Basic Lessons on Service, by Witness Lee


We should not build the church with wood, grass, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12b). Just as gold signifies God’s nature, wood signifies the human nature. Grass signifies man in the flesh (Isa. 40:6-7). Stubble signifies lifelessness. Stubble is the stump of the crops after being reaped. With the stubble there is no seed, no life. We have to admit that most of the work in Christianity is according to and out of these three negative items—the human nature, the human flesh, and lifelessness.

I feel that this lesson is greatly needed among us. We may appreciate certain brothers’ capabilities for doing things, but in the church life the main thing is not to accomplish things. The main thing is to build with the Triune God upon the foundation already laid, that is, upon the all-inclusive Christ. If we just depend upon our capability, talent, or skill to finish something, that means we are serving according to wood, grass, and stubble, not gold, silver, and precious stone. We need to serve with the Father’s nature, in the Son’s redeeming way with the cross, and by the transforming Spirit. If we serve according to ourselves, there is no transformation, no cross, and no divine nature. Then what we do is just a secular thing which has nothing to do with the church. The church is altogether a composition of gold, silver, and precious stone—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.


The apostle Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 3 that every man’s work will be tested by fire (vv. 13-15).

A. If Any Man’s Work Stands the Fire,
He Will Receive a Reward

Verse 14 says, "If anyone’s work which he has built upon the foundation remains, he will receive a reward." This has nothing to do with salvation. In verses 14 and 15, both reward and salvation are mentioned. The reward is not for salvation. Neither can salvation replace the reward.

If our work, our service, is really of gold, silver, and precious stone, it can stand the test of fire. These materials will not be burned. If our work is with these materials, we will receive a reward. The reward in the coming age will be the richer and higher enjoyment of the Lord. Today in our church life, in our work, in our service, we enjoy the Lord. But in the coming age the reward will be the richer, higher, and greater enjoyment of Christ. Apparently speaking, that will be an entering into the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens, but our entering the kingdom is for the greater, higher, and richer enjoyment of Christ.

(Basic Lessons on Service, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)