By Mei Jie, Shandong Province
The church recently issued a work arrangement requiring church leaders at all levels to set up a partner (a co-worker to work alongside them). At the time I thought this was a good arrangement. I was of a low caliber and I really did need a partner to help me complete all types of work in the church.
So, I and the sister who became my partner began carrying out the pastoral work in the church together. I gradually realized that she wasn’t doing things as I would have liked, and resistance began in my heart: “Although I was a little busier when I worked on my own, I was able to handle all aspects of the church’s work well. Arranging for a partner at this point really would be a hassle. If I let her do some work and it’s not ideal, then I’d rather do it on my own. If I don’t let her do the work, well, she is my partner. I should let her participate in some things….” So, more and more resistance came up in my heart. One time when she did something that wasn’t how I wanted it done, I really couldn’t hold back any longer and I lost my temper with her: “What happened to you? You’ve been a leader for many years, so how can you not do such a small amount of work well? How is it that these last few times I haven’t been able to get through to you, that you’re just not taking it in?” After I was done, I felt awful, really guilty. I thought to myself: “How could I lose my temper so badly? Is there something wrong with my condition?” So I came in front of God in seeking, and saw God’s words which said: “Today the requirement of you to work together harmoniously is similar to how Jehovah required the Israelites to serve Him. Otherwise, your service will come to an end. Because you are people who serve God directly, at the very minimum you must be able to be loyal and obedient in your service, and must be able to learn the lessons in a practical way. … You do not even study or enter into such a practical lesson, and you still talk of serving God! … If you people who coordinate to work in the churches do not learn from each other, and communicate, making up for each other’s shortcomings, from where can you learn lessons? When you encounter anything, you should fellowship with each other, so that your life can benefit” (“Serve As the Israelites Did” in). Then I saw this in a sermon: “There are some people who are unable to coordinate with anyone else while fulfilling their duty. No one can get close to them; this reveals their arrogance and conceit, that they don’t have any humanity and sense, are not aware of themselves, and they look down on others. Isn’t this pitiful? The disposition of this type of human does not change at all, and it’s not easy to say if they can be saved by God. People who truly know themselves can treat other people correctly without being too critical. They can also patiently help and support others, make people feel that they are dear and beloved; they can have proper relationships with others. They are people with humanity, and only people with humanity have devotion for God, can live harmoniously with others, and adequately fulfill their duty” (The Fellowship From the Above). From those words of God and this from the sermon, I finally saw that I hadn’t understood God’s will in the work arrangement requiring church leaders at all levels to set up a partner. Only then did I quiet my heart and carefully ponder this. It turned out that this requirement from the work arrangement was because our caliber and experience are limited, as is our understanding of all aspects of the truth. We cannot take on all aspects of the church’s work on our own, so with the help of a partner, we can learn from each other’s strengths to make up for our own deficiencies to better carry out all aspects of the church’s work. Another part of it is that because our natures are so arrogant, with a position we want to have power and have the final say in things. With the oversight and restraint of a partner, that kind of autocratic, indiscriminate, reckless service that could damage the church’s work can be avoided. We can also better exercise our entry into the truth on proper humanity, learn to stand on an equal footing, learn how to have fellowship on the truth to achieve mutual understanding, and be able to submit to the truth. Only then did I see that harmonious coordination in our service is so critical for the work of the church and our personal life entry. But I had not sought God’s will at all in this. I had not paid attention to what practical lessons I could learn through coordination in service. I just reluctantly worked with her because of the church’s arrangement, and as soon as this sister didn’t handle a few things well, I scolded her and lost my temper. I always compared my strengths with her weaknesses and felt that she wasn’t as capable as I was, and I didn’t see her strengths and advantages. I even resisted the arrangement of the church. I really was too arrogant, so unaware of myself, and I didn’t have even a little bit of normal humanity or reason, and even more I absolutely didn’t have a heart of reverence for God, and was not worthy of this kind of grace and exaltation from God.
After realizing these things, I prayed to God: “Oh God! I give thanks for Your revelation that made me recognize my inability to coordinate with others harmoniously, my arrogance and my pitiful side in my service to You. From this day forward, I am willing to maintain a heart of reverence for You, to no longer uphold myself, and in all things to focus on the interests of the church. In coordination in service with my sister, I will support her and learn from her. I will focus on my own life entry, seek to soon become a person with truth and humanity, and perform my duty well to comfort Your heart.”