In our church there were several brothers and sisters who, each time I mobilized them to go out to perform duties, emphasized their difficulties and gave many reasons for refusal. Because of that, I got irritated whenever I saw them. I thought that they did not pursue at all, so I did not want to expend more energy on them, and I even had meetings with them as a mere formality and perfunctorily. But later, through a matter, I realized that it was not that they did not want to pursue or were unwilling to perform duties, but that I worked too rigidly, not knowing to give them rational assignments according to their actual situations.
In our church, there is a sister who runs a kindergarten in her house. Considering that she is young and educated, I talked with her about letting her go out to perform duty. But she said, “My husband is an unbeliever, and he persecutes me terribly. Besides, the kindergarten can’t do without me. So I can never go out.” I felt somewhat frustrated at her words, but I persisted in fellowshipping with her and asking her to cooperate. However, she just refused to come out to perform duty, and she even became passive because of that, saying that God’s family placed too high a requirement on her and she could not meet it. At this time, I was thoroughly disappointed, thinking, “You are young and educated and have accepted God’s new work for more than a year, but you still cling to these fleshly things. You do not pursue at all. I simply ignore you lest you waste my time and energy.”
One day, during my spiritual devotions, I read in The Replies to the Questions from the Churches in Various Places (2) these words: “Moreover, as for the brothers and sisters who do not perform duties, we need to find out their actual situations and, according to their stature, assign them suitable duties (such as copying by hand, doing hosting, helping the brothers and sisters who perform duties away from their homes look after their children or do their farm work, and so on); we should not make too high requirements of them. God’s word says: ‘But you have to know the many objective difficulties people have. You cannot reproach them arbitrarily or make them do what is entirely beyond them. That is an expression of foolishness. To resolve people’s many problems, you have to understand the movement of the working of the Holy Spirit, understand how the Holy Spirit works on different people, know their difficulties and defects, and discern the cruxes of the problems and grasp their roots, without deviation and erroneousness. Only thus will you be a qualified person of serving in coordination.’ ‘When I require people to do things, I set a limit for them. Some people think that I am ambiguous in saying that one thing can be done this way and that way. This is because you do not know that all my requirements for people are within a proper boundary. If I made the same requirement of all people that they must attain to the same stature, as you imagine, it would not work! That is forcing people to do what they cannot do. It is man’s principle of working but not God’s. God works according to people’s actual situations and their original qualities.’”
Reading here, I was suddenly enlightened. The Holy Spirit works in a very practical way. He works on different people in different ways, working according to their different situations and qualities, and he never forces people to do what they are unable to do or makes unreasonable requirements of them. In my working, however, I did not know to do different work on different people and guide them according to their different situations. I did not find out the actual situations of the brothers and sisters but, according to my own ideas, required all of them to come out to perform duties. Was I not forcing them to do what they are unable to do? My working in such an impractical way was totally against the principle of the Holy Spirit’s working, so how could the brothers and sisters have strength to pursue? Only then did I see that I was too foolish, had too many ideas of my own in working, and had no truth at all.
Under God’s inspiration and guidance, I had a way of practice: This sister runs a kindergarten, and as it happens, there are some brothers and sisters in the church who want to come out to perform duties but are restrained because they have small children and have no one to look after them. Why not fellowship with this sister about putting the children of those brothers and sisters in her kindergarten and letting her take care of them? In this case, not only can she have a duty to perform, but those brothers and sisters can perform their duties contentedly and no longer feel restrained. When I fellowshipped with the sister about this matter, she agreed gladly. From then on, she was no longer passive because of being unable to meet God’s requirement, and she looked after the children of those brothers and sisters very well. What was more gratifying was that after she performed this duty, her state became better and better, her strength to pursue increased, and she entered in rapidly.
Seeing this situation, I thought of several other brothers and sisters who did not perform duties. After I found out their actual situations through fellowship with them, I assigned them suitable duties according to their concrete conditions: one does copying by hand, another does hosting, another runs errands…. They all accepted willingly. Through a period of cooperation, they had great strength to perform their duties. Moreover, they regretted that they had not performed duties before and had wasted too much time, and they resolved to perform their duties properly to satisfy God.
Seeing this scene, I felt both happy and ashamed. Happy that under God’s leading, the brothers and sisters gradually understood God’s will and all could perform their duties actively; ashamed that, because I worked rigidly by my own ideas in the past, I delayed the brothers and sisters from performing duties and caused their life to suffer losses.
Through this experience, I have understood that it is really so important to know and grasp the principle of the Holy Spirit’s working. Only if one follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit and works on people according to their actual situations and difficulties can he cause them to have ways to go on and can he be after God’s heart. If one does things according to his own ideas, he can never serve according to God’s will but can only frustrate God’s work and be loathed by God.
Heze City, Shandong Province