LIFE MANIFESTING DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS FOR DIFFERENT SERVICES
The life and the blood cells that flow to the ears to enable us to hear also flow to the eyes to enable us to see, flow to the mouth to enable us to speak, and flow to the legs to enable us to walk. The life is the same, and the blood cells are also the same, but they manifest different functions in different members. We all have exactly the same life in us—the life of Christ. When this life gains a place in you, it may manifest the function of a teacher. When it gains a place in someone else, it may manifest the function of an elder. When it gains a place in me, it may manifest the function of a deacon. Although the functions manifested are different, the life is still one, and Christ is still one.
The difference is not in nature but in function, and the different functions are for different services. Service comes out of this and is based upon this. When the life of Christ gains a place in us, it will manifest a function. This is ministry, and this is service.
FIVE MATTERS FOR OUR EXERCISE
Question: Why is it that with many Christians their function before the Lord is not manifested?
Answer: Let us consider what our use is before the Lord. We may be very zealous, willing to pursue the Lord, and regular in attending the meetings, but what is our use in the Lord’s hands? I believe everyone would probably say that he does not know. In the local churches everywhere, we can see that there are many brothers and sisters who are zealous for the Lord, love the Lord, have a seeking heart, and are present in every meeting. Yet they do not know what their use is in the Lord’s hand. Not only are they unable to tell, but the fact is that their usefulness has not been manifested. What is the reason for this?
The problem is in not loving the Lord absolutely, not consecrating oneself thoroughly, not abandoning one’s future, not allowing one’s self to be broken, and not experiencing the dealing of the flesh. If someone truly loved the Lord, completely consecrated himself, abandoned his future, and received the breaking and dealing, the Christ in him would be able to gain a place and an outlet to be expressed. At such a time, whether he senses it or not, his function would be manifested. Forgive me for saying that in the church today very few are called, very few are useful, very few can make a difference, very few can serve, and very few can be used by the Lord. The only reason and the greatest reason is that we are not absolute in loving the Lord and we do not completely hand ourselves over to Him, consecrating ourselves to Him, renouncing our future, and receiving the real breaking and dealing.
If we all would earnestly exercise ourselves in these five matters—loving the Lord absolutely, consecrating ourselves thoroughly, giving up our future, allowing our natural man to be broken, and letting our flesh be dealt with—then Christ would be able to have an outlet for His life to be lived out through us little by little. In this way we will have the assurance that one day we will become useful in the Lord’s hands. Today the greatest reason for not knowing whether or not we are useful in the Lord’s hands is that we do not practice these five items. We do not practice to love the Lord absolutely, to consecrate ourselves, to give up our future, to be dealt with, or to be broken. Our self still remains and still is preserved. Hence, we are zealous, yet we do not serve; we attend meetings, yet we are not useful; and we constantly meet together, but our functions are not clearly manifested. In many cases, it is not clearly manifested among us who are elders, who are deacons, or who are teachers.
Often when we, the workers, have gone to the churches to help them in appointing elders, after examining all the names of the brothers—studying them and praying for them—we could not find one who can be an elder. It seemed that they were all about the same; Brother A was about the same as Brother B, Brother B was about the same as Brother C, and Brother C was about the same as Brother D. They were all about the same. We could hardly find one who had the capacity to be an elder or had the function of a deacon. They all loved the Lord, they all were zealous and seeking, and they all regularly attended the meetings, yet they could not be made deacons or elders because the life in them did not clearly manifest their function.
(How to Be Useful to the Lord, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)