97. The Principles of Hosting God’s Chosen People
1. You must rely on your loving heart and be principled when hosting God’s chosen people, and you must also obey the church’s arrangements. Never host antichrists, evil people or evil spirits;
2. At key times, you must ensure the safety of leaders, workers, brothers and sisters—this is an obligatory responsibility;
3. You should do whatever you can according to your family situation. God’s family advocates simplicity and convenience with regards to meals, and excessive eating and drinking is not permitted. The principle is to ensure that brothers and sisters can eat their fill;
4. If the host family has any difficulties, then the church must resolve them. If the host family is poor and finds it hard to get by, the church may bear all hosting costs.
Relevant Words of God:
What does God’s word require as the principle for treating others? Love what God loves, hate what God hates. That is, the people loved by God who truly pursue the truth and who carry out God’s will, are the people you should love. Those who don’t carry out God’s will, hate God, disobey God, and are despised by God, are people we should despise and reject. That’s what God’s word requires.
from “Knowing Yourself Requires Knowing Your Deep-rooted Thoughts and Views” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Who is Satan, who are demons, and who are God’s enemies if not resisters who do not believe in God? Are they not those people who are disobedient to God? Are they not those people who verbally claim to believe yet lack truth? Are they not those people who only pursue the obtaining of blessings yet cannot bear witness for God? You can still hobnob with those demons today and stress conscience and love with these demons; is this not considered extending good intentions to Satan? Is it not considered associating with demons? If people are still unable to distinguish between good and evil today, and still blindly stress love and pity without in any way hoping to seek God’s will, and cannot in any way have God’s heart as their own, their endings will be all the more wretched. Anyone who does not believe in the God in the flesh is an enemy of God. If you can stress conscience and love to an enemy, do you not lack a sense of righteousness? If you are compatible with those which I detest and disagree with, and still stress love or personal feelings with them, are you not then disobedient? Are you not intentionally resisting God? Does a person like this possess truth? If people stress conscience to enemies, stress love to demons and stress pity to Satan, are they not intentionally interrupting God’s work?
from “God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
To provide hospitality for several years as though it was a day, treating brothers and sisters like family, without demanding anything or seeking repayment—that is a good deed.…anything that people can do that is beneficial to spreading the gospel of the kingdom, and that is done with sincerity, without seeking reward and without making trade-offs, all counts as a good deed.
from “Only Those Who Gain the Truth and Enter Into Reality Are People Who Have Truly Attained Salvation” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life
If someone is a host, if they host well, they practice the truth when hosting, and they host brothers and sisters with a heart that loves God and wishes to satisfy God, then brothers and sisters will see God’s love in their host, they will see God’s mercy for man, they will see the true human likeness that man should live out and the conscience and reason man should possess. Therefore, those who are being hosted will gain the supply of life from their host, they will see God’s love in their host, they will see the true human likeness in their host, and they will know how to conduct themselves. Although the host may not be a church leader, yet others are greatly benefited by them. So tell me, how is this host’s performance of his duty? In complete conformity with God’s will. Because the host pursues the truth, they are able to be considerate toward God’s will and they have a God-loving heart. And because they have a God-loving heart, they can always be tolerant and patient toward brothers and sisters. No matter what corrupt expressions brothers and sisters have, the host is not averse to them; they always pray to God, depend on God to overcome, and furthermore can perform their own duty on others—fellowshiping about the truth and fellowshiping their own experiences and testimonies so that others are benefited. Therefore, people see their host have a true human likeness and, in this way, not only is the duty the host performs done in complete conformity with God’s will, but they are also someone who conforms to God’s will.
from the fellowship from the above
Say, for example, while hosting the host encounters some workers who are arrogant and self-conceited, who look down on everyone, and who can’t get along with others peacefully and normally. The host will be in difficulty, and will think: “Ah, my heart really isn’t willing to host them; but if I don’t host, I won’t be devoted to my duty and I won’t be able to satisfy God. What can I do?” This requires a thorough understanding of the essence of the problem: “God has commissioned me to do hosting work, and no matter whether they are a leader, a worker or a brother or sister, so long as they fall within the scope of my hosting, then this is the duty I should do. People have corrupt dispositions, and not being willing to host those workers is my corrupt disposition. Workers being arrogant and self-conceited, looking down on everyone and not being able to get along normally with other people are their corrupt dispositions.” If a host only enjoys hosting people they like, and only enjoys hosting people who have normal humanity and reason, then this is a personal preference. In order to fulfill their duty well, hosts should forsake their flesh and give up their preferences. They should think: “As long as it is someone I’m supposed to host, as long as they are not an antichrist and not a false Christ coming to deceive people, and as long as they are a brother or a sister, then I should host them.” In this way, the essence of the problem will be thoroughly understood. So hosts should practice forsaking their flesh, and by practicing God’s words in this way, they will be able to fulfill their hosting duties well.
from the fellowship from the above
When some people who host brothers and sisters see a leader coming, they hurry to prepare good food. But when they see an average brother or sister coming, they just prepare ordinary meals. Is this fair? No, it’s not fair. Hosts should treat all brothers and sisters equally. If a leader has worked very hard, and is frail and sick, is it then OK for them to eat the same food as brothers and sisters? No, that won’t do. In such exceptional circumstances, hosts must take good care of them, right? It’s fine for other brothers and sisters to eat some plain congee, as they’re not sick. But if someone serving as a leader has worked very hard and they don’t feel well, and if the leader also eats plain congee, that could cause problems. Having a weak constitution, if the leader always eats plain congee along with the brothers and sisters, then when will they be able to recover? Therefore, hosts must be fair. If hosts act fairly then brothers and sisters will know how to take their measure and will not make irresponsible remarks. Right? Even if an individual slanders you, if you’ve acted correctly then what have you to fear? You will have nothing to fear no matter who slanders you. You are clear in your heart on why you have acted as you have, and you know whether the principles behind your actions are right or not. Therefore, in fact everyone is clear on how to do the hosting duty appropriately and how to do it in a way that conforms to God’s will, and brothers and sisters are able to discern this. Some host families follow the rules to the letter; anything bought by brothers and sisters is given for the use of those who are being hosted, and they keep nothing for themselves. They want no money, they won’t allow God’s family to give them any money for their hosting, they only ever spend their own money, and they don’t accept anything given by any brother or sister. You see, there are people like this. If they run out of money while hosting, they still don’t say a word, they just quietly go and borrow some, and if the church gives them money, they don’t use it. Some people cling to the rules this closely, and what is it they think? “If the church gives me money, then is it really me who’s doing the hosting? That wouldn’t be me doing my duty.” This is how they understand things. In fact, this understanding is incorrect. Their intentions are fantastic, always wanting to expend themselves and spend their own money to host other people. But you must go by your own circumstances. If you don’t have the money to host people and the church gives you some money, then you are still performing your duty and are still working hard. Some people’s understanding is a little partial and they do everything very one-sidedly. Their intentions are good, but they cling a little too tightly to rules, and this is unsuitable. Of course, brothers and sisters like this perform their duties sincerely and they do it completely for the sake of performing their hosting duty, to satisfy brothers and sisters and to satisfy God. They spare no expense, they take any suffering upon themselves, they bring out good food and, once the brothers and sisters have eaten and left, they themselves eat plain congee and old vegetables—performing one’s duty in this way is a good deed. It’s not good to cling too closely to rules, however. You have no money so you borrow some, but borrowing money will cause problems later on. Why don’t you use it when the church gives you money or when brothers and sisters give you things? It’s not right not to use these things, for your actions are too one-sided, and it is not right to cling too closely to rules. People who perform their duties with devotion and who can pay the price, who take no advantage of others and who don’t scheme anything for themselves, all perform their duties sincerely, and by performing their duties they perform good deeds.
from the fellowship from the above
13. It is a good deed to shield those who truly believe in God from arrest and use all connections to rescue those brothers and sisters who have been arrested. It is even more of a good deed to use wisdom to uphold the church life and protect God’s chosen people.
14. It is a good deed to do all one can to help brothers and sisters who truly expend themselves for God and seek the truth through the storm when difficulties and troubles arise. It is also a good deed to be able to help leaders and workers who expend themselves for God full time and whose families are in difficulty.
15. It is a good deed if someone can find ways to receive and help brothers and sisters who have been pursued and are on the wanted list, without being afraid of the risk and the price to pay, and moreover, can endure all kinds of people’s criticism, nastiness and troubles in doing one’s duty well to satisfy God.
from “The Good Deeds, Evil Deeds and Various Fallacies That Must Be Clearly Discerned by God’s Chosen People” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God
3. The Church’s Principles for Hosting
The hosting duties of the church shall be the responsibility of the appointed host families. When hosting those performing work as well as the brothers and sisters, the host families must follow the hosting principles in order to be commemorated and blessed by God. The specifics of the hosting principles are as follows:
1) When hosting, the host families must never arrange for a big feast. The circumstance of the host families must be considered, the host families should not be ruled over by vanity of the flesh and their own conceit. They should stay within their means, and the borrowing of money for hosting shall never be tolerated;
2) When an affluent family is hosting, no more than four dishes can be cooked; and when a family at a poor and backward area is hosting, no more than two dishes can be cooked. The dishes should be primarily vegetarian, and some meat can be included when under better circumstances. In the case of a lower living standard, the dishes can be completely vegetarian (except for those people with illness);
3) If the host family is affluent, it may host using its own money, but it must avoid a big feast, and it certainly must not cause adverse impacts to God’s house. If the host family is impoverished, the church may reimburse its expenses. The borrowing of money for hosting shall never be tolerated;
4) If the host family has discovered any worker who is lazy and picky, it may report to those at the higher levels. If such workers are unrepentant, the host family may refuse to host them and should not be constrained by the position of such workers, for all of God’s chosen people are equal in the presence of God and the truth. While the duties that each shall fulfill may be different, there is no distinction of superiority and inferiority amongst us.
We hope that all host families can implement these principles, for only by hosting in this manner can we satisfy God’s will, and we shall not feel troubled by how to do hosting. The host family and the workers can supervise each other and encourage each other, for such a practice is beneficial to everyone. The workers should focus on the work of God’s house and treat it as their top priority; those who focus on eating, drinking and having fun should repent and restrain themselves. All those workers who are constantly being lazy shall be sent home.
from “Principles for Establishing a Church and Managing Church Life” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God
V. Principles of Financial Support for Hosting Families That Are Struggling to Survive
1. The church will cover the total expenditures incurred for the long-term hosting of families that are struggling to survive. Food must be supplied by the church, with a minimum of six months’ worth of provisions.
2. The church will cover the total expenditures incurred for sponsoring meetings of families with difficulties.
3. The church is responsible for resolving difficulties occurring in host families.
from “Principles for Looking After People Who Perform Their Duty Full-time” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God