LABORING ON CHRIST
What then is the life we need to enjoy the good land? It is a life first of all of laboring upon Christ. It is a life of making Christ our industry.
So much is said today about industry. People study many subjects for industry, they go into business for industry, and cities are planned for industry. Practically everything today is for industry. Nations are even competing with each other in the matter of industrial growth. There are many kinds of industries in the world, but we who are the Lord’s people living in the all-inclusive Christ should have one industry—Christ. Christ is our industry. We must labor upon Him.
Many today are students of science or engineering. Day by day they are delving into these matters and working upon them. They spend many hours of laborious study, experimentation, and even practice in these fields. But, please tell me, as a Christian, born of God, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and strengthened daily by resurrection power in your inner man, on what are you laboring? In other words, what is your business?
Wherever I go, I never like to tell people that I am a preacher. It may sound strange, but I feel shameful to make myself known to others in such a way. And I do not like to let people know that I am a so-called minister. It is really difficult for me to tell people my business. Many times when I am traveling by air or by train, someone sits beside me and asks me concerning my occupation. Sometimes I startle them by replying: “I am working on Christ! Christ is my job!” When they ask me what firm I am working for, I sometimes answer, “My firm is Christ Incorporated!” Then they usually ask what I mean by “Christ Incorporated.” I can only tell them that day by day I am working on Christ and that Christ Himself is my very business.
You who are students must realize and experience even while studying that you are working upon Christ. Christ is your industry. You who are truck drivers must realize that truck driving is not your real occupation; your real business is Christ; you must be working on Him continually. You who are housewives must know that your real work is not caring for your home and your family, but Christ! Are you working on Christ all the time? Are you seeking to enjoy Him and experience Him in every situation?
The life after the possession of the good land is a life of laboring upon Christ. It is a life of making Christ our industry and producing Him in mass production. We are working for “Christ Incorporated,” and day by day we are producing Christ. Many farmers are fruit growers and fruit producers. We are Christ growers and Christ producers. We are working diligently day and night on the farm of Christ. Yet we are working happily, and our work is such a rest to us.
Consider the people of Israel after they occupied the good land and all their enemies were subdued. What did they do? They simply labored on the land. They tilled the ground, sowed the seed, watered the plants, nurtured the vines, and pruned the trees. These were all necessary tasks for the enjoyment of that piece of land. It is a picture of how we must work diligently upon Christ that we may enjoy His all-inclusive riches. This is our business. Christ is our industry. We must work on Christ to produce His riches. We have seen how rich that good land is in so many aspects, but without laboring upon it, how could its riches be brought forth and abundantly produced? To have this rich Christ is one thing, but to continually labor upon Him is another.
What about today’s Christianity? Is it rich, or is it poor? We must confess that it is indeed poor. Christ is rich beyond measure, but the church today is groveling in poverty. Why? It is because the Lord’s children today are indolent. They will not exert themselves to labor upon Christ. Read the Proverbs written by that wise man, King Solomon. “How long, sluggard, will you lie there? / When will you arise from your sleep? / A little sleep, a little slumber, / A little folding of the hands to rest, / And your poverty will come upon you like a robber” (Prov. 6:9-11). How is it that America today is so rich? God indeed gave America an exceedingly rich land. But this is not the whole story. Many Americans have worked diligently upon this land to produce its riches, to bring forth its abundant wealth. We have to work; we cannot be lazy. What about most Christians today? They are too busy with their worldly industries, and they are too lazy in working upon Christ.
We must till our spiritual ground; we must sow the spiritual seed; we must water the spiritual plants—all the time. We cannot rely upon others to do it for us; we must do it ourselves, or it will never be done. Sisters, have you pray-read the Word this morning? Brothers, how many times have you contacted the Lord today? This is the situation. We do not cultivate Christ. We have a very rich land, but we do not work on it, so there is no produce. We are indeed rich in resource but poor in produce.
The Lord told His people that they must come together to worship Him at least three times a year: at the time of the Passover, at the time of Pentecost, and at the Feast of Tabernacles. And He told them that whenever they come together, they should in no wise come with their hands empty. They must bring something in their hands to Him, something of the produce of the good land. If they were lazy and did not work on the land, not only would they be unable to bring anything to the Lord, but they would have nothing to satisfy themselves; they would be hungry.
Brothers and sisters, we must realize that whenever we come to the meetings, whenever we come to worship the Lord, we should not come with our hands empty. We must come with our hands full of the produce of Christ. We have to labor upon Christ day by day so that we produce Him in mass production. We need more than just a little of Christ to satisfy our own needs. We must produce enough of Him so that there will be a surplus remaining for others, for the poor and for the needy: “You must open your hand to your brother, to the poor one with you and to the needy one with you in your land” (Deut. 15:11). There must also be a surplus to meet the needs of the priests and the Levites: “This shall be the priests’ rightful due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep: They shall give the priest the shoulder…You shall give him the firstfruits of your grain, of your new wine, and of your fresh oil, and the first shearing of your sheep” (18:3-4). And above all, the best of the surplus must be reserved for the Lord: “Then to the place where Jehovah your God will choose to cause His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I am commanding you, your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the heave offering of your hand and all your choice vows which you vow to Jehovah” (12:11). When they harvested the field, they were to reserve the firstfruits for the Lord. When the cattle were brought forth, the firstborn were for the Lord. We must labor diligently, not only to bring forth enough to satisfy our own needs but also to acquire a surplus to meet the needs of others, with the best reserved for the Lord. Then we will be acceptable to the Lord, and He will be pleased with us.
This is the life in the good land. It is a life in which we are continually laboring upon Christ, in which we are producing Him in a mass way. We are reaping so much of Christ that we are fully satisfied, and beyond that we have a surplus to share with others and to worship God. To worship God with Christ does not mean to worship Him individually but to worship Him collectively with all the children of God by enjoying Christ with one another and with God. When you come, you bring something of Christ. When he comes, he brings something of Christ. Everyone brings a portion of Christ from his laboring upon Him, and there is a rich enjoyment of Christ, not only by all the saints but most of all by God, to whom the best is offered. ( The All-inclusive Christ, Chapter 15, Witness Lee)