NOT CARING FOR THE NEW BELIEVERS ACCORDING TO OUR DISPOSITION
In caring for the new believers in the home meetings, we must realize that every person has a different disposition. Some are of a loud disposition, while others are quiet. Even among us, there are many saints who have rarely shouted aloud in the meetings. When we are leading the new believers to call on the Lord, we should not care whether they call loudly or softly. Our main objective in the home meetings is to feed the new believers. We all would like to see the new ones pray loudly and shout their hallelujahs in a loud way. But we must realize that often those who shout loudly and crazily are not that trustworthy. Usually, the more trustworthy and steady ones are the more silent ones.
We should not require the new ones to call or pray in the same way as we do. They have their disposition, and we have ours. Our main job is to give them an injection, that is, to minister and impart Christ into them. Whenever we meet with them, we must have the assurance that we have nourished them.
We should not be overly concerned with their response. When a mother nourishes her child, she is comforted as long as she realizes that her child is nourished. This is primary to a nursing mother. How the child responds is secondary. As we care for new believers, we should trust in the nourishment we have ministered into them more than in anything else we do.
Since I have had many diseases and sicknesses throughout my life, I have been under the care of many doctors and have learned a great deal from them. They strictly pay attention to their treatment and not to the pleasant or unpleasant reaction of their patients. We should take care of the new ones in the home meetings in the same way, giving them the proper injection without being affected by their reaction. However, we should do this in a pleasant way without offending or stumbling them, leaving them with a good impression of us.
FEEDING THE NEW BELIEVERS WITH BABY FOOD
In one of the home meetings, a family of new believers proposed that their family and the saints exchange Christmas gifts. When this suggestion was made, the saints simply smiled and tried to avoid the issue by turning the conversation to a hymn and a portion of the Word. The meeting ended without any further mention of Christmas. But a few days later, another reference was made to something of Christmas by one of the family members as the family was traveling to one of the meetings with the team. The family has been brought into the enjoyment and experience of the Lord on many occasions, yet the saints are somewhat concerned as to how to share with them concerning the celebration of Christmas without offending them.
In speaking with the new believers, you should never forget that they are babes and that they must be fed with baby food. When they raise a question concerning Christmas, you should use the subject of Christmas to feed them. You should not try to adjust them harshly, since this would not be treating them as babes. The nursing mothers not only feed their little ones, but they also cherish them by playing with them. To play with them is to cherish them. This cherishing makes them happy. Once they are cherished and feel happy, the mothers feed them. You must learn how to “play” with the new believers. Your aim in playing with them is to feed them; therefore, you should not become too occupied with the subject of Christmas. You may say in a tender and loving manner, “Christmas is here because of Christ. Without Christ, there would be no Christmas holiday. The story of Christmas began because Christ came to be our Savior. Although you may have a Christmas tree, you must make sure that you get Christ.” You should gradually turn them from the false things of Christmas to the reality of Christ. As you turn them to Christ, saying something about Christ, spontaneously you are injecting them with Christ. Eventually, through this kind of tender fellowship, they will feel happy that they know something about the real meaning of Christmas, and soon they will forget about exchanging Christmas gifts. You should exercise your patience and wisdom, but you should not forget your goal of ministering Christ into the new believers as their nourishment.
The year I got saved, I learned that Christmas was a falsehood. I began to fight with anyone who held on to something of Christmas. That was wrong. Gradually, I have learned to “play” with the spiritual babes. We all have to learn this secret. In the Western world, there is the problem of the Christmas celebration, but in the Far East, especially in China, there is the problem of the traditional feasts which occur three times a year. It is difficult for the young believers to overcome these feasts and celebrations, but with the Lord’s help, we can help them by applying the principle which I have presented here.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)