I remember that when I first served as a church leader, though I was a little reluctant because of being restrained by the circumstances of my family, I had full confidence that I could do the church work well. I always felt that I, having worked as a leader in my former unit for many years, had experience and ability, and there would be no problem for me to lead forty to fifty people. Therefore, after taking over the church work, I ran around almost every day, going out early and coming home late. Going here and there all day, I got blisters on my feet and also spent much money on taking buses. The result was that, when one and a half months passed, no one had written testimony articles; no one had been gained through preaching the gospel; there was but one of the host homes left, which had not been many; almost all that the life deacon reported was “bad news.” When my leader asked me to sum up the causes, I shed tears of grievance and emphasized the objective reasons, without any element of knowing myself.
At this time, my original self-confidence had disappeared without a trace. Following that, I became passive. I felt the burden of a leader was really too heavy: I was terribly busy, choked with pressure, and had no ways. So I wanted to beat a retreat. Thank God! Owing to the moving of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the sister, I was kept from falling down in passivity. But I was still utterly ignorant and perplexed about how to do the church work well. For this, many times I knelt before God and prayed to God, wishing God to inspire and help and guide me and make a way out for me. After my prayers, what I first received was the judgment and rebuke from God: “When encountering things, you are at a loss what to do, like an ant on a hot pan—running round and round…. Judging from the outward flesh, you are adults, but your life within is the life of little children.” I bowed my “high-held” head in shame. Because I was exactly such a person as God’s words described vividly, I had to acknowledge that my life was indeed too little. But, how should I solve the many difficulties in the church? Once more, I offered my sincere prayer to God. Afterward, I read these words of God: “As to the problems arising in the church, don’t be always full of worries like that. It is unavoidable that there are mistakes in building up the church. But when you encounter things, don’t get flurried; be steady and calm…. Pray more before me and I will reveal my intention to you. …whatever you do, if you don’t return before me, you shall not make it.” “I know the situation of each church like the back of my hand…. My eager will now is to exercise you and make you grow faster and soon be fit for me to use.” “As for the matters of the church, … bring them before me seriously and you will have ways.” God’s words, like a key to unlock the heart, made me feel as if relieved of a heavy load, assured and brightened in my heart. I came to understand this: The difficulties in the church are arranged for me by God, and are permitted by the throne. God uses the difficulties in the church to exercise me and compel me to return before God. In the past I was arrogant and self-important and did things according to my own ideas and my naturalness. I said with my lips that God was almighty; but in reality, I did not at all have God in my heart and was completely my own master. When encountering things, I did not keep calm but only knew to get worried and angry; and I never brought the difficulties in the church before God to seek. I believed in God but did not rely on God; how could I not get into trouble on all sides? How could I achieve results in the work? God’s chastisement and judgment caused me to realize my arrogance and my blindness. Then I understood the real meaning of these words of God: “…if you try to pursue your cause by your abilities and knowledge, you will forever be a failure.”
Now I no longer complain that the church work is difficult. For I have understood this: If I rely on the experience of working as a leader in the world, I will only come to a dead end; only by relying on God, looking to God, and seeking God in everything can I have ways to do the church work.
Dalian City, Liaoning Province