BUDGETING OUR TIME FOR THE PRACTICE
OF THE NEW WAY
In order to practice the new way in a practical way, we must first budget our time. Budgeting our time is the same as budgeting our expenses. We must budget our money; otherwise, we will have trouble. In the same way, we have to budget our time. First, we need to budget our time for the church life. We do not realize how much help we have received from the church life, even from a church that we may consider to be poor. As long as we go along with the church, we receive help unconsciously. If we were to stop the church life for as little as three months, we would realize how much help the apparently ``poor’’ church is to us. Without the church life, we would become miserable. Therefore, we have to budget our time for the church life, and we should not change this. In addition to this, we should budget time for preaching the gospel in order to get sinners saved, for feeding the new ones, and for carrying out the group meetings. Then we can easily join ourselves to the church for the practice of prophesying in the larger meetings of the church.
In going out to visit people to get them baptized, I would propose that you only go out once a week for about three hours. You have to budget three hours every week for gospel preaching and carry it out each week. You do not necessarily need to knock on "cold" doors; rather, you can ask the brothers and sisters around you to make a list of their direct relatives who have not been saved. Such a list could also include in-laws, friends, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, schoolmates, and so forth. Each brother and sister may have at least twenty acquaintances who have not yet been saved. In a locality of fifty saints, there may be as many as one thousand acquaintances who have not been saved.
Our experience has shown us that it is rather hard for us to get our own relatives saved. We may have preached the gospel for several years with little or no effect among our own relatives, but it is easier when another saint goes with us to help in preaching the gospel. We may have no way with our relatives, but if we would introduce our relatives to the saints, they may have a way to get them to believe and be baptized. Once we get one of these relatives saved and baptized, they may also have twenty or more acquaintances to whom we can bring the gospel. We should endeavor to practice this way.
In our preaching of the gospel, we may desire to gain the higher-class professional people or at least those of the middle class. We must realize, however, that in the four Gospels not many high-class people cared for the Lord Jesus. It was mostly the lower-class people, those in the roads, at the hedges, and the idle people on the streets, who responded to the Lord Jesus (Luke 14:21, 23). In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul told us clearly that ``not many wise according to flesh, not many powerful, not many wellborn’’ are called (v. 26). The church of God is composed not mainly of the upper class, but of the lowborn of the world and the despised. To appreciate the upper class is against God’s mind and a shame to the church. Many of us would like to gain the middle and upper-class people, the professionals. But many of these people who have good jobs would only care for their enjoyment and weekend amusement; they have no heart for Jesus. Often the ones who take Jesus are those who have lost their jobs, who have nothing to do, or who are expecting help from others. We must realize that God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). We must go to the lanes and hedges, to those who are idle, as well as to those for whom we have a particular burden.
We must budget at least three hours of our time each week for the purpose of preaching the gospel. Seven weeks a year, we may be unable to go out. But forty-five weeks out of the year, we should take care of our duty, our responsibility, in preaching the gospel. If one-third of the saints in each locality goes out regularly to preach the gospel and each of them gains one new one a year, we will have an increase of over thirty percent a year. This would be a great thing.
If you go out to preach the gospel three hours every week, after six weeks you may get three baptized. After you have three new ones, you should not go out to gain any more. You should begin to spend your time to feed these new ones. When you come to the stage of feeding new ones, you have to add a few more hours to your budget of time for your labor in the God-ordained way. You should feed them at least twice a week for a period of at least two and a half months. Because you have to spend more time feeding new ones, you will have to reduce some of your time in visiting sinners.
If you will practice according to my proposal presented above, I assure you that you will get the result of at least two remaining fruit in the church life yearly. This remaining fruit will come through a great deal of sifting. Out of perhaps fifteen baptized, two will remain. If one-third of the saints in a church of one hundred saints go out and each one has two remaining fruit, sixty new people will be brought into the church life yearly. This rate of increase will be sixty percent a year. Each church needs some who will endeavor to practice the new way.
The primary thing in practicing the new way is to be definite with a budget of our time. In the publication work, I have a definite schedule and budget; otherwise, I would be unable to complete the various messages and outlines for the trainings and publications. You must have a definite budget of your time. Do not leave everything to chance. You should not accept the new way in a general way. I have no trust in this. I have seen a number of saints who have been excited and enthusiastic about the new way, but they have not budgeted their time to practice the new way in a very practical way. You must not practice the new way according to the tide of your emotions. To take the new way, you must labor definitely and regularly in a practical way. Then eventually you will see the fruitful result. This result is not a matter of fortune; it is a matter of laboring day and night.
(Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)