“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, ‘What do you wish?’ She said to Him, ‘Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered and said, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ So He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.’ And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’”
Today, I would like to focus on the passage that says, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.” Whenever we are entrusted with a certain task, we must be faithful to the task, or otherwise we should give it up so that someone else can take charge of it. This applies to every task.
Whoever wants to be first among us must serve the Lord. Zebedee had two sons, James and Andrew. Both of them were Jesus’ disciples, and one day their mother came to Jesus and asked Him to let her two sons sit at the Lord’s side, left and right, when His Kingdom comes to this earth—in other words, she was asking Jesus to grant prominent places to her sons. Our Lord then asked, “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” and they answered, “Yes, we can.” The Lord then said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and you will be persecuted and martyred for Me. But it is not up to Me to decide who sits on My side, but whoever prepared by My Father shall sit on My side.” Our Lord then explained Himself by using an example, illustrating His point through a parable. He said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”
Today, with this passage in mind, I would like to clarify how our saints throughout our churches in Korea should lead their lives of faith before the Lord. Commerce is a central feature of human affairs. Not only are venders engaged in commerce, but ordinary people are also engaged in various types of commercial transactions in everyday life. We the born-again have to live out our faith as if we were engaged in a trade.
Even when it comes to the life of faith, too many people prefer to be elevated than lowered, and they also want to be served rather than to serve. But our Lord said that it’s completely opposite in His Kingdom. As He said, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.” Of course, this passage should not be interpreted under some sort of carnal thoughts. Believers who are carnally minded tend to interpret this passage to mean that they should serve the faithless in carnal terms, but that is not what this passage means at all. This passage means that those who are truly elevated in the Kingdom of God are those who serve His gospel energetically and faithfully.
Many People Want to Be Heard
The human mind is such that everyone wants to be elevated, and the saints in this Church and God’s servants are no exception. Even when there are only two people gathered together, one of them inevitably wants to be higher than the other. So considering how people argue over who is higher than whom even when there are only two people, wouldn’t this tendency be even more accentuated when there are 40-50, 100, and 1,000 people gathered together? Everyone has the desire to be elevated from the rest. Yet even though this desire to be elevated is shared by everyone, few actually seek to serve the gospel faithfully regardless of whether they are treated well or not. While it is true that some people yearn to follow the gospel sincerely and sacrifice themselves to serve it, this is not necessarily the case for all, as many have relatively little desire to serve the Lord even though they all want to be elevated. Those who want to be elevated and be served by others, but do not serve others themselves, are very mistaken.
The Lord taught us about such mistakes in His Word of admonishment for His disciples. Our Lord is the head of God’s Church. Every creature and every man must praise our Lord as the most exalted of all. Since our Lord is the most exalted One in this entire universe, it is only a matter of fact for Him to be elevated. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are our God, but who should be glorified the most by us? It is Jesus Christ our Lord. Not only did He make us, but also He even gave up His life to save us. And He forsook the glory of Heaven. For the sake of His flock and for His people to be saved, He suffered shame, made every sacrifice, and gave everything He had.
Our Lord said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” And the Lord actually did this. But what kind of heart do our saints and God’s disciples have? Do their hearts really desire to serve rather than be served or do they want to be served? Those people whose faith is mature want to serve sinners. Those who have true faith serve others with self-sacrifice. But this is not the case for those whose faith is young—indeed, the more immature one’s faith is, the more he wants to be served. Such people seek to be elevated and treated well no matter what. If you are invited to a church celebration, and you want to sit at the place of honor and be treated and served well, then it’s a sign indicating that your faith is immature. It shows that you are still carnally minded and that as far as your faith is concerned, you are behind everyone.
Those who are immature want to be served unconditionally. When they are not served against their wish, they grumble and whine, constantly complaining about their treatment and caring about only themselves. One of their characteristics is their tendency to believe that everyone is there to serve them, from their parents to those around them, and even the whole world.
However, once they grow up and mature, they eventually prefer to serve than to be served. What do they like to serve? They are glad and pleased to serve the gospel for its sake, for the Kingdom of God, and for this Kingdom to come and the gospel to be spread. So they are rejoiced to serve in various ways, whether with their bodies or time, physically or spiritually. The more one’s faith has matured, the more he wants to serve than be served.
This is what is manifested by the Holy Spirit dwelling in the hearts of those with mature faith. If you really want to have mature faith and become advanced in faith, then you should realize that you must serve rather than be served. All the servants of God who preceded us did so. Just as Jesus was rejoiced to serve, so were all His twelve disciples pleased to serve. Not only these twelve disciples of Jesus, but all your predecessors of faith gave up everything to live for the flock and offered everything for the sake of souls. That is how they eventually became your leaders, and while they are sometimes served by you, they still remain servants of the gospel. They are not serving you, but they are serving the Lord. They still continue to exist as the Lord’s servants.
You really must be someone whose faith is mature and who wants to serve rather than be served. You can then become a man of faith. It’s when you become such a person that you are able to learn about faith, know God’s heart, and realize the Word of Truth. A servant is truly rejoiced and happy with the gospel. Someone who does not serve, on the other hand, is always complaining and grumbling. Such people are annoyed by the work of the church, judge its progress all on their own, and want to be served even more. While this is mostly due to their immature faith, if they continue to be like this even after a considerable time has gone by, then they must examine their hearts, realize their erroneous hearts, and turn around.
The heart of Jesus Christ is fundamentally a humble heart, a heart of service. So our Lord has also given this heart to you and me also. The problem, however, is that we still have the lingering desire to elevate ourselves. Even in our church, some members of the women’s fellowship claim to be ahead of others as they were saved earlier than the others, and so they say either directly or indirectly, that others should listen to them and serve them more. Actually, even the disciples used to quarrel among themselves over who was the head. Peter would say, “I am old. If there is anyone among you who has followed the Lord as completely, boldly, and closely as I have, let him step forward.” James would then say, “I am young, but how are you so different from me? Wherever you went, didn’t I always go as well?” John would also say, “I am the youngest here, but Jesus still loves me the most and I’ve always followed Him wherever He went.” The other disciples, such as Andrew, Philip, and Nathaniel, would then think to themselves, “It’s so ridiculous! Are they better than us? These three disciples always go around in a tight group and claim to assist Jesus, but how can they be our leaders when they ignore us so much? We, too, can do what they are doing.”
Perhaps the disciples quarreled like this here because Zedebee’s sons brought their mother into the picture. Since they couldn’t bring themselves to speak to Jesus, they did so through their mother. Like these disciples, when our sisters are gathered together, there are times when they quarrel over their seats, rather than thinking about how they could serve the gospel by faith for the sake of the Lord. Some people sometimes say, “I was saved prior to that person. So why is that person treated as being ahead of me?” Even worse, some people serve with a calculating mind, thinking, “That person is so thoughtless! It’s all good to serve the Lord, but one should be smart about it. Why does that person serve Him like this? Won’t he run out of his everything soon, if he keeps serving like this? What is he going to do when he runs out of his everything?” I haven’t actually seen such people with my own eyes. But I can see it happening even with my eyes closed.
I am not speaking about some material concept here. Don’t misunderstand me as if I were exalting those who contribute a lot of money to the church. I am just saying that there are some believers who follow the Lord with a calculating mind. Some people, while they do follow the Lord, are constantly calculating about the pros and cons, asking themselves, “Should I now step forward or not?” There are surprisingly many people who follow the Lord based on their calculations. It’s the faith of a vendor to follow the Lord with such calculations. A vendor’s faith is one that follows the Lord from afar, and as such, it is a faith that will die away in the end.
Isn’t It True That the Things of the Lord Are Ours and Vice Versa?
Someone who follows the Lord with the belief that what is the Lord’s is his, and what is his is the Lord’s, is someone who is truly ahead. Such people can possess many things, manage and enjoy everything the Lord has, and serve the Lord energetically. Indeed, whoever is a man of faith must have this kind of heart. I know that when our adult brothers gather together, no one says, “I was saved before you; you were saved after me.” Of course, none of the members of our Adult Gathering actually say such things. It’s not only impossible, but no one has ever said so. I haven’t heard them say so, and I am not sure that any of them are that proud of their faith career.
My fellow believers, who is actually the highest among our brothers and sisters of all ages, from the Adult Gathering to the Youth Gathering and the Sunday School, and among all our workers, men and women alike? Regardless of what positions and departments they are working at, those who offer themselves for the gospel of the Lord, follow Him wholeheartedly, and serve Him with all their lives—these people are the exalted ones. Who is older than whom or who was saved before whom is not what’s important. What is the most precious faith? It is one that is grateful for the Lord’s salvation and the gospel that has washed away our sins with the water and the Spirit, one that is united with this gospel because we are rejoiced to serve the Lord. This desire and this faith to dedicate your heart to the spreading of the gospel, to go wherever the Lord goes, to dwell wherever the Lord dwells, and to thus walk with the Lord—this is a precious faith.
Whether you were saved long ago and only recently, whether you are old or young, whether you are rich or not, and whether you are meritorious or not based on the standard of this world—none of these things matters in God’s Church. In the true Kingdom of God, those who live for the Lord are the exalted ones, and those who live for the gospel and serve it are the greatest and highest. That is why we must not let our eyes be carnally oriented. For our ministry workers as well, they must not argue over who is higher than whom in their gatherings. I believe that the really great ones in God’s Church are those who truly offer their bodies to the Lord without any ulterior motives even though they have no possessions to offer, who dedicate themselves to the Lord regardless of wherever they may find themselves, and who want to live for the gospel and serve the Lord for its sake. They are the workers who desire to serve the Lord and His gospel with evermore joy. I am absolutely sure that just because someone was saved before others or was raised to be a worker before anyone else, this does not mean that he is a great person in faith.
I am impartial to myself also. If I really live for the Lord and the gospel, then I call myself an exalted man, but if I try to live for myself rather than the gospel, then I admit that I am a lowly man. That is the law of the Kingdom of God. Those who have truly been born again know each other without even saying anything. They recognize exactly whether one is spiritual or not without uttering any words, as they see each other eye to eye. No words are necessary. They know all about each other because minds are on the same page. Who then is the last among us? What kind of people has the most immature faith in each of our divisions? Those who only want to be served and those who pretend to serve the Lord with a calculating mind even as they don’t actually serve Him—these are the least of the least.
How do I then know these things? You may think to yourself, “Pastor Jong must know something about my mind.” Yes, I do know how your heart is. It’s because my eyes can somehow see through your heart that I know it. But I know nothing that’s manifested superficially. I truthfully have no idea whether you’ve made offerings or not, and if you have, how much you’ve offered. While a few things under my management come to my attention inadvertently, I don’t know about the rest. I don’t know whether you are serving or not with your material possessions, nor do I know who offered how much. We have two brothers overseeing church accounting and finances, and when these two brothers report to me, they only report the overall breakdown of offerings and expenses, not the individual figures showing which saint offered how much. There is no way for me to find this out nor do I even want to know it. But even though I do not know these things, I can still tell if someone is really rejoiced to serve the gospel by faith.
None of our brothers ever says to me, “Brother so-and-so contributed this much offerings.” I only hear them reporting, “We’ve received this much from pledge offerings, this much for literature ministry, and this much from thanksgiving offerings. The total contribution is so-and-so amount and the tithe that will be sent to the Mission is this much.” Nothing else is reported to me. No one ever reports which saint and which worker offered how much. Such things have been done ever since our church was founded.
While we don’t keep such detailed accounts on this earth, they are kept in the Kingdom of God. In other words, although no one judges you based on your offerings, whatever you give is written in your heart and in the ledger of God. What is important is that you offer your contributions by faith not based on any calculation. In other words, God knows all about whether you are serving Him by faith or not. Serving the Lord by a shrewd, vendor-like faith that wavers depending on your own circumstances is different from serving the Lord by real faith. I ask you not to turn this church into a marketplace. Such things are never tolerated in God’s Church. The Bible mentions a widow who offered two mites to the Lord, but it says that this tiny offering was greater than any other offering. Like this, God looks at the weight of your heart. He never looks at the weight of your material offerings.
The Lord looks at your heart, not just your acts. Those who want to serve the Lord out of their sincere hearts with whatever they have can testify as the following: “It was impossible for me to serve the Lord under my circumstances, but as I set my mind on serving the Lord with my whole heart, He gave me what I needed to serve Him. I serve the Lord because of what I have now, and whatever I have now was all given to me by the Lord.” Those who are really living by faith have testimonies in them.
However, there are others who serve the Lord with a very calculating mind. They are so calculating and shrewd, but serving the Lord unwillingly rather than by faith is completely useless. How hard is it to make money in this world? I myself know this very well. But even so, if you donate your money to serve the Lord only reluctantly, then this is beneficial to no one. Offerings made in this way are not only unbeneficial to the church, but if the church relies purely on such offerings, then it will run out of finances shortly. The harder it was for you to make your money, the more it should be spent on the most precious endeavor—that is, it should be offered to the Lord. That is how your money is best spent. What is offered to the Lord is not begrudged. It is never a waste.
Take a look at the woman who brought an alabaster jar of very precious fragrant oil to Jesus and poured it on His head. When people around her saw this, they said to her, “Why are you wasting such a precious thing? You poured the whole jar on Jesus’ head, and now the oil is dripping from His head to His face and his garments. You’ve ruined His clothes and hair. Not only did you wash His head with the oil, but you also put it all over his feet, and so now even the ground is soaked with the oil. What a waste!” However, the Lord said that what the woman did was not a waste. The alabaster jar of fragrant oil was this woman’s dowry, and yet she had poured it on Jesus. To purchase this alabaster jar in those days, a man would have to work for the whole year and save every penny of his earnings. So you can imagine just how hard this woman must have worked to save that money. Yet she poured it on the Lord unsparingly and the Lord said that wherever the gospel is preached, her faith would be told as a memorial to her.
If we hesitate and quiver when we offer our material possessions to the Lord, then we are making a really big mistake. Also, since everyone’s circumstances are different, not everyone serves the Lord with his material possessions in the same way. While some people offer their material possessions to serve the Lord, others who are unable to do this serve the Lord with his body and labor. The desire to serve the Lord by faith in anyway possible and actually serving Him with whatever one has and whatever he has received from the Lord by asking Him by faith—that is the real faith. Some people offer themselves to the Lord as they have nothing else to offer.
However, if your heart desires to be served in the church rather than to serve, then this heart shows that your faith is the last. This kind of faith is the least of all faith. Some people who have just been saved also want to serve the Lord, and they do indeed serve Him earnestly. On the other hand, there are others who, even though it’s been a long time since they first received the remission of sin, have little faith. In the Kingdom of God, it’s very evil and wicked to desire only to be served in the church, to avoid work in anyway possible, and to try to reap as much harvest with as little effort as possible. That is a sin. Are you now wondering, “Is Pastor Jong saying these things with some sort of plan in mind, to ask us to make pledge offerings?” No, I don’t have any ulterior motive here. Every plan for the first half of this year was already implemented. So I won’t be planning anything for the second half until after the end of the Summer Discipleship Training Camp. I have no plans right now. I am just speaking my mind here. The desire to be served is a sin.
Going through trials in life is what builds your character. Without experiencing any hardship, you can’t become a decent human being. Because human beings are fundamentally selfish, they all need to build their character through hardship. Someone who grew up with life’s difficulties knows hardship, learns the wisdom to endure through this hardship, appreciates other people’s trials, helps them and teaches them how to overcome their difficulties wisely, and does not give up so easily. On the other hand, someone who has lived like a princess under constant protection and without knowing any hardship not only has no consideration for others, but even problematically her heart wants to be served all the time. How could we allow our hearts to be like this? If we have received the remission of sin, then we must recognize our Lord. So even though we have nothing, we want to offer at least our hearts to the Lord. Whenever we actually have something with which to serve the Lord, we offer it to Him. If there is nothing to offer no matter how hard we look, then we offer ourselves and our time. That is what serving the Lord is all about. You must have the desire to do whatever you can for the Lord and to serve the Lord in any way possible.
How can you let your heart have no desire to serve, but only to be served? Just how wicked is this? Such believers’ faith is the worst of all. They rank last in their faith.
The Lord Wants to Clothe Us in God’s Glory
It is not to be served by us that the Lord has saved us. Rather it is to serve us, to make us God’s people, and to clothe us in glory that the Lord has saved. The Lord really has done so.
When we serve the Lord, we, too, must cast aside the tendency to measure everything with some worldly standards. It’s very worldly and very wrong to work hard only if someone says something to you or someone is watching you, but slacking off when no one is watching. Regardless of whether anyone is watching or not, if you really have faith in God, and if you really desire to serve the Lord, then you are bound to offer everything. I keep speaking about material possessions, but I do this because one’s attachment to his material possessions is the barometer of his heart. As it is written in the Bible, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21), one’s heart is fully revealed through his material attachments. In ordinary times, it’s not easy for his heart to be exposed. But it’s quite different when it comes to things that are related to materials. When one is facing some situation where his material interest is at stake, his true intentions are revealed without fail. It doesn’t matter what he may say. His true colors are revealed through his material attachments.
From now on, don’t just say vaguely, “Since the church is engaged in this work, I’ll pray for it, but it really isn’t any of my business.” Don’t be indifferent to what the church is planning to do. The people of faith should think about what they can do for this plan. And they should also pray in detail for the work of God by faith. In other words, when the Church is engaged in a certain work, you should think, “What’s my part? What can I do?” You shouldn’t ignore what the church is doing and just think, “I don’t care what the church may or may not do. It’s all someone else’s work, not mine. I am not responsible for it. I should just carry on with my usual business, going to work, dealing with my own affairs, attending church, and raising my family. Whatever the church may do, it’s up to the few ministers; it’s none of my business.”
Instead, whenever the church does anything, you should think, “Oh, I want to participate in that work and contribute my share. That’s only a matter of fact. What should I do then? What can I do? Should I offer financial contributions, my time, or my abilities? Or should I offer my prayers? What should I do? Should I participate in this work with my manual labor?” It’s not right for you to think, “Whatever the church does is its work, and whatever I do is my work.”
The mayor of Chuncheon City announced that he plans to turn the city into an animation center. For whom are such projects pursued? It’s all for the citizens to make money. It’s to create economic gains through this venture that the mayor is trying to form an animation town in Chuncheon City and advertising it all over the world. It will be very helpful to our ministry because we are thinking of publishing some comic books that contain the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
By the way, if the church were to decide to spread the gospel through comic books, then everyone who can draw cartoons must come together. Some people might say, “But I am not good at drawing. I don’t have any gift in drawing cartoons. I have no gift whatsoever, zero! I would be helping just by not going anywhere near anyone drawing cartoons. I will just ruin it for him simply by standing beside him. I’ll end up spilling the ink and ruining everything, and so don’t even think about calling me to draw comic strips!”
But is it right to think like this? Others might think, “What should I do? I can’t draw comic strips, and so should I buy coloring pens for the drawers? Should I buy papers? Should I run errands? Or should I clean the studio after the day’s work is done? Should I participate in this work with my financial support? Or pray for it? What should I do?” Which of these two thoughts is right then? Before God, the right disposition is to ask the church to assign you with anything you can do to contribute to what the Church is endeavoring to achieve.
Just how much work do we have to do to serve the gospel? From our overseas ministry to literature translation and Internet ministry, don’t we have so much work to do? Then we all clearly have something that each of us must do. Those who can work should offer their bodies to labor, those who can provide financial support should serve the gospel ministry with their contributions, and those who pray should continue to pray for our ministry. It’s only when there are such people that God’s work is achieved. Then all of us, as well as every arm of the church, must each think about how we should serve the gospel and what we should do for this end, for serving the gospel is not done by oneself alone, but it requires us to pool all our strengths together. How could a few people achieve such things? If we have any desire to serve the church’s work, then we will come to participate in it, and if we do this, our lives will never be in poverty.
My fellow believers, regardless of how rich or poor we may be, if we each offer even the smallest amount to partake in the work of serving the gospel, then this gospel work will indeed be accomplished. For those with little material possession and facing difficult financial circumstances, they can offer their time, their bodies, and their prayers. And those whose hearts are set to offer their material possessions must think, “This is how much I am spending for my family’s living expenses, and so I should tighten the belt a bit and use the savings to serve the gospel. “Given the constraints of my income, I should try to restrain my spending to necessities and save as much as possible, and offer the saving to this worthy cause.” Like this, some people tighten their belts to offer more to God. That’s how we should live. No matter what, we must serve God and participate in this work of serving the gospel.
For our faith to grow, we must dedicate our hearts to serving the gospel. Whether we can work well or not is secondary; the first thing that we must do is to offer our hearts to the Lord by doing the best of our abilities. If we live according to our own circumstances, rather than dedicating our hearts to serving the gospel, then it will indeed be impossible for us to serve the gospel. Do you think that you will live just fine without offering your heart to serving the gospel? Far from this, it will be a struggle for you to just keep your body alive.
We must dedicate our hearts to the gospel. Then the more our faith grows, the more we will come to serve the Lord. The growth of our faith means that we have that much more to serve. What then happens when we have more to serve? Our bottom is exposed. When your faith grows, you will want to serve even more, but what happens then? When you see how much you have to serve, and yet how little you have, you will eventually come to pray to God “Lord, make me serve You more. Help me so that I may serve you more.” Thus, when you come to pray to God and exercise your faith, your faith will grow, God will give you more, and so you will have a man of great possession even though you may seem to have little. God is bound to give more to those who serve Him more. And it’s because you receive more from God that you are also bound to serve Him even more. Your faith will then grow more, you will want to serve the Lord more, and out of this desire you will indeed serve Him more. And when you serve the Lord, God will give you even more, and you will then become the first. In other words, those who serve more for the Lord and the gospel, abide with the Lord, the Head of our Church, and they will indeed become the nearest to the Lord.
The Apostle Paul said, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Everything is contained in this passage. Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we must do all for the glory of God. While this passage is not specific, doesn’t it still speak of everything with all its implications? As the Bible tells us that whatever we do, whether we eat or drink, we must do everything for the glory of God; faith is the only thing that matters in our lives as the righteous.
My fellow believers, we must indeed become people of mature faith. Our faith must grow. Rather than desiring to be served, we must volunteer our services to the Lord. We must become the kind of people who serve more and more. The logic of the world is clear: if you spend ten out of ten, you will have nothing left. But we have experienced different things in the Kingdom of the Lord. If we offer five to the Lord and live with the remaining five, the Lord will fill us with another ten. We will then want to offer seven out of ten to the Lord and live on the remaining three, but we will realize that we can actually live more prosperously now than when we had lived with five. That’s because the Lord fills us even more on top of our pure faith.
It is in this context that the miracle of five loaves and two fish was performed. Likewise, with the story of the widow in Zarephath in the days of Elisha, the Bible also tells us that it is on faith that God’s blessings are bestowed. This widow had served God’s servant with a handful of flour and a little oil in a jar, but until the famine was over, the bin of flour was not used up and the jar of oil did not run dry. The widow had so little flour left that when she kneaded it and baked it into biscuits, there was barely enough for her and her son to each eat one. But even so, she used this last bit of flour to serve the servant of God first and the Bible writes that because of this, she was able to feed her son and herself, and the bin of flour did not run out until the end of the famine (1 Kings 17:11-16). She had clearly served God’s servant first. But I am not saying that you should all serve me. Rather, I raise this story to remind you that because the widow had believed in God and served His servant even though she herself was in a dire situation hardly able to feed herself, God blessed her house and provided for her needs. That’s why her bin of flour never ran out.
My fellow believers, if only you have the desire to serve the gospel, then you can indeed serve the gospel more than enough. If only our hearts are set, we are more than able to accomplish this work of spreading the gospel through comic books. You never know, we may even capture the whole comic book industry, and cover the entire world with the gospel through our comic books. If only you and I have the heart’s desire to serve, then we can serve the gospel more than enough with God’s blessings. The problem is the lack of desire. It’s not as if the Lord has closed the road, but He has opened it wide for us. It’s only because we have no desire that we are unable to embark on this road. If only our hearts have the desire to work, then even if we have no gift, God will make the people of the world help us and bring our work to completion.
Indeed, what’s important is our hearts. What is important is to have the desire to serve the Lord. This desire to serve rather than be served is what’s really important. Those who want to serve the Lord regardless of how much they have tried their best to reduce what they spend on themselves as much as possible and offer the rest to God. In contrast, those who want to be served only think about how they can spend even more on themselves. Someone whose heart desires to serve the Lord indeed serves Him under all circumstances, and God fills him even more so than he would be able to serve Him more.
Someone who wants to be served never has enough, even though he struggles constantly to improve his lot and does everything in his means to invest all the money in himself. This is the difference of the realm of faith, and if you have really received the remission of your sins and become a man of faith, then you must desire to grow your faith. So first of all, you must then pray for your faith to grow. It’s when your faith grows that your heart desires to serve the Lord more, and that is how you actually become someone who serves the gospel. All of us must become those who want to serve more and more. Do not think to yourself, “I’ve done enough. I’ve served this much, and so it’s my turn to be served now, not to serve. All those behind me are the ones who should serve the gospel, not me.” Those who were saved before others must follow the Lord even more and those who have put on more grace in the church, who have abided in it longer, must serve even more. Precisely because their faith has grown that much, they must serve that much more.
Such is the Kingdom of God. You and I are both servants of the Lord. We are both God’s people. Since all of us are living for the Lord, we are of those who have offered the materials of this world, this body of ours and everything else to the Lord. If we were to spend everything on ourselves and calculate our every step with our own interest in mind, when will we ever serve the Lord? When will we carry out the work of the gospel? When will we spread the gospel through comic books, when will we evangelize the world, when we will bear witness to our fellow Koreans, and when we will preach the gospel to our own families? If you do everything you want to do for yourself, you will never be able serve the Lord. In other words, someone who serves the Lord cannot do everything he wants to do for himself.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t even buy any clothes. Some people serve the Lord faithfully even when they wear nice clothes and spend a lot of money, while others don’t serve the Lord at all even when they act as if they don’t do anything to gratify themselves. The issue at hand is of the heart, not of some visible phenomena.
God has given you various gifts. He has fostered your circumstances ideally so that you may be able to serve Him in whatever way, whether with your material possessions or your body. However, someone who does not serve the Lord with anything at all, neither with his body, nor with his material possessions, nor with his prayers and thoughts, absolutely refuses to serve no matter what. When we contrast such people to those who serve the Lord faithfully even unto their death, we can see clearly that these people are not upright at all. It’s not right for those who have small faith to stop exercising whatever little faith they have. As a well dries out eventually when water is not drawn out of it for a long time, so will your little faith run dry if you do not exercise it in God’s Church.
My fellow believers, I ask you to break yourself down in the church. And I ask you to shatter your own thoughts. You can never lead your life of faith with your own thoughts. That’s simply impossible. What the Word of God says is what’s important. The Word of God said, “He who wants to be the first must be a servant.” Whose servant? He must be a servant of the Lord. No matter how meritorious you may be, if your heart does not cherish the Lord, then you cannot become His servant. No matter how anyone may be smart and bright in worldly affairs, if he has no desire to cherish the Lord then he is not a servant of God.
Is Anyone Who Has Graduated from a Seminary a Servant of the Lord Automatically ?
Does anyone become a servant of God just by accumulating enough formal education? Does he become the Lord’s servant just by graduating from a seminary, a graduate school, and taking and passing some test? No, that’s not the case. Someone who cherishes the Lord, who cares for His gospel, who accepts His Word, who follows Him, and who denies Himself, picks up his cross, and follows the Lord—that is a true servant of the Lord. Do you think just anyone can become one of the Lord’s servants? A servant of the Lord is actually far higher than anyone wielding secular power in this world. He is far more exalted because he is a servant of God. No one in this world is even comparable to the servants of God.
My fellow believers, we must throw away the desire to be served. We should desire to be the people of faith who like to lend their blessings rather than borrow money from someone else owing to their unbelief, as the Apostle Paul said, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35). Rather than committing frauds to borrow money from our neighbors in anyway possible just to ensure our own survival, we should be lenders, saying to others, “Do you have no money? I will lend you this money to start a business. Just pay me back the principal; you don’t have to pay any interest.”
My fellow believers, we must have this abundant and rich heart that’s set on the Lord. For us the born-again, our hearts themselves must be rich. The Apostle Peter proclaimed, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Those who have strong faith in the Lord can stand firm and proceed boldly like a young lion. Our whole hearts must be filled by the Lord. In our entire Church, anyone who doesn’t serve the Lord is ranked the last in his faith.
Although we don’t have that many specific offices established in our church, strictly speaking, there still are invisible offices and order. Few churches have clearly defined offices as our church does. Compared to us, worldly churches have many more offices. One of them is deaconship, and the word itself means someone who takes care of the house, and so a deacon is a servant and a slave. Of course, we the born-again are not just ordinary servants, but we are the Master’s caretakers who are close to Him, who know His everything, and who establish His Kingdom together with Him. In other words, we are not just lowly servants who stand at the gate to greet visitors or carry loads, but we are such servants who are close to the Master, who know His will, and who are participating in building His Kingdom. Because we are servants building the Kingdom of the Lord, when this Kingdom is established, we will assume its highest offices as our rewards.
Because inside our hearts is the Kingdom of God, we must have a great faith. Because our whole hearts must really be set on the Lord, we must cast aside any love for the world. If our hearts have love for this world, it means that the Lord is not there, but if we cast aside our love for the world, the Lord will automatically fill our hearts. We ought to become servants of the Lord. How could we instead want to be served? We should become those who give something to beggars, not the other way around, turning into beggars ourselves. Nowadays, when I go to downtown, I see some disabled people without legs crawling around and begging in the streets all in the name of Jesus. I am ashamed whenever I see such people. It’s hard for me to have pity on them, as they invoke the name of Jesus only to live as beggars, put the name of the Lord in shame, and undermine the dignity of all the other Christians. Of course, any help that you give to such people would also be done to the Lord, but how can a Christian allow himself to turn into a beggar?
My fellow believers, you must have a great faith and you must expand the width of your faith. It is those who broaden their minds, have more faith, and serve more who are blessed. How can you, even after being born again, still keep the tiny vessel that you had before you were born again? When you say to Jesus, “Lord, please fill my vessel,” then your vessel will be filled with just a couple of drops. Is this really enough? No matter how large our vessels may be, would our Lord be unable to fill them? The Lord is more than able to fill all our vessels. The problem is on our end, for we just bring tiny vessels of faith that are smaller than a side dish, asking the Lord to fill them and living on these tiny vessels everyday. It’s so frustrating for me to see this.
You should have a broad mind and a big vessel of faith to desire to serve the Lord. If you bravely decide to serve the Lord, then God will fill you with His many blessings. God will make it possible for your faith to grow, for you to make a lot of money, and your gains to be exceedingly great. Yet despite this, you fret about your tiny vessel, hesitating whether to pour its half or not, worried what might happen if you offered it. Since your vessel itself is too small, you think that it’s not enough to spend it all for yourself no matter how full it may be. But how can you then serve the Lord enough out of such a tiny bowl of faith?
Broaden your mind and grow your faith. If you say to the Lord, “God, I can’t live with such a tiny thing. Give me more. Give me big things,” then the Lord will fill you more. When you thus grow your faith more and more asking the Lord for big things, you will be able to serve the Lord more and you yourself will live an abundant life. All of us must therefore grow our faith. For us to grow our faith, our hearts must desire to serve more. Faith does not grow just by trying; rather, it’s when we grow our desire to serve that faith grows alongside.
Worldly people are happy to make just $2,000 a month. There are such people who are satisfied to make just $2,000 a month, driving around a mid-sized sedan confident of themselves. These people’s entire lives are worth only $2,000. In contrast, my fellow believers, we can make our lives worth millions and billions of dollars by praying, “Lord, I want to serve You even more.” When those who yearn to serve more live by faith, they don’t turn into such penny-pinching misers, and so I admonish you to make more use of your faith and desire to serve the Lord even more. For someone whose faith is ranked the last, his life itself is also ranked the last. This life must be lived in tears everyday, all beat up and wretched. Do you think there is any difference to being ranked the last in faith and the last in life? Do you think that it’s possible for your life to be ranked the first but your faith to be ranked the last? No, anyone whose faith is ranked the last is also ranked the last when it comes to his life. At least that’s how it is in the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, we should all ask ourselves, “How can I serve the Lord? What can I do to please the Lord? How can I faithfully carry out His entrusted task? What should I do to accomplish the Lord’s work?” It’s for this purpose that we must live. Whatever we do, whether we eat or drink, you and I must each do everything for the purpose of serving the Lord and His gospel.
Someone who is content to just eat, drink, and sleep everyday, and who has no worries about what to eat and drink, has a faith that’s as small as a penny, and therefore that’s all that he serves the Lord. So it’s impossible for him to become rich. Once born in this world, you should live a rich life, and while you may not live in a huge mansion, you should at least have a nice place to call your own home and enjoy the good life. If instead you were to just work yourself to death everyday, barely make enough money to feed yourself, or sometimes even have to go hungry, isn’t this kind of life too wretched? You only live once, and so I admonish you to live with great ambitions and boldness, rather than living so miserly like this everyday from the lack of faith. If only you have faith, you will experience how God provides for all your needs.
Are you a righteous person or not? You are indeed a righteous person. Given the fact that you are a righteous person and a child of God, would it be His will for you to live a penny-pinching and wretched life in this world? No, of course not! Therefore if you want your heart to have faith and serve the Lord, and if you dedicated your heart to the gospel and the work of the Lord, then seeing what you are doing before His eyes, God will provide for all your needs. If your heart is disposed to say, “Lord, I want to do Your work faithfully,” then even if your circumstances are not suitable, God will change them so that you may be able to serve Him. In other words, God will provide a certain impetus for you to carry out many works of faith. Why should we then live so miserly? Since you were born in this world once, shouldn’t you travel around the world, try its different cuisines, and see and experience the various customs, sceneries, and cultures that the world offers? And shouldn’t you live for righteousness? Let us indeed all live like this. Don’t just listen to my sermon and end it there; if you have really received the remission of your sins, then the right thing to do is to apply this principle of how to grow your faith to your life.
We all need to ponder the following questions: “What’s wrong with my faith? Do I really desire to live for the Lord? Sure, I’ve been saved, but I am still living in my flesh, just thinking about what to eat, what to drink, and what to wear?” If you are worried about what to eat, what to drink, and what to wear, then you cannot serve the Lord. Far from it, you will wake up with these worries every morning and live your entire life under their weight. You will be constantly worried, wondering, “What should I eat today? What should I drink? What should I wear? I have no clothes. My refrigerator is empty. What am I going to do?”
Our Lord said, “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30) And He went on to say, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Our Lord promised us that He will give us everything. Do you want to live your life always worried about what to eat everyday? Now we should desire to become people of faith who serve the gospel even more and we must actually become so. Broaden your mind and live for the Lord and the gospel. God will then make you live in abundant prosperity. Do you believe in this? That’s why I am admonishing you to live by faith. I am fundamentally different from the fraudulent pastors in worldly churches who say, “If you sell your house and offer it to the Lord, you will have two houses,” all just to increase their own church finances. Do you think that that’s why I am ministering? No, please don’t look at me as if I were such a cheapskate. I have never said to you a single word that is not of faith or any word that would lead you to your destruction.
The way for you and I to prosper is to serve the Lord. To seek His Kingdom and His righteousness is the way for us to receive blessings. His Kingdom is established by preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And to lead everyone on this earth to receive the remission of sin and become a child of God is to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. God is telling you and me to live for Him, for what is right.
Let us therefore all live for His Kingdom and His righteousness. Halleluiah!