The Practical Expression of the Church, by Witness Lee


Another thing we must learn to abandon is the ambition for position. In the church life there is the temptation of wanting to take the lead. We all are human. You may say that you do not want to be a leading brother. In a sense I believe you, but in another sense I do not believe you. If the church puts you in a position, though you say that you do not like it, you are still so happy about it, and if the church does not put you into a position, you say that you do not care, but you really do. You simply feel unhappy. The Lord knows, and you know too. You feel that you are older, more experienced, and more qualified than others. Why are they in the position and you are not? Perhaps you do not say this to others, but it is deep in your heart.

I have been this kind of “doctor” for many years. I know all the cases. When you come to me and say you are healthy, I know that you have tuberculosis. What kind of tuberculosis? It is simply the tuberculosis of being jealous of those who are in leading positions. You would not say it, but you feel it. There is something secret, something hidden, within you. If the church were to put you into a leading position, you would function so much in the meetings. But since the church has not given you such a place, you come with your mouth shut. This is all because of the self-seeking ambition within you.

When we come to a local church, we should never consider that we must be an elder or a deacon. Whether we are an elder or a deacon does not really mean anything as long as we minister Christ as life to others. Even if we have no position at all, we should not care. We should just minister Christ continually to others without saying a word about the brothers who are taking the lead.

I realize that we all love the Lord and the church. But deep within all of us, there is the germ of ambition, which must be dealt with. If we do not deal with this kind of ambition, the fellowship and the church life will be damaged.

To talk about the church life is easy, but when we practice it, we will see that everything will test us. No place in the entire earth exposes a person like the local church. The church exposes everything. We could never be exposed so thoroughly in any other place. The church even exposes the intent within our heart. Nothing can be hidden.

Sometimes people argue about doctrine, but this is just an excuse. If they were given a certain position in the church, even the wrong doctrine would not bother them! How can we have proper fellowship if we are like this? It is impossible. Whether we have a position or not, we should be happy that we are in the church life. Then it will be very easy to go along with the brothers and sisters.

These are the lessons we must learn. We must not insist on anything, we must not expect to be anything, and we should never try to adjust anyone. The secret is just to be so simple. Whatever the church does, whatever the brothers and sisters do, we should not care. We must simply love them and minister Christ to them, as well as receive the help of Christ from them. We should just go along with the church, whatever it does. Then the fellowship of the church will be a strong testimony to others.

I pray that all of these small matters will become very clear to us. May we be wise regarding “the little foxes” that secretly damage the church life. We all must realize these things and be saved from them. We must not care for any doctrine, form, or practice; we must not try to adjust others; and we must not desire any position in the church. We must simply love the Lord and the church and learn to minister Christ as life to others and receive help in life from others. This is the proper way we should take in the practice of the church life.

(The Practical Expression of the Church, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)