CONSOLING THE LITTLE-SOULED
First Thessalonians 5:14 also speaks of the fainthearted or little-souled (Gk.). Because some were born with a small soul, they are easily offended, disappointed, or discouraged. Others, on the contrary, were born with a large soul and can withstand a great deal of ill treatment. Those with a small soul can bear hardly anything. Sooner or later in the church life, you will meet some brothers and sisters who have little souls. If there were not this kind of person in the church, the Bible would not speak of consoling or comforting the little-souled ones. What will you do with them? You cannot neglect them. If you try to avoid them, the Lord will add many more like them. The little-souled ones are needed by the stronger ones.
Because the little-souled brothers and sisters cannot withstand hardship, we need to comfort them. We need to speak to them in a very kind way to keep from offending them. If a brother comes to you troubled because his wife is upset, do not say much to him and do not argue with him. Rather, tell him that you will pray for him. Instead of reasoning with the little-souled ones, you should comfort them. Reasoning will only hurt them. Our ability to comfort such a one depends altogether on how much we have experienced of Christ. If you have experienced Christ as the incense altar, you will be able to tell a little-souled brother that today Christ, our High Priest, is interceding for him and his problems. In this way, you minister Christ to him. Do not try to comfort the little-souled with mere human words, but comfort him with the Christ you have experienced in various aspects. When a little-souled one is nourished with Christ, he will be comforted. Let us learn to comfort the little-souled ones with Christ.
UPHOLDING THE WEAK
In 1 Thessalonians 5:14 Paul also tells us to “uphold the weak.” In order to uphold the weak, or the infirm, we need to experience Christ as the boards, the pillars, and the sockets in the tabernacle. Because the weak ones are not steady, they need Christ to be their board, pillar, or socket. Such a Christ will make them strong in standing.
LONGSUFFERING WITH ALL
Finally, in this verse Paul tells us to be longsuffering with all men. Admonishing the disorderly, comforting the little-souled, and upholding the weak require patience. The disorderly, the little-souled, and the weak exhaust our natural patience. Therefore, to shepherd such saints we need Christ as our patience.
INCITING, EXHORTING, AND RESTORING
Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider one another for inciting to love and good works.” According to this verse, we should consider not only ourselves, but one another. Consider those who are discouraged and not coming to the meetings. If you consider them by visiting them or by at least calling them on the telephone, you will incite them to love and good works. Such inciting will increase the mutual love among us.
Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom with some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day drawing near.” This verse indicates that none of us should form the habit of staying away from the meetings. Rather, as we see the day approaching, we need to exhort one another.
Galatians 6:1 says that if someone is overtaken in a fault, we need to restore him with our spirit. This type of shepherding should be done not only by the elders, but by all the saints. If we all do this, the church will grow.
The middle-aged ones care for the church as the Lord’s testimony directly. By shepherding, fellowshipping, teaching, comforting, and upholding others, they will bear the burden for the Lord’s recovery today.
(All Ages for the Lord's Testimony, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)