Romans 14:7-8: “For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself; for whether we live, we live to the Lord, and whether we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore whether we live or we die, we are the Lord’s.”
After Brother Lee discusses who should be full-time in chapter 7 of Elder’s Training, Book 8, he goes on to explain exactly what it means to serve the Lord full-time in chapter 8.
The real meaning of being full-time is to live to Him. To go full-time does not mean to drop your job and become a preacher. It does not mean that you give up your business and become one who preaches the gospel or who labors in the word all the time. A full-timer is one who lives to the Lord. We have to live to Him because He is ours and we are His. To live to Him is based upon the fact that we are His. Not only is He ours, but we also are His.
To be a full-timer means that whatever you do, you do to the Lord; whatever you are, you are to the Lord; and whatever you have, you have to the Lord. If you remain in a job, you remain there to the Lord. If you leave your job, you leave it to the Lord. As long as you are to the Lord you are a full-timer. Whatever you have to do practically all depends upon the One to whom you live. He leads you. To be full-time simply means to live to the Lord.
To begin to see this matter, we must realize the nature of our relationship with the Lord: we belong to Him and we are one with Him (1 Cor. 3:23; 7:23; 6:17). Even the name “Christian” implies that we are not merely for Christ, but belong to Him. Because we have such a relationship with the Lord, we are constrained to not just live for the Lord, but more deeply, to the Lord. Brother Lee makes a clear distinction between these types of living. If we are those living for the Lord, we can still be separate from Him and maintain possession of ourselves, our belongings, and our capabilities. For example, if we have something “for” the Lord, that indicates it is still in our possession. Even though we may be keeping it for Him, we are still the owner, and He must essentially ask our permission before using it. If, however, we are living to the Lord, everything we are, everything we have, and everything we can do belong to Him. At the same time, everything He is and has is ours (1 Cor. 3:21-23). To be to the Lord means we are one with Him. There is not only no separation between us and the Lord, but also no distinction between He and us. We breathe to Him, eat to Him, walk to Him, and even exercise to Him. If we are practicing the real ownership of the Lord, we will do everything to Him. This is the expression of being one with the Lord.
Brother Lee illustrates this fact using the example of marriage, where the husband belongs to the wife, and the wife belongs to the husband. After marriage, they become not two separate persons living for one another, but one person with one living. They do not have to ask permission to use each others’ possessions. They do not live merely for one another, but to one another. We also should have such a relationship with the Lord. We should not have to ask permission to “use” Him, nor should He have to ask our permission to use us. This should be the nature of our relationship with the Lord – not living for Him, but to Him.
If we truly realize that everything we are, everything we have, and everything we can do belongs to the Lord, and that everything the Lord is and has belongs to us, our living will be to Him. Such a living is what it means to serve full-time. Our living in such a way is our full-time service to Him. It is not what we are doing that matters, it is our being that matters. Whether we are prophesying in the meeting or reading Curious George to our children does not matter. We are doing so to the Lord and are therefore serving the Lord in doing it. In this light, a brother arranging chairs at the meeting hall may not be serving the Lord because he is in his natural man working for the Lord, while a sister may be serving the Lord by living to Him in her grocery shopping and cooking for her family.
May we all be brought to consider our being before the Lord and give ourselves to serve Him full-time by living absolutely to Him in whatever situation we are in.
Brother Lee also recommends the following verses as a “cluster of the divine Word” that describes the matter of being full-time: 1 Cor. 3:20b-23; 7:22b-23a; Rom. 14:7-9; 2 Cor. 5:14-15.
10 thoughts on “Serving the Lord Full-Time (2)”
I really enjoy the distinction between “living for” and “living to” the Lord. Living to the Lord is just being one with our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord and us are one person with one living. It is so encouraging that even in our work, school, home we can breathe to Him, eat to Him, walk to Him and even exercise to Him because whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s! Praise the Lord!
I really enjoyed this matter of serving the Lord by living to Him. If we have the view that we and everything we possess already belong to the Lord, we would no longer have the thought, “Okay, now I’m about to do something for the Lord. Because I’m helping clean the meeting hall or ushering the saints, I’m serving the Lord right now.” That statement implies that the many other things we do in our daily life are not serving the Lord. If we realize we belong to Him, such a statement would make no sense – because if we belong to Him, it is implied that regardless of what we are doing, we are doing it to Him and are thus serving Him. There is no difference between doing “spiritual” things and “normal” things – they are all done to the Lord because the person doing them intrinsically belongs to the Lord and is one with Him. Whether it is prophesying in the Lord’s Day meeting, praying in the prayer meeting, taking care of our children, cooking dinner, or working at our job, it makes no difference. It is all to Him. When we go to school to study, we study to Him. If we go to work to make money, we make money to Him. If we are raising children, we raise children to Him. We breathe to Him, we sleep to Him, we eat to Him, and we drink to Him. Our being is a testimony to Him. If we are truly one with Him, we will be serving full-time without even saying or doing anything. Living in such a state is our service. Whatever we are, we are to Him; whatever we do, we do to Him; whatever we possess, we possess to Him; whatever we own, we own to Him.
At the end of chapter 8, Brother Lee offers a practical test in helping to know if we are living to the Lord:
“When you say that you are a full-timer, it means that you are to the Lord. If the Lord really wanted you to drop your job and you would not do it, you could still say that you were for the Lord. But deep within, you could not say that you were to the Lord. If you cannot say that you are remaining in your job to the Lord, this indicates you have to give up that job. Whether or not you should leave your job has to be checked. When you leave your job, do you have the feeling deep within that you are leaving your job to the Lord? When you remain in a job, are you remaining there to the Lord? Whether you leave your job or remain in it, depends upon whether you can say that you are to the Lord. Whichever way you can say that you are to the Lord is where you need to be. If you cannot say ‘to the Lord,’ you should not do it. This is a very deep test.”
Amen, Lord! We belong to You alone.
Amen! May we all be bought to the deepest realization that we are to the Lord in whatever situation we are in, whether we are studying, working, plain housewife serving our family, whether we live or we die we are the Lord’s.
Amen! We need to live TO the Lord, not FOR Him. Everything we are, everything we have, and everything we can do belong to Him. Also everything He is and has is ours! He is our Husband and we corporately are His bride, His wife. I was really glad when I realized that we have the FREEDOM to use Him and all that is His anytime, and He the freedom to use all that is us and ours. May He usher us into the reality of living to Him in our daily living.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! AMEN! AMEN!
Continue the good work and may God bless u all in Jesus name. Amen
Oh Lord Jesus…
By the Lord’s sovereign arrangement I am here reading and being watered and supplied by all the saints concerning pouring oneself to the Lord for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose. Individually, I realized how weak I am and short in the experience of living to the Lord. Oh Lord Jesus…
Thank you saints for your encouragement and I really appreciate your portion.
Much grace and peace be multiplied.