MINISTERING CHRIST TO MEET THE NEED
OF ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE
In their contact with people, the elders should minister Christ to them to meet their need (Eph. 3:8; Col. 1:28). They should minister Christ to everyone—the stronger ones and the weaker ones, the overcoming ones and the defeated ones, those with a good background and those with a bad background. We must be the same toward every person. It is easy for us to minister life to a brother we regard highly, but we may be cold and indifferent to another kind of brother. To behave in this way is to lose the opportunity to minister Christ to this brother. In the matter of ministering Christ to others, we may still have our own choice and preference. We may be willing to contact a brother like Timothy, but we may not take the time to help a brother like Demas, who loved the world and forsook Paul (2 Tim. 4:10). We may welcome Timothy but despise and reject Demas because Demas had a failure.
Many of us like to help the good ones, but it seems that we feel the undesirable ones are destined to be lost. No one seems to care for them. However, in the churches the so-called undesirable ones may be greater in number than the good ones. First Corinthians 1:26-27 says, "For you see your calling, brothers, that there are not many wise according to flesh, not many powerful, not many wellborn. But God has chosen the foolish of the world that He might shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak of the world that He might shame the strong." If we only care for the good ones, it is no wonder that the church does not have the increase. The Lord Jesus was zealous in contacting the "bad" persons. The publican Zaccheus in Luke 19 was a sinner, but the Lord Jesus was zealous in His contact with him. The elders should learn how to help the ones who are not good. If we learn that certain persons are not good and as a result do not care for them, we lose the opportunity to minister Christ to them.
We should not expect that our ministering Christ to others will cause them to have a rapid change. When we minister life to a person who has certain failures, our ministering may only help him a little. After a few years such a person may not have had much change. Ministering in the church tests us and requires much patience. We may prefer to see a quick change in people after a few contacts. However, this may not happen. We should care only to minister Christ to people and not care for quick results or for a person’s situation or condition.
In their contact with people, the elders should seek a way to get people to open to them. Then they must find the proper utterance to touch people’s spirit. This is a fine work and requires much learning. The elders should also catch the proper time to dispense Christ, either with a quotation from the Bible or with a word of their inspiration.
The elders must also stir up people’s hunger and thirst to seek the Lord by praying with them (John 4:15). Brother Nee once said that to minister a special supply to people is easy, but to cause people to be hungry is hard. We must find a way to create an appetite in people. Certain saints come to the meetings but do not seem to have an appetite for the Lord. We must find a way to create a hunger for the Lord within them. If we would practice to always seek a way to get people to open to us, to find the proper utterance to touch people’s spirit, to catch the proper time to dispense Christ either by a verse or by our inspiration, and to know how to create an appetite to cause people to hunger and thirst after the Lord, the attendance in the church will be increased. We must change our way of contacting people, staying away from catching or condemning people, and learning to minister Christ to every kind of person. Eventually, people will be gained by the Lord through our contact.
(Elders' Training, Book 11: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (3), Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)