CARING FOR NEW ONES, NOT FOR LEADERSHIP
Numbers 3:32 says, “And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary.” This verse indicates that Eleazar was to have the oversight of all those between the ages of one month and twenty years. I hope that among the elders in the churches some will be overseers of the babes or teen-agers.
We should forget about being leaders. For many years I have been looking to the Lord for a way to have the church life without the eldership being so prominent. I have also been seeking a way to have the church service without emphasizing leadership. Although there is a need for elders, eldership has been a strong temptation for many brothers. In the past certain brothers have been ambitious to be elders. Once I received a telephone call from a brother who asked me whether or not he would be an elder in the locality to which he was migrating. I told him that migration is not for eldership. Anyone who moves to a city expecting to be an elder is not qualified for eldership. Others desire to be leaders in the service groups. Many who have had such an expectation have been disappointed when they were not appointed elders or service group leaders. My point here is that we need to drop our natural concept of “leadership.” However, we need many brothers and sisters to take up the burden to care for the young ones and the new ones. Do not wait for the elders to arrange something. Be encouraged to carry out your burden for the new ones.
CARING FOR CHRIST IN DIFFERENT ASPECTS
The most important age group with respect to the tabernacle was the group between the ages of thirty and fifty. The burden of caring for the tent of meeting was directly upon them. It was those in this age group who carried the various parts of the tabernacle from place to place. In the church life we need those between twenty and thirty to fight the battle, those from one month to twenty to guard the tent of meeting, and those over thirty to care directly for the tent of meeting. According to the book of Numbers, those thirty and over carried the ark, the show bread table, the lampstand, the incense altar, the brass altar, and all the vessels and utensils. The children of Kohath took care of the vessels; the children of Gershon, the curtains, hangings, and coverings; and the children of Merari, the pillars, the boards, and sockets. We may apply these types to today’s church life. We need many saints experienced in Christ to take care of different aspects of Christ for the constitution of the church life. We need a number of experienced saints to take care of Christ as the ark, as the incense altar, as the showbread table, as the lampstand, and as the brass altar. Those who have experienced Christ in these ways should convey these aspects of Christ to the new ones. Many are short of the experience of Christ as the ark or as the incense altar. Thus, there is the need of the experienced ones to carry Christ to them in these ways.
The ark was not carried within the tent of meeting. Likewise, we do not need to carry Christ as the ark to the new ones only in the meetings. There is much opportunity to do this outside the meetings. For this reason, we have some evenings each week for the basic church meetings, meetings for prayer, the Lord’s table, and Bible study; one evening for our family life; and the other evenings open to have fellowship with saints, especially to care for the new ones or for the young ones. We need to use this time to minister Christ to others as the ark, the table of showbread, or as the lampstand. This is what it means to care for the vessels that belong to the tent of meeting.
(All Ages for the Lord's Testimony, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)