AVOIDING VAIN LABOR BY LEARNING TO LABOR IN A PROPER WAY
I have noticed that when some saints go out, they quickly gain people, while others may go out faithfully, having little result. The problem with the second group of saints is the lack of training. Though we labor a great deal, our labor may be in vain if we do not labor in the proper way. The labor in the gospel and home meetings must be regular, consistent, and continuous. If one member of a team of three is sick, it would be better for the other two to go visit the new one than to have some change of hands in the visiting. To change the persons who labor in a particular home meeting will almost certainly cause a lot of loss. The best way is not to change the persons who visit the home meetings. To change the persons damages the coordination among the saints who have been laboring together to take care of the home meeting. The issue of such constant changes will be confusion among the saints who are laboring, and the time with the new believer will be wasted. Therefore, it is better to maintain the same members in the visiting groups.
We all have to learn how to take the Lord’s new way through training. In the past years, we studied history and the biographies and autobiographies of the saints, and we discovered that, among the Lord’s people, only the seminary graduates labored according to some kind of training. These graduates were hired by the denominations to become their clergy. These clergymen were trained, but the so-called laity was not trained. The laity simply acted according to their likes and dislikes. However, today we realize that if we would practice the new way according to the New Testament, we must be trained.
Though the word training is not used in the books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, the thought is surely conveyed in these books. In order to serve the Lord, we must be trained. In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul charged Timothy to commit the things which he had heard to faithful men who would be competent to teach others. To commit to faithful men implies some amount of training. A job cannot be handed over to someone who knows nothing about the job. There is the need of training. Neither does a mother commit the job of cooking to her daughter without first training her.
Paul set up a pattern by staying in Ephesus for three years (Acts 20:31) to train the saints. In Acts 20:20 Paul told the elders of the church in Ephesus that he did not shrink from declaring to them anything that was profitable and that he taught publicly and from house to house, admonishing each one with tears (v. 31). Paul’s teaching publicly in the meetings and visiting from house to house was his training of the saints. Paul later charged Timothy to stay in Ephesus in order that he might charge certain ones not to teach differently (1 Tim. 1:3). This too was a kind of training carried out by Timothy.
There has been little result in Christianity because the so-called laymen have not been trained. Many have been stirred up for the Lord, but their enthusiasm has had very little result because they have exercised to serve the Lord in their own way. We in the Lord’s recovery also need training. The Lord’s recovery itself is very particular, and the matter of training is also something particular within the Lord’s recovery. Under the training we should not do anything according to our likes or dislikes or according to our environment. Rather, we must do everything according to the points of the training.
AVOIDING THE TRANSFER OF CARE OF THE NEW ONES FROM GROUP TO GROUP
One group of saints baptized a new believer in an area which has been cared for by another group of saints. The first group wants to introduce the second group to the new believer so that they can begin to care for the new one in the home meetings. The saints are concerned whether or not this is the best way to care for the new believer.
The best way to care for the new believers is to try to avoid any kind of transfer of care from one group to another group. Unless the new ones who were baptized move from one section of the city to another section, it is best not to transfer the new ones from group to group. When there is the need of a transfer, it should be done in a very careful and considerate manner and not in a light way. If a couple wants to adopt a child, they must go through a number of procedures. Likewise, whenever a new believer is passed on from one group of saints to another, it must be done in a very proper way. To conduct a transfer in a proper way, however, is difficult. We must realize that gaining anything worthwhile on this earth is not easy. To get an education to the level of a doctorate is not very easy. One must go through six years of elementary education, two years of junior high school, four years of high school, four years of undergraduate school, and five years of graduate school. If such things as education are not easy, how much more difficult it is to advance in the things of the Lord, who is our King. Nothing with the King is a light matter. To save souls and to feed people in home meetings are not small matters. For a nursing mother to sweep her front porch is not very significant, but to nourish her child is one of the most important things to her. The nourishment of the new believers in the home meetings is a most important thing; therefore, we should exercise great caution in transferring the care of a home meeting from one group to another group.
If a new one moves from one city to another, we have to do something in a definite way to affect a transfer. We should call some of the brothers in the new city to recommend the new one to the brothers. Then we should infuse the new one in order to encourage him to contact the saints in the new locality. We then need to make sure that the new one is contacted by the saints. Otherwise, we will lose the one on whom we have labored.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)