3. The True Meaning of Service and the Duties of Workers
The true meaning of service is to exalt God, to bear witness to God, and to do God’s will. It is that simple, but to truly perform service is not easy. All those church leaders were eliminated in the past because they did not carry out such service and they were despised and proscribed by God. They exalted themselves, bore witness to themselves, firmly established their own authority making others acknowledge them and obey them, achieving the aim of acting tyrannically. These people are mean little men who have lost their conscience and reason. Of course, in spite of themselves, they understand principles but they do not act on them. It is obvious that their humanity is too bad. If they had had the slightest humanity, they would not have come to such a final outcome of being eliminated after having undergone so much pruning and dealing. Truly exalting God and bearing witness to God enables man to worship God in the highest, to magnify God and to submit under God’s dominion, making men know God and worship God, allowing God to be glorified. Doing God’s will means to bring men before God so that they can be completely obtained by Him, and it is only by attaining this outcome that service is in accord with God’s will. It was often communicated in the past that service to God means leading man to know God, and by taking the opportunity to exalt God, and to bear witness to God, man is led before God and able to submit to God, and to know and love God. If anyone’s service has reached this outcome, then his service is qualified, while the service of those which cannot reach this outcome is unqualified. Should anyone exalt himself and bear witness to himself in his service so that others are submitting to him and do not know God, he is an antichrist. This is absolutely right, and this is the state of things. It has subsequently come to light that the service of some people is of this kind. They are always concerned about the state of their personal prestige, and if they perceive that no one is attaching much importance to them or paying them much heed, they are discomfited and view the matter as particularly grave. They believe that if they cannot resolve this problem they will have no means of doing their work and therefore they display death-defying determination to bring others under their control and establish their individual prestige. This is how work is performed when man’s life disposition has not changed. Even though from the outside they treat God quite kindly, their essence is still disobedient. To resolve the question of submission to God, one needs to commence with understanding the truth and resolve the question of changing their disposition. They should not first resolve the problem of their own prestige as this is too selfish. It is important that they be considerate of God’s intentions because God wants to obtain men, and it is God that man believes in. God asks man to exalt Him in order to resolve the question of man’s submission to God, and of man knowing God. It is not in order to resolve the question of whether or not people are taking heed of you. Some people always complain, asking why others don’t listen to them. First, they have not grasped the essence of the problem. Secondly, because they do not know God, they do not have the truth. Thirdly, in the way they go about things they have lost their reason and do not have humanity. Therefore, no one pays them any heed. If your communication truly has achievements in respect of others’ life, and it truly enables them to know God, submit to God, and have a path to practice, then others will immediately like you and respect you, and be willing to open up their hearts to communicate with you, and to do as you say. This is absolute, and my understanding is very profound.
There are some whose work never has any outcome, the reason for this being that they cannot grasp the key of the problem, and this is related to the level of man’s knowledge of the truth. Those who perform service to God are only able to resolve the key of a problem by being truly able to see through to its essence. If you are always concerned about superficial things and unable to grasp the essence of a problem, your work will be completely to no avail. For instance, some people are unable to discern what they should first discuss with new converts. I say that first of all you should discuss the truth about visions to eradicate any conceptions and affirm the practical God, only then will a man’s belief in God be strong, this is the key. What should you say to the long-term believers? I say you should speak specifically of knowing God’s work, speak in particular about changing the disposition, resolving the difficulties associated with man practicing the truth, this is the key. What the man performing service to God undertakes is targeted at men, so if he cannot see through to the states of men, how can he resolve the problems of men? Further, if you want to resolve the problems of men you yourself should first have experience, this is an elementary requirement. Therefore, those in leadership, for their work to be effective, should themselves have deep experience, and they must be able to see through problems. If they only preach doctrines and lack reality, no one will be persuaded, and the aim of leading others will not be reached.
Having experienced several years of God’s work, I am continually summing up my experiences and I am cautioned by the lessons of those who have lost. In the process of performing service I tread very cautiously and even tremble with fear, afraid that I will steer people astray, go against God’s intentions, and become a sinner to be condemned through the ages. I always keep one principle in mind, and grasp that it is of fundamental importance to stress speaking of knowing God, to stress speaking of dispositional transformation, and to stress speaking of practicing the truth and doing one’s duty. I must not depart from this central principle and if I speak of these three aspects in particular, I cannot go wrong. I do not discuss those questions that depart from the central principle and are of no importance. When the central work is still to be completed, there is no point in speaking about superfluous things. God has led my service over these several years and it is entirely the result of the work of the Holy Spirit which has increasingly illuminated me within so that I have some knowledge of performing service to God.
It is perfectly normal that it is difficult to avoid encountering failure in performing service to God because man’s nature is to be disobedient, he will often act despite himself, with the result that he knows the truth but cannot put it into practice, or his experience is so shallow that he has a distorted understanding of the truth, and thereby leads others astray. I identify several types of failure in performing service, and I will cite some examples to explain these. One type of failure is performing service like an armchair strategist, doing his utmost to equip himself with words and sentences of the truth, and lecturing like a professor in a language class. He sees himself as speaking in a concrete and detailed way, with the result that after speaking for a number of years, people do not have the slightest part of the truth, and no outcome at all can be seen in knowing God or changing disposition. This is one of the most confusing types of service. People who perform service in such a way are by no means rare, and nearly all of those who do not have real experience perform their service in this manner. They vacuously rattle off one doctrine after another, but if you get them to discuss things to do with the essence of the truth and combine their words with reality, they are dumbfounded. Therefore, when they are done speaking they are still unable to resolve realistic questions, those who have heard them say what seemed to be excellent words at the time are subsequently left with no path to follow, unable to practice the truth and with no sign of change in disposition. It is like eating a lot of junk food; you may eat your fill at the time but later you have obtained no nutrition and are quite empty. Such service brings enormous harm to others, what they say is entirely that of an armchair strategist and they will absolutely ruin their whole army. Another type of failure is to perform service by going through the motions. He will tell those below him that which he has been told by those above. If he has totally confused what those above him have said, those below him will be unable to understand. Subsequently he complains about his stature and that nothing can be done because he is greatly lacking the caliber. He does not enquire into the true state of things; he is unable to sincerely deal with the truth, and only works unceasingly without considering whether the results are any good. He can say a few words about any question without getting to its heart. These sorts of people do not appear to understand what is called entering into reality, and do not understand how to achieve an outcome to their work. They probably are not of good caliber, and they are muddled by nature and not astute, which has to do with their natural character. Of course performing this kind of service is not up to the mark, I am afraid that it cannot be sustained and it fails to maintain the status quo. There is another kind of failure which is so-called performing service from the outside. They only do external things, emphasizing singing, dancing, having all sorts of gatherings, mouthing doctrines and slogans, and in addition blindly pruning people while making an impressive show of their courage and power. They seem to be extremely successful on the outside, bustling about busily, but this is not in the slightest based on reality, and cannot be described as knowledge of God. They cannot communicate the truth in the slightest, they cannot supply any life at all, and they cannot resolve any realistic problems whatsoever. I ask such a man: “Has your arrogant disposition revealed itself?” He says: “If someone doesn’t do as I say, I angrily deal with him and prune him.” I say: “Have you revealed your true self?” He does not utter a sound. The service performed by such people is even less qualified and it really is nauseating. It is all service according to one’s own inclinations, because they have all deviated from the true way, and they are performing service that is against God’s wishes. Although they have been eliminated by God, nevertheless the rancid smell of these kinds of service still prevails. Regardless of which person performing service to God still has some of this smell about him, it needs urgently to be resolved by getting rid of the odor and being cleansed. Of course, change in disposition is reached following the experience of performing service and no one has first completely changed and then later gone on to perform service. However, in keeping with God’s demand, we should work while we are entering and seek to enter while working, and is a normal situation. Do not fear failure, do not fear deviating, but you must turn around in time, correct yourself in time, constantly sum things up, constantly renew before you can be made perfect through service. Those who have been knocked out have not only failed to serve but more importantly they have done many evil things, they have said things contradicting God, and they have been eliminated because they have become those who have done much evil and for whom there is no way of being saved.
Service to God can best bring out man’s nature, which he may wish to hide but it cannot be covered up. If a man has a position the temptations are too great. Status, wealth, enjoyment, attraction of the opposite sex all lay ahead. If a man’s humanity is bad he will succumb at any time. Some men fall in a very cruel way. Those who have a little humanity are still able to withstand the temptations. Service to God is the same as getting into a martial arts ring, only a small number will stand firm, and the majority of people will fall over. Their failure teaches us an enormous lesson, and it enables people to see the ugly image of those whom there is no way to save because their nature is too evil, and how pitiful it is to be unable to stand if one does not have the truth.
Service to God is the most sacred and the most meaningful work which can only be taken on by those who have humanity and the truth. They will not be fit for the task if their experience is not sufficiently deep and they are not thorough with regard to the truth. We may say that those who have not experienced God’s work do not even have sufficient qualifications. Only those people who have experienced being made perfect by God through His judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, not only do they have the truth, but they have hearts that are in awe of God; further, they can talk about reality, they can provide people with the truth and the life, they can lead people onto the right track of faith in God, to enter reality, they can make people receive God’s saving grace. Only people who can achieve these results can serve God, and perform service that accords with God’s intentions.
In their service those who have been made perfect should also possess a heart that loves God, be able to show consideration for God’s intentions, regarding God’s heart as their own, and they ought to consider: How can service satisfy God, what outcome to achieve that will be able to satisfy God, has the life experience of brothers and sisters entered onto the right track, how is the change of their disposition, has one absolutely submitted to God, how clearly they know about practicing the truth, can the brothers and sisters fulfill their duties with devotion, can they bear witness to God, how many persons have knowledge of God, how many people are in awe of God, how many can speak of the reality of the truth, how many can lead the church, which people have the value to be made perfect, how should they be cultivated, has the matter of speaking words and doctrines in the church been resolved, is the life of the church normal, has eating and drinking the word of God achieved results, what level has been reached in knowing oneself, how many people are able to communicate their knowledge of the word of God, how many persons are there within each church with abilities of reception, what is the circumstance of the majority of churches, are those leading the church able to eat and drink God’s word, is their communication practical, what difficulties are there within the life of the church that still need to be resolved, who can most appropriately resolve these difficulties, should the task be assigned to others or should you handle it yourself, what work should you do, what work can be delegated to others, are these all clear, are you clear about the extent to which others can handle the task, and what would you do if others deal with the task in a perfunctory way? The above are all practical problems, and those who are serving should know them like the back of their hands in order to be able to complete their work. In addition, the work of service is also divided into stages. What is the main point that has come to the fore in this period, what does it center on? In the next period, there has been some change. What is the main point, what is at its heart? We must follow God’s footsteps closely, each step must arrive at a result, we must advance a step at a time. If you are not focused on outcomes, your work is not efficient, and your work is sluggish, with no sense of urgency it is sloppy and ordinary, then you should be eliminated. If people who serve really have the ability, those who are below will move in coordination with them. There is an atmosphere of tension and harmony. It is full of vitality and church life flourishes with each passing day. There is no negativity, no falling behind. Righteousness rises up and all church members work together. They are united in their efforts and can all bear witness to God and hold Him upon high. This is the best outcome. If the church is still lifeless, and the majority of people are at a negative point, this proves that your guidance did not lead the way. Church life is like a carriage and the leader is like a shaft-horse. If the shaft-horse is capable, then the carriage can be pulled forward. It moves when it should move and runs when it should run. Nothing can stop it. When one is really competent in serving God, all difficulties can be resolved wherever he goes, and no matter what problems people have he can talk them through and point out the way. It makes people full of enjoyment as if the burden is relieved. No matter how difficult the situation of a place is, if he stays there a few days and gathers people together for a few meetings, then people’s hearts will brighten. They are filled with energy when the truth is understood and their negativity is completely resolved. The strife of the flesh will be quelled and church life will take the right path. A person who really serves God can see through the deficiencies of people, and he knows what to provide for different people, where to start, and how to completely resolve the problems. No matter whether a new or old believer, old or young, leading or following, he can fully provide for them. Their problems can all be resolved and he can communicate with all people. For those who really serve God, communication of the truth has no rules and they do not do this by rote. They will speak from every side and from every angle. They will speak in different languages and will combine all types of facts. People of every class will understand and reap the benefits. Everyone will love to come into contact with those who truly serve God, be willing to open their hearts and communicate with them and will respect them and be willing to befriend them and talk from the heart with them. If everyone is afraid and hiding from you, then you are in trouble. The night owl entering the house is not a good sign. Those whose hearts are aligned with God’s will are always in the church, walking among the objects of their work, living and eating with the people, talking to people through the night. When entrusting people with work, they repeatedly exhort them. They are afraid of not doing well and never cold-shoulder people. They know that leaving the workplace is dereliction of duty. Those who leave the objects of their work are freeloaders. Is it possible to solve all the difficulties of reality without coming into contact with the leaders at grassroots level that coordinate with you? Can it be done without deeply experiencing church life at a basic level? Can there be any result without heart-to-heart communication? Can you stop doing your work when your voice is not yet hoarse? Are you burdened if there is nothing on your mind? If you’ve not lost weight, are you really hard working? Can people who indulge in good food show consideration for God’s intentions? Are those who pay great attention to what they eat and wear attaching importance to the result of their work? Can they really do good work if they only come into contact with a few people who are after their heart while they avoid meeting those who are not? Are they not parasites seeking an easy, comfortable and enjoyable life?
Those who really serve God know what they lack and can always equip themselves and at the same time communicate the truth to others, and even more so, they focus on entering into the truth themselves and knowing themselves more deeply. They can keep themselves from being arrogant, self-righteous and from showing themselves off and are also willing to open their heart to let other people know their weaknesses and shortcomings. Therefore their communication is sincere and authentic, with no false pretensions. People will have conviction in them, respect them and obey the truth that they convey.
Those who really serve God understand the work of the Holy Spirit and know what is from their own experience and what is from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. They are in awe of God and are neither arrogant nor boastful. They do not look down on others because they have the work of the Holy Spirit, but are more considerate of others, care for others and help others. They would rather suffer so that others may be happy. They understand the difficulties people suffer and also deeply understand how painful it is for a person without truth to fall into darkness. They understand even more the pleasures of being enlightened by the Holy Spirit and are willing to share their enlightenment by the Holy Spirit with others and share in the happiness with others. They do not take the work of the Holy Spirit as capital to enjoy. They enjoy the work of the Holy Spirit and can show consideration for God’s will. They are willing to resolve other people’s difficulties and pain and to pass the enjoyment they get from the work of the Holy Spirit to others in order to satisfy God. They can proactively cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit, show every consideration for God’s will and give up enjoyment in order to satisfy God. They refuse the blessing of status, do not seek special treatment, piously and respectfully serve God and loyally do their duty. People who serve God in this way act in line with God’s will.
To achieve service that is aligned with God’s will, one must first go through changes in life disposition. After it has been changed, one will start formal service. A few years’ experience is needed and without the truth, there will be no good result. If people truly understand the true meaning of service, they will know how to do their duty well. They deeply understand doing one’s duty is giving the truth, the way, and the life to others that they have got from God’s work and giving their experience, knowledge of God and the light revealed by the Holy Spirit to the church, so that others can share it, achieve changes in their life disposition, come to know God, obey God, be loyal to God and be gained by God. They do not equip themselves with the knowledge of the truth and teach others letters and doctrines to show how clever they are. Doing one’s duty is caring for, helping, being considerate of and taking care of others with a love of God, caring for others over oneself, thinking about others throughout, with everything intended for the church, preferring to suffer more in order for more people to gain life and be saved, to pay all the costs so that people can understand the truth and expend themselves for God to satisfy God’s will. It is not priding oneself based on one’s status and clinging to enjoyments of the flesh and regardless of how much brothers and sisters suffer, just satisfying one’s own desire to eat, drink and enjoy more, while abandoning the benefits of brothers and sisters. Some people even work according to preference and lust. If a person receives them well and wins their favor, they will fellowship with them. Otherwise, they will refuse. The most despicable person is he who engages in trading his work. Doing one’s duty is aligning one’s heart with God’s will—worrying about God’s worries, thinking about what God is thinking about, being concerned about God’s concerns and putting the interests of God’s family first at all times. It is working hard to the neglect of one’s meals and sleep and making painstaking efforts, and doing the work God has entrusted one to do with the sense of responsibility of a master. It is not expecting to be rewarded for a little work, or expecting enjoyment after a little suffering, or becoming proud and conceited after achieving some results, or enjoying status and acting like a tyrant. Those who are loyal in doing their duty submit to God’s arrangements, are loyal and devoted and work uncomplainingly and selflessly as a servant of God, only willing to return God’s love, serving God worthily with their life. They regard themselves as nothing more than a piece of dust without honor, and even less worthy of enjoying God’s grace, and they are completely at God’s mercy and do not complain. They are not mean and shameless hypocrites who cherish their own lives, hope to receive good fortune, and hope to stand above others and enjoy being superior to others. Doing one’s duty is being considerate of God’s will, staying close to God’s burden, regarding brothers and sisters as one’s parents, being willing to be everybody’s servant, bearing brothers and sisters’ lives in mind, daring to take responsibility, not owing anybody, letting people gain whatever he has gained, serving with his conscience, and daring to accept everyone’s supervision. It is not saying things pleasing to the ear but then doing no actual work, or enjoying brothers and sisters’ hospitality but still bullying them, or asking people to do this and that to take good care of him, but lecturing, pruning and dealing with people at every turn, or asking people to come and wait on him when he is ill and asking people to accompany him when he needs them. Such a person who makes people his servants is by no means serving God; rather, he holds himself up high, bears witness to himself, builds himself up, lets people treat him as God, and is very afraid of being in low repute and of people not being convinced. He vigorously strengthens the offensive and even tirelessly makes people obey and worship him, and sits in God’s place teaching people lessons. He looks down on everyone and does everything in his power to create his sphere of influence, operates his own businesses to make people put him at the center, heed his words, obey his arrangements and put God to one side to worship him. After he has worked for several years, the people he leads have no knowledge of God. On the contrary, they are all afraid of him and obey him. He has become a god. Is this not bringing people in front of him? This kind of person is a robber, a thief within the family and an antichrist.
The key to whether or not a person’s service is successful is how he fulfills his duties. There are two principles that need to be taken into account in completing one’s duties: First, you must take the position of a created being, and possess the conscience and reason that a normal person should have, treating the fulfilling of duties as your personal sacred responsibility; secondly, in order to be faithful, you must obtain particular solicitousness, ensuring that you are able to fulfill the tasks that you ought to complete, with the courage to bear responsibility for God. You can only fulfill your duties if you possess these two principles. In the work that He entrusts to me, God never supervises me and hurries me along. I attend to it myself because it is my responsibility to fulfill my duties. If I do not carry out my duties, I will be negligent and will not have the face to live before God, I will be unworthy of God and be in debt to my brothers and sisters. How can I stand among men? I am undeserving of being called a man. What do we people count for before God? We are like dust, so unworthy of such great graces that God bestows on us. Fulfillment of our duties is a tiny amount of repayment, we are still unworthy even if we give all of our life to God, and our total loyalty is not even worth mentioning. This should be the reasoning of those who serve God.