in the power of God. From the middle of verse 7 through verse 10 Paul speaks of three groups of things and seven kinds of persons. Paul said that he was commended as a minister of God through three groups of things—through the weapons of righteousness on the right and on the left, through glory and dishonor, and through evil report and good report (vv. 7-8a). He was also commended as a minister of God in seven ways, as seven kinds of persons—“as deceivers and yet true; as unknown and yet well known; as dying and yet behold we live; as being disciplined and yet not being put to death; as made sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things” (vv. 8b-10). Verses 4 through 10 of chapter 6 show us the qualifications, the proofs, and the signs that a person is a co-worker of God.
Through Evil Report and Good Report
If you consider that you are a co-worker of God, you need to ask yourself whether or not there have been evil reports about you. Have you ever been evilly spoken of? If you have never been, I am afraid that you are not a co-worker of God. To be faithful to co-work with God causes people to speak evilly about you. If you are really faithful to God and behave yourself as one with God, there will be many evil reports concerning you. Only a politician tries to please everyone. Many people may give a good report about a politician. But if you are a co-worker of God and are faithful to His aim, you will offend many people. When we were co-working with the Lord in mainland China, some people would say, “They have a wonderful piece of work in China, but there is a ‘dead fly in the ointment.’” When you asked these ones what the dead fly in the ointment was, they had nothing definite to say.
The evil report comes from the opposers and the persecutors (Matt. 5:11). The good report comes from the believers and those who receive the truth preached and taught by the apostles. Through the years this has been our situation. We have received both evil reports and good reports. If you always receive only a good report, probably you are not honest and faithful to the Lord. If you are faithful to the Lord and honest with the church and saints, you will receive evil reports as well as good reports. Because you are co-working with God, you will receive the evil reports.
We need to learn to be faithful co-workers with God. We need to learn to suffer and to accept all these signs and proofs of being a co-worker with God. May the Lord raise up saints in many localities who are co-working with God. Through these people, God’s interest will be taken care of on this earth.
(Autobiography of a Person in the Spirit, An, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)