Serving the Lord Full-Time (1)

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.

4 thoughts on “Serving the Lord Full-Time (1)

  1. Amen to this word. The Lord cares more about our heart than our outward activity. He cares more about our being than our doing. Still, we need to have a heart to serve, and let the Lord work out the practical application of this wherever we may be situated.

    Perhaps the brothers could share more about what it means to serve the Lord. I need some clarification on this and other saints might benefit as well. I often have the concept that to serve means either to be a (job-dropping) full-timer, or to serve in a functional way (e.g., ushering, children’s meeting, bread service). But I feel this view is too low. May the Lord uplift all of our vision through the fellowship in the Body.

  2. A brother asked us recently to read “Normal Way of Fruit-Bearing and Shepherding for the Building up of the Church”, Chapter 7, “Serving in Oneness as the Holy Priesthoold to be Built Up as a Spiritual House”, in which the first section mentions:

    It is not easy for Christians to understand what the real service is that we render to the Lord. The natural thought is that anything we do for the Lord is a service. The word service has even been damaged in Christianity today. People speak of the Lord’s Day morning meeting as a “service,” and in the evening they also have an “evening service.” What they mean by service is simply a Christian gathering. In the Bible, however, service has a much different meaning. The best portion to see the proper understanding of the service is in 1 Peter 2. Verse 5 says, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood.” In the original Greek of the New Testament, there are two words translated as “priesthood” in English. One word is used in Hebrews 7, referring to the priestly service, the service of the priests (vv. 11, 12, 24). The other, used in 1 Peter 2:5 and 9, refers not to the priestly service but to the group of priests, the priestly body. The spiritual house in verse 5 is the priesthood, the priestly body, and this priesthood is the spiritual house. Both the spiritual house and the holy priesthood are being built up. Verse 5 continues, “To offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” To offer is to serve; the offering up of spiritual sacrifices is the real service. The true service which we render to the Lord is an offering by a built-up body of priests, and this built-up body is the spiritual house. By this we can see that the genuine, proper service depends upon the building. If there is no building, there can be no house, and if there is no house, there can be no priesthood. The building is the house, and the house is the priesthood, the priestly body.

    Today we speak of “service groups” in the church. This is a good term. In the biblical language, the service groups are the priesthood. “Service group” is simply a modern way to refer to the classical, or scriptural, term priesthood.The service of arranging chairs is a chair-arranging priesthood, and the cleaning service group is a cleaning priesthood. We also have the junior high, nursery, and clerical priesthood. The word priesthood should remind us that our service groups are the building up of the priests. If we are not serving as priests in this way, what we have is not a service group. Those who arrange the chairs in the meeting hall are not merely chair arrangers; they are priests. This means that they not only arrange the chairs; they render a service to God. Chair arranging is not their business, duty, or service. Their service is something holy and spiritual. In itself, chair arranging is not holy or spiritual; it is not a service. Our chair arranging is different. It is a holy and spiritual service rendered to God.

    The first test of our service is whether we are serving as priests. The second test is whether we are serving as individual priests or as the “hood,” the corporate priesthood. Those who arrange the chairs are priests, but this is not enough. They should serve not as individual priests but as the priesthood. Priests are many, but the priesthood is one and unique. In the service groups there is only one priesthood, which is composed of the many priests. This implies the building up. The genuine service in the church has the nature of being priestly and of being built up. If our service is not of this nature, it is not genuine; it is a counterfeit and an imitation. Our service is a priesthood.

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