SEEKING THE LORD
AND PASTURING THE YOUNG GOATS
In the Song of Songs there is a seeking one, representing a believer who not only is saved but to some degree is trained and dealt with by the Lord. Song of Songs 1:2a says, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!” For the Lord to kiss us is for Him to show His love to us. After asking the Lord to show His love, the seeking one immediately realizes His love and says, “For your love is better than wine. / Your anointing oils have a pleasant fragrance; / Your name is like ointment poured forth; / Therefore the virgins love you. / Draw me; we will run after you— / The king has brought me into his chambers— / We will be glad and rejoice in you; / We will extol your love more than wine. / Rightly do they love you” (vv. 2b-4). If we ourselves are drawn by the Lord, then others also will run after Him.
Verses 5 and 6 continue, “I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, / Like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. / Do not look at me, because I am black, / Because the sun has scorched me. / My mother’s sons were angry with me; / They made me keeper of the vineyards, / But my own vineyard I have not kept.” At this point, the seeker realizes two things. First, in the past she was forced to take care of other vineyards, but she did not care for her own. That means that she did many other things, but she neglected her own life condition. Now she realizes her shortage. She has to take care of her own condition, her own inner life. Second, she is hungry and has no satisfaction. Therefore, she prays, “Tell me, you whom my soul loves, Where do you pasture your flock? / Where do you make it lie down at noon? / For why should I be like one who is veiled / Beside the flocks of your companions?” (v. 7). She realizes that she needs feeding, satisfaction, and rest, and she wants to know where to find it. The Lord answers her, “If you yourself do not know, / You fairest among women, / Go forth on the footsteps of the flock, / And pasture your young goats / By the shepherds’ tents” (v. 8). To follow the footsteps of the flock is to follow the church. If she follows the flock, the church, she will find the place where the Lord feeds His young goats.
In the Lord’s answer there is a balance. While we seek to feed on the Lord, we have to feed others. We have to take care of our “young goats.” We should not think, “Formerly, I worked too much. Now I will forget about that and pay my full attention to seeking the Lord to satisfy myself. I am hungry, and I am thirsty. I have no rest. Lord, let me know where You feed Your flock, where You give Your flock rest, that I may be satisfied and have rest.” On the one hand, this is right. On the other hand, though, while we are seeking the Lord, we have to be balanced. We must not forget our “young goats.” If we do not have spiritual children, we are wrong; we have to bring forth some children.
OUR NEED FOR SPIRITUAL CHILDREN
The young brothers and sisters need children to balance them. All the young fathers and mothers learn the best lessons from their children. If someone does not have children, he is not balanced. We neglect this too much. It is a real problem that there are many dear ones among us, but not many have spiritual children. Even according to the flesh, if the brothers and sisters do not have children, there is something seriously wrong. The more children we have, the more we are right. Someone may argue with this, but I assure you that the Lord stands with me in saying it. In Genesis 1 the Lord told Adam to fill the earth with children (v. 28). The earth is not yet filled up. The earth has to be filled. Without children, how can the Lord’s purpose be fulfilled? How can He have the material to fulfill His eternal purpose? Do not be afraid of having a big family. The bigger a family is, the better. To have a family without children means that we are wrong in some way.
In the church there must be many spiritual children, the more the better. When we come to the meeting, we should come with three or four spiritual children, one on the right, one on the left, one at the back, and one in the front. That will be wonderful. In this case, we will have the real growth.
All the young mothers and fathers learn the real lessons of human life by having children. When I was young, close to thirty years ago, by the mercy of the Lord I already had two or three children. At the same time there were a number of sisters in the church, many of whom were nurses. Those sisters were trained and very capable. When they went to the homes of the brothers and sisters who had children, they did not criticize outwardly, but they criticized inwardly very much. I knew this because a number of times they came to me and told me how they felt about certain sisters and brothers. I did not argue, but I said to myself, “All right, sisters, wait four or five years. You will have two children. Then I will go to your home and see how you manage it.” I told them, “Wait for a time and see.” They thought I meant that they should wait and see about those other families. They did not realize that I meant, “Wait and see how you will manage.” After a few months, one of those sisters got married, and after two or three years she had children. From then on, her mouth was shut; she no longer criticized. If we have two or three spiritual children, we will learn the lessons. Our criticizing mouth will be shut, and our criticizing heart will be calmed down. Then we will know only to sympathize with others. It is not a small thing to take care of children.
Allow me to illustrate this further. When we were young, the sisters who came to our home liked our little babies, but if the babies dirtied their diapers, the sisters would quickly give them back to the mother. When those sisters married and had their own children, however, there was no way for them to give their children to someone else. They had to take care of the dirty diapers themselves. In this way they learned the lessons. If we do not have children under our care, we learn only one thing—to enjoy. Moreover, if we cannot have our enjoyment, spontaneously we criticize; we never sympathize. This is the case until one day we pick up the responsibility to take care of four or five, even ten or twenty children. Then our mouths will be shut, and our hearts will be calmed down. We will sympathize with others, we will realize our responsibility, and we will learn the lessons.
By the Lord’s mercy, even physically speaking we had a number of children when we were young, and I learned certain lessons. Spiritually speaking also, even from my youth I had many spiritual children, and I learned more lessons. Now it is hard for me to criticize, but it is easy, by the Lord’s mercy, to sympathize. Today if I go to a sister’s home where there are several children and there is some problem, I do not criticize; I only sympathize. Having children helps us to learn the lessons. As disciples, we all need to take care of some children.
(Preaching the Gospel in the Way of Life, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)