IV. THE SERVICE IN THE CHURCH BEING
THE FUNCTION OF THE MEMBERS WITH GRACE
The practical service in the church, such as maintaining the meeting hall by arranging the chairs, cleaning the windows, mowing the lawn, and trimming the trees, is the function of the members with grace. While you mow the lawn, you may minister grace to others who are cutting the grass with you.
If we hired janitors to clean the hall, that would create one kind of atmosphere. But if all the saints come to take care of this janitorial work in the meeting hall with much prayer, this makes a big difference. Then the hall becomes like the palanquin mentioned in the Song of Songs, built and prepared through the love of the virgins (3:9-10). The serving saints prepare the meeting hall to be the palanquin on which Christ can be carried. Such a meeting hall will surely be different from any kind of auditorium. When we enter into an auditorium, we have the sense of coldness. But when we come into our meeting hall, which has been prepared, vacuumed, and cleaned by so many virgins, the sense is different. We should not think that vacuuming the floor of the hall or cleaning even one window of the hall is a small thing.
In my hometown of Chefoo, one older brother was a manager of a big insurance company. He was wealthy, but every Saturday he came purposely just to clean five windows of the meeting hall. He told everybody to leave those five windows to him. Those five windows were the five "eyes" of the hall at the front. He kept those windows clean as crystal, and a number of saints were inspired and encouraged by his service.
The meeting hall of the church in Chefoo was greatly used by the Lord. One young man who was passing by the meeting hall on his bicycle read the verse which was posted on the outside of the hall. The verse was Acts 16:31: "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household." He saw that verse, got off of his bicycle, and prayed and was saved by the Lord. After he came into the church life, he gave us this testimony.
One sister, who became a deaconess among us, was burdened to pray for the salvation of her husband, who was a good businessman in Shanghai. A brother among us was a friend of his, and he invited him to come to our gospel- preaching meeting on the second day of the new year. Because of his friendship with this brother and because of his wife, he felt that he could not reject this invitation. The night before he came to the meeting, he had a dream. In that dream he saw the meeting hall and a group of people at the entrance ushering people in. In his dream he entered into the meeting hall and walked up a stairway to the second floor. He saw his friend, who was a brother in the church, on the other stairway. He also saw the interior of the meeting hall. When he awoke the next morning, he was wondering about what he had dreamed. There was no need for his friend or his wife to urge him to go to the meeting, because he wanted to go to see if the hall matched what he had seen in his dream. When he went, he observed the meeting hall with the people outside the entrance ushering people in. He went inside the hall, and it was exactly according to what he had seen in his dream. He saw his friend come up the other stairway according to what he had dreamed. The hall was filled with people that day. After I preached the gospel in that meeting, he was the first one to stand up and pray to receive the Lord for his salvation.
(Basic Lessons on Service, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)