By Fang Min
When my cousin came to my house with worry, she sighed and said to me, “I have worked in the church with Sister Chen for a while. But recently, when we dealt with problems, we could never have a unified opinion. When I said about the east, she said only about the west. I thought my opinions and views were clearly right, but Sister Chen always challenged me. It was hard for me to submit and accept. Later, in order to avoid disputing with her, I would say nothing but fight with her inwardly: Since you feel you are capable, then you’ll have the final say on church’s work by yourself, and I won’t partake anymore. I’ll see what you can do. Even sometimes, I saw Sister Chen was unsure of some problems, and if she did blindly, she would bring about a loss to the church, but I still didn’t want to correct her. Due to such matters, I feel uneasy, that my relationship with God becomes abnormal. I know what I did is inconsistent with the Lord’s will, but I have no idea how to practice to achieve harmonious coordination with my co-worker, and safeguard the church’s interests together.”
I carefully listened to my cousin’s annoyance and gave her a glass of water, saying, “Some time ago, I also encountered such problem when I was in charge of the church’s work with Sister Li. Every time we discussed the work together, Sister Li always had different opinions regarding my views. I felt she seemed to aim at me and find fault with me. So I, in a fit of pique, didn’t want to pay her any mind. I thought: You can behave however you like, I’ll not say any word. I also know the Lord said: ‘This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (Jhn 15:12), but once my benefits, face and reputation are involved, I can’t put the Lord’s word into practice. I always have too little love and too much prejudice, too little understanding and too many disputes. Especially in arranging and dealing with the church’s work, when we couldn’t have a unified opinion, neither of us was willing to put ourselves aside. We both thought our opinions were better than the other party, and that our understanding was higher than the other party, so both of us wanted the other party to accept our views and advice. When the church’s work was delayed, we would fixate our eyes on the other party, thinking it was caused by the other party’s conceit. When we couldn’t argue with the other party’s logic, we would put aside the work in a fit of pique and ignore it.”
My cousin put down the glass in her hand, nodding and saying, “You said it! That’s what I do. I also know the Lord requires us to be one and to love each other, but whenever my face and status are on the line, I can’t put it into practice. How should we solve this problem?”
I replied, “I had continually sought and prayed to God for this problem. A few days ago, I visited a friend who also believes in the Lord. After listening to her fellowship, I have a way to practice, and I wrote it down. Wait a minute, I’ll get it and share with you.” After I got my note, I started to fellowship with my cousin …
1. If we want to achieve harmonious coordination, we must understand our own arrogant nature, and learn to respect and listen to others’ correct suggestions.
Because we have been corrupted deeply by Satan, we all have satanic nature of arrogance, conceit, self-importance, and self-righteousness. This is the main reason that we can’t coordinate harmoniously with others. Under the rule of the arrogant nature, when coordinating to serve with others, we always look down upon others, regard others as being less than ourselves, and feel that we are better than others and have an elevated understanding, and in everything we want to have the final say. So we often work alone willfully; no matter what we do, we are apt to act arbitrarily; even though we have discussion with others, we just go through the motions, because we have already decided to do this or that in our minds. Because of our arrogance and conceit, always holding on to our own opinions, then it’s hard for us to avoid producing the friction, estrangement and divergence with our co-workers.
So, we must pay attention to understanding our arrogance and conceit, and to knowing that our inner conceptions and illusions are not the truth, but come from our corrupt disposition and belong to Satan, and thus that we should not hold on to them but should betray and forsake them. What’s more, in everything we encounter, we should seek God’s intention, listen to others’ correct suggestions, and do the church’s work well according to God’s requirements. Only by this way can our coordination in service be after God’s intention and be blessed by God. Thesaid: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:3). If we can maintain a heart of humility and seeking, and learn others’ strengths with an open heart to make up for our weaknesses, then not only can we achieve harmonious coordination but we also can learn many lessons. Actually, when we argue with others because of the different opinions, if we consider their opinions carefully, we will discover that: they are not inferior, what they suggest also has vantage points and recommendation, and it’s just that we don’t draw in them with our heart; our understanding is not so good or brilliant. Those who are highly competitive and give in to vanity are arrogant and conceited. If we believe in ourselves too much and try hard to deny the other’s opinions, then it will seem too unreasonable.
2. If we want to achieve harmonious coordination, we must be able to face God and do the church’s work well, adhere to the principle of truth and dare to safeguard the church’s interest.
When two people do the church’s work together, on the one hand, they should accept the other’s correct suggestions and not live in accordance with the arrogant nature; on the other hand, they should seek after the principle of truth in everything, and should not get angry due to their prejudice against the other, ignoring the interest of the church. They should restrict each other and supervise each other, but it is absolutely not relying on temper and arrogance to do things. When discovering the other party does some things against the truth, they should dare to adhere to the principle and not be a “yes-man.” For example, when seeing the partner or others disturb or demolish the work of the church, which seriously impacts brothers’ and sisters’ entries into life, yet they just ignore it, and hold the attitude of “Let things drift if they do not affect one personally; keeping silent on the faults of good friends makes for a long and good friendship,” not considering the church’s work nor the lives of brothers and sisters. They just carry on with their own work, regarding the work of church as a game. Even if the interests of the church suffer losses, they don’t care about it and only focus on their own benefits. As long as their benefits are not infringed upon, they don’t care about the other things. Such people are selfish, they are not the faithful stewards of God, and they can never achieve harmonious coordination with others. If they do not turn themselves around in time, they will lose the work of the Holy Spirit, and fall into the darkness.
So, if we find what the co-workers do can make the church’s interests suffer losses, then we should stand on the side of the truth and must not give way. But if the co-workers have some foolish cooperation due to not understanding the principle of the truth, we shouldn’t be overly-critical, but instead, we should seek and fellowship with them, aiming for a common understanding and accomplishing God’s commission well. Then, such coordination is harmonious.
3. Coordinating harmoniously is for accomplishing God’s commission, complementing each other, and being built together.
In coordination in service, the error that we most easily make is that: Either we are arrogant and conceited, refusing to obey anyone, having no regard for anyone’s suggestion and only wanting others to obey us and keep pace with us, or we live in accordance with our selfish and contemptible nature—even though we see the partners have some problems, we are unwilling to practice the truth, only focusing on sustaining the fleshly relationship with them, and ignoring the church’s interest. Such coordination in service has no harmony, and if we coordinate like this, we will be rejected and eliminated sooner or later by the Holy Spirit. The purpose that God arranges for us to work together is to allow us to learn from each other, and unite in heart and mind to serve God. Only thus will the church be built, and will our spiritual life grow.
Think carefully, every work in the church is not something that a single person can accomplish; therefore, we must coordinate in service so that the work can achieve a good result. Because anyone of us is not perfect, and we all have many shortcomings and deficiencies, if we only rely on ourselves to do the work in coordination in fulfilling the duty, then we will not succeed in our work, and even sometimes, we will make mistakes and bring some losses to the church work. But if we can coordinate in service, our shortcomings will be made up for in varying degrees and some faults will be avoided, too. Just like in the Age of Law, Jehovah God let Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Because Moses was awkward in speech and couldn’t accomplish God’s commission by himself, God raised up Aaron to be his prophet. They two performed their respective duties and cooperated with each other, and in the end, they led the Israelites out of Egypt, completing God’s commission.
Just like when we perform our duties together in the church, one person is proficient in discovering the problems of the church and loopholes in the work, but his understanding of the truth is shallow, so after discovering the problems, he doesn’t know which aspect of the truth should be fellowshiped to solve them. At the same time, the other person is better in receiving God’s word and communicating the truth. If they two can work together, and give play to their own strengths and learn from each other, then not only will the problems in the church be solved but the lives of brothers and sisters will be edified, and they themselves also will learn lessons while working together. It is beneficial for the work of the church and our entries into life. If we all can care for God’s intention, and can, for the sake of the work of the church and of brothers’ and sisters’ entries into life, coordinate harmoniously and do our best, there must be God’s blessings accompanying with us: The life of the church becomes better and better; the whole church is one heart and there is an atmosphere of harmony and tension;can be carried out on us, and every work will always produce results. If we can always experience and enter like this, no matter whom we will work with, we can learn from each other, then we will gain a lot, and our lives will grow faster. Is this not God’s love and salvation for us?
After fellowshiping these, I asked my cousin, “Cousin, if we practice according to these principles, we won’t be worried about having no harmonious coordination, right?”
My cousin smiled and said, “Thank God! After your fellowship, my heart is perfectly clear and I also have the way. Later, if I’m once again unable to work with Sister Chen, I’ll pray to God, give up my arrogant nature, and seek the truth to solve my own problem. I and Sister Chen should also learn from each other, and offer a part of ourselves to build the church together.”
I nodded, also smiling happily …