THE EXPERIENCE OF BARLEY
But is this the end? No! Praise the Lord, following the wheat is the barley. The tomb was not the end of the Lord. He was resurrected! Barley followed the wheat! Wheat is the valley of death, but barley is the mountain of resurrection. Whenever you experience Christ as the wheat, be assured that an experience of Christ as the barley will follow.
Actually, in order to experience Christ as the grain of wheat, the limited Jesus, we must apply Him as the barley, as the resurrected Christ. It is the resurrected Christ who is living in us. This resurrected Christ possesses a life which has passed through incarnation, crucifixion, and burial, but He Himself today is the resurrected One. Christ in the flesh is always limited, but Christ in resurrection is unlimited and released. It is this unlimited Christ living in us that causes us to follow the limited Jesus. Today we are following the limited Jesus, but we do it in the power of the unlimited Christ. The unlimited Christ living within us is our enablement.
Let me ask you, when you are in your home or at your job, do you act as the resurrected Christ or as the limited Jesus? If you are a follower of Jesus, you have to be limited. When Jesus was on earth, He was always limited, limited by His flesh, limited by His family, limited by His mother in the flesh and even by His brothers in the flesh. He was always limited. He was limited by space and limited by time; He was limited by everything. If we would live out the life of Jesus, we must also be limited. If we follow His steps, we will have no freedom, no liberty. What a blessing that we can be limited for the sake of Jesus!
But what is the energy for us to be limited? The strength enabling us to be limited must indeed be great. It is easy to be angry, but patience requires strength. It is easy to lose our temper, but longsuffering demands the energy of heaven. The power which enables us to be limited is the power of His resurrection. I need the resurrected Christ living in me in order to be strengthened for just a little patience. To apply the resurrected Christ as my patience is to experience Christ as the barley.
Perhaps you will say to me, “Brother, I know I have to be limited all the time. I must be limited by my wife, by my children, by my boss, by the brothers, and especially by a certain brother. I am limited by this, and I am limited by that; all day I am limited. And I expect tomorrow and the next day to be worse. How can I meet the situation? I realize that the resurrected Christ is living in me, but I have so little of Him. I don’t even have five loaves; I just have one loaf.” Yes, you may only have one loaf, but remember, it is a barley loaf, it is a loaf of the resurrected Christ who can never be limited. It seems that you just have a little, but it does not matter, because He has no limitation. A little is more than adequate to meet the situation. You say you cannot meet the situation. Right! You surely cannot. But there is One who can—the One who is the barley. A barley loaf is within you; a little bit of the resurrected Christ is in you— that is good enough. The resurrected Christ is unlimited. Apply Him to the situation. He can never be exhausted. By the power of the resurrected Christ you can follow the steps of the incarnated Jesus. With the life of the resurrected Christ, you can live out the life of the limited Jesus.
Sometimes a brother says, “Oh, I feel burdened to give a testimony, but I am so weak!” It seems that the need is for five thousand people to be fed, but the supply is only five loaves of barley. Nevertheless, you have to go ahead by faith. Though your portion is seemingly so small and the demand is so great, you must realize that what you have is nothing less than the resurrected Christ. You can do all things by Him who strengthens you, because He is resurrected and knows no limit. Apply Him!
When a brother comes to see you, remember that Christ is within you as the barley. You have to apply Him in your fellowship with this brother. Sometimes you just forget this. When you meet the brother, you talk about Vietnam, about the world situation, or about the weather. You remember the weather, but you forget Christ. You fail to apply Christ in your fellowship with the brother. When he leaves, you feel hungry, and not only hungry, but sick—sick from not applying Christ. You have to grasp every situation as an opportunity to apply Christ. Apply Him and apply Him and apply Him. Then when you come to the meeting, it will be very easy for you to give praise or a testimony; you will have many loaves of barley to offer to the Lord.
Brother Watchman Nee once told us that when some young co-workers come to a meeting, they look around to see if any senior brothers are there. If not, if all the attendants are new believers, they have the boldness to pray and exhibit what they have. But if they see some senior brothers there, they shrink back with fear. This is not something of the resurrected Christ. If you have the resurrected Christ, even if the apostle Paul were there, you will say, “Praise the Lord, my brother has the resurrected Christ, and I have Him too. He may have five hundred loaves, but I have at least one loaf. Hallelujah!” As long as you have a little bit of the resurrected Christ, you have more than enough to meet every situation. He is the loaf of barley; He is the resurrected One. Nothing can hinder Him; nothing can limit Him.
When you come to the meeting with the brothers and sisters, you must realize your responsibility. You must share in the meeting with others. You must give some thanks and praise; you must offer some prayer. This is your responsibility. You say, “Oh, I am too weak!” In yourself you are weak, but in Christ you are not weak. You say, “I have nothing.” Yes, you have nothing, but in Christ you have everything. You say, “Oh, I am too poor!” Yes, you are poor in yourself, but you are not poor in the resurrected Christ. Remember that Christ is the barley in you. When you come to the meeting, apply Him as the one loaf of barley to feed all the others by your prayer or by your testimony. Try it! Practice it! You will see how enriched you will be. Originally you had only one loaf, but eventually you may well have one hundred loaves. You will be enriched by practice. Never say that the meetings are not your business. If so, the meetings are finished. You must learn to apply Christ; you must make use of the Christ you have.
Jesus said to His disciples, “You give them something to eat.” The disciples said, “There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are these for so many?” The Lord replied, “Bring them here to Me” (Matt. 14:16, 18; John 6:9). As long as they are barley loaves, as long as they are something of the resurrected Christ, that is good enough; that will meet the situation and there will be a surplus.
Brothers and sisters, if you will take my word, believe in the resurrected Christ, and apply Him, you will find that the remainder abiding in you is more than that with which you started. This is the barley. This is not just a teaching, but something for us to experience and apply every day in every situation. Apply the resurrected Christ, the unlimited, inexhaustible One. Tell Him, “Lord, I cannot meet the need, I cannot face the situation, but how I praise You, You can. I go ahead trusting wholly in You, counting wholly upon You.”
After a considerable time, perhaps five or six years, the sister who experienced Christ as a grain of wheat in her family testified of another experience. This time it was Christ as the barley. She testified that her mother-in-law and many of her relatives were brought to the Lord through her. She had become a barley loaf to feed many people. She had experienced Christ in resurrection.
This kind of experience not only causes you to know Christ inwardly as the wheat and as the barley, but by this experience you become a grain of wheat, you become a loaf of barley. Then you are food for others. You are able to feed others by what you have experienced. So many people were fed by this sister. Whenever she came to the meeting, even without opening her mouth, all the brothers and sisters sensed the ministration of Christ, the ministry of life. When she uttered a prayer, all the spirits and hearts were satisfied. She became a grain of wheat among the Lord’s children. And she herself became a loaf of barley to satisfy and feed many people. She experienced Christ as wheat and as barley; so she herself became a grain of wheat and a loaf of barley ( The All-inclusive Christ, pp. 54-59).