Many of us have a heart for the Lord and His recovery, but may be discouraged by our circumstances because we are “stuck” in school or work, while others are “freed” from these constraints to serve the Lord in a full-time way. These thoughts often stem from the concept many of us share that only those who have dropped their jobs are serving the Lord full-time.
Brother Witness Lee addresses this concept in chapter 7 of Elder’s Training Book 8:
Romans 12:1 says, “I beg you therefore, brothers, through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well-pleasing to God, which is your most reasonable service.” To present your body to God means you give yourself to God. This is to be full-time. We Christians should all be full-timers. We have to give ourselves to Him. We do not give ourselves to anything else, only to our saving God.
To present your body actually means to present yourself. As a saved one, you have to present yourself to God. Having presented yourself to God, you will be led by the Lord to either do a job to make money or to preach the gospel without making any money. Whether you do a job or preach the gospel depends upon the Lord’s leading.
Brother Witness Lee goes on to expose our human concept that only the ones who give up their jobs to preach the gospel are full-time, whereas the rest of us are not. Actually, each one of us should consider ourselves as full-timers. If we are working, we are a full-timer. If we are studying, we are a full-timer. If we are a housewife with several children, we are a full-timer. We should all be full-time; not to ourselves, our job, our education, or our children, but to the Lord.
This is indeed a liberating revelation. Regardless of the circumstances the Lord has arranged for us, we can be in them as one serving the Lord full-time. We shouldn’t belittle the situation in which the Lord has placed us because it is outwardly not a full-time service. The enemy would love for us to despise our environment and compare it to another’s, especially when we must stay in school or keep our job while others are led to drop theirs. Whichever way the Lord leads us, however, we should simply go in and be at peace. What matters is our vision and our heart. Whether we are changing dirty diapers, studying biophysics, or preaching the gospel in Paris, our view must be that we are all laboring in the same work. Whether we keep or drop our job does not matter, that is up to the Lord. We simply care to serve the Lord. Paul could travel and preach the gospel full-time, or he could make tents with Priscilla and Aquila. It made no difference to him – he had presented his body as a living sacrifice, and was thus full-time regardless of his outward activities.
Hallelujah! There is no special class of “full-timers.” There are simply believers, all of whose reasonable service it is to offer themselves as a living sacrifice to God to serve Him full-time. May we all receive such a vision and be freed from self-condemnation to serve the Lord in our God-arranged circumstances.