Fifth, all those who have a desire to do the young people’s work need to learn how to match and adapt to the young people. Do not ask them to adapt to you. You need to adapt to them to such an extent that you are like glue. Glue adapts the best; there is not one place it cannot adapt to. It adapts to flat surfaces, rugged places, twisted places, and places with corners. Glue can be applied to any place. We who do the young people’s work need to deal with our character to such an extent that we are just like glue. If anyone wants to serve God, he must have a character that is not only strong but also pliant; he must be one who tempers strength with pliancy to adapt to others like glue.
For example, young people are facing stiff competition for the entrance to a higher school, and there is a prevailing atmosphere to go abroad to study. After elementary school, they have to enter high school. Then after high school, they have to get into a university. After graduation from university, they have to go abroad to further their studies. Everyone is busy getting a higher education and going abroad. It seems very hard to do the young people’s work because the young people are too busy to care about pursuing the Lord. But this perception is not accurate. We who do the young people’s work should be like glue, so that it does not matter if a young person is soft or hard or if he is three-dimensional, flat, or a surface with bumps and dents; we still need to stick to him. We have to go along with the young people and accommodate ourselves to them. Are they busy with entering a higher school? Then we work on them by going along with them in their preparation for this matter. Are they going abroad to study? We still go along with them and adapt to them. Although we cannot go with any of them to a foreign country, our care and concern for him will go with him. We should work not only to the extent of gaining him but also to gain some people through him in that foreign country. We should work on him to such an extent that he will do the Lord’s work in whatever university he goes to. Then as a result of his preaching of the gospel, he will gain some people there. Therefore, instead of regarding the prevailing trend of going abroad as a hindrance, we should consider it an outlet for our work. We need to correspond with the brothers and sisters who are studying abroad to continue communication with them. Before they leave, we need to lead each of them to have a normal spiritual life, so that after they go out they will not only study for themselves but also work for the Lord. You cannot, and must not, hope that everyone would give up entering a higher school or going abroad for further studies but would sit here waiting for you to work on them, just like a piece of tofu placed on a plate for you to eat. This is not called work. If we are doing a real work, then even if a young person flies to the sky, we will follow him there to adapt to him.
Many say that students today are too busy. However, if you really know the students’ situation, you will know that with the young people, being busy is not a problem. Rather, the real issue is their interest. If they are interested in something, no matter how busy they are, they will have time for it. They will find time for the things they are interested in even if they are busy.
At the apostles’ time, the Roman Empire persecuted Christians. The Roman Caesar, the emperor, killed many Christians. However, the apostles were very effective. They were able to work to such an extent that even some who were in Caesar’s household were saved. Philippians 4:22 says, “All the saints greet you, and especially those of Caesar’s household.” This proves that the apostles worked even into Caesar’s home.
Therefore, we must remember that in doing the Lord’s work we must not be rigid. We should not say that we can eat only tofu and not stones. A competent worker can eat not only tofu but also stones, and he can eat something even as hard as diamonds. Brothers and sisters, please believe me; learn to adapt to others.
(How to Lead the Young People, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)