11. What is the difference between doing one’s duty and rendering service?
Relevant Words of God:
I shall never save any of those who do service for Me. They have no share in My kingdom. This is because these people only busy themselves with external matters rather than carry out My will. Although I am making use of them now, in reality they are the people I hate most, the people I most detest. Today, I love whoever can carry out My will, whoever can show consideration toward My burdens, and whoever can give their all for Me with a true heart and sincerity, and I will constantly enlighten them, not letting them get away from Me. I often say, “To those who sincerely expend for Me, I shall surely bless you greatly.” What does “bless” refer to? Do you know? With regard to the present work of the Holy Spirit, they indicate the burdens I give to you. All those who are able to carry a burden for the church, who sincerely offer themselves up for Me, their burden and their true heart are a blessing from Me. In addition, My revelations to them are also a blessing from Me. This is because those who do not now have a burden are not predestined and selected by Me; My curses have already come down upon them.
from Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning
“Five foolish virgins” refers to the service-doers. They do service for Me without placing the slightest degree of importance on life, only pursuing external things (because they do not have My quality, no matter what they do it is an external thing), and they are unable to be My capable helpers, so they are called “foolish virgins.” The aforementioned “five” represents Satan, and their being called[a] “virgins” means that they have been conquered by Me and are able to do service for Me, but this kind of person is not holy, so they are called service-doers.
from Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning
Man doing his duty is, in actuality, the accomplishment of all that is inherent within man, that is, that which is possible for man. It is then that his duty is fulfilled. The defects of man during man’s service are gradually reduced through progressive experience and the process of his experience of judgment; they do not hinder or affect man’s duty. … There is no correlation between the duty of man and whether he is blessed or cursed. Duty is what man ought to fulfill; it is his bounden duty and should not depend on recompense, conditions, or reasons. Only then is that doing his duty. A man who is blessed enjoys goodness upon being made perfect after judgment. A man who is cursed receives punishment when his disposition remains unchanged following chastisement and judgment, that is, he has not been made perfect. As a created being, man ought to fulfill his duty, do what he ought to do, and do what he is able to do, regardless of whether he will be blessed or cursed. This is the very basic condition for man, as one who seeks after God. You should not do your duty only to be blessed, and you should not refuse to act for fear of being cursed. Let Me tell you this one thing: If man is able to do his duty, it means he performs what he ought to do. If man is unable to do his duty, it shows the rebelliousness of man. It is always through the process of doing his duty that man is gradually changed, and it is through this process that he demonstrates his loyalty. As such, the more you are able to do your duty, the more truths you shall receive, and so too shall your expression become more real. Those who merely go through the motions in doing their duty and do not seek the truth shall be eliminated in the end, for such men do not do their duty in the practice of truth, and do not practice truth in the fulfillment of their duty. Such men are those who remain unchanged and will be cursed. Not only are their expressions impure, but what they express is nothing but wickedness.
from “The Difference Between the Ministry of the Incarnate God and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Peter was made perfect through experiencing dealing and refinement. He said, “I must satisfy God’s desire at all times. In all that I do I only seek to satisfy God’s desire, and whether I am chastised, or judged, still I am happy to do so.” Peter gave his all to God, and his work, words, and entire life were all for the sake of loving God. He was someone who sought holiness, and the more he experienced, the greater was his love for God deep within his heart. Paul, meanwhile, did only outward work, and though he also worked hard, his labors were for the sake of doing his work properly and thus gaining a reward. Had he known that he would receive no reward, he would have given up his work. What Peter cared about was the true love within his heart, and that which was practical and could be achieved. He did not care about whether he would receive a reward, but about whether his disposition could be changed. Paul cared about working ever harder, he cared about outward work and devotion, and the doctrines not experienced by ordinary people. He cared nothing for changes deep within him and a true love of God. The experiences of Peter were in order to achieve a true love and a true knowledge. His experiences were in order to gain a closer relationship to God, and to have a practical living out. The work of Paul was because of that entrusted to him by Jesus, and in order to obtain the things that he longed for, yet these were unrelated to his knowledge of himself and God. His work was solely for the sake of escaping chastisement and judgment. What Peter sought was pure love, and what Paul sought was the crown of righteousness. Peter experienced many years of the work of the Holy Spirit, and had a practical knowledge of Christ, as well as a profound knowledge of himself. And so, his love of God was pure. Many years of refinement had elevated his knowledge of Jesus and life, and his love was an unconditional love, it was a spontaneous love, and he asked for nothing in return, nor did he hope for any benefits. Paul worked for many years, yet he did not possess a great knowledge of Christ, and his knowledge of himself was also pitiably small. He simply had no love for Christ, and his work and the course that he ran were in order to obtain the final laurel. What he sought was the finest crown, not the purest love. He did not seek actively, but did so passively; he was not performing his duty, but was compelled in his pursuit after having been seized by the work of the Holy Spirit. And so, his pursuit does not prove that he was a qualified creature of God; it was Peter who was a qualified creature of God who performed his duty. …
… The work of Paul pertains to the provision to the churches, and the support of the churches. What Peter experienced were changes in his life disposition; he experienced a love of God. Now that you know the differences in their substances, you can see who, ultimately, truly believed in God, and who did not truly believe in God. One of them truly loved God, and the other did not truly love God; one underwent changes in his disposition, and the other did not; one was worshiped by people, and was of great image, and the other served humbly, and was not easily noticed by people; one sought holiness, and the other did not, and though he was not impure, he was not possessed of a pure love; one was possessed of true humanity, and the other was not; one was possessed of the sense of a creature of God, and the other was not. Such are the differences in the substances of Paul and Peter. The path that Peter walked is the path of success, which is also the path of achieving the recovery of the normal humanity and duty of a creature of God. Peter represents all those who are successful. The path walked by Paul is the path of failure, and he represents all those who only submit and expend themselves superficially, and do not genuinely love God. Paul represents all those who do not possess the truth.
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
All those who have not entered the proper path of faith in God, whose life disposition has not experienced any change whatsoever and who do not understand a bit of the truth, as long as they rely on passion, an intention to obtain blessings and are willing to make a bit of an effort, they are doing service. Once someone understands a bit of the truth, has a true faith in God, is not suspicious of God in the least, has an understanding of God’s work, sees that the purpose of God’s work is to save and perfect people and can see that God’s love for man is truly great, then this person will produce a heart that loves God and a heart that returns the love that God gives to him. The duties that this kind of person fulfills can be said to be good deeds. The duties that this person fulfills, instead of being known as merely doing service, can officially be deemed as duties fulfilled by one of God’s creations. Fulfilling duties means that you are willing to fulfill your duties properly as a means to pay back God’s love. This is the difference between fulfilling duties and doing service. The intention is not the same. The state and condition inside the heart are not the same. Doing service is done for the sake of obtaining blessings and being enthusiastically faithful. Truly fulfilling one’s duty is done on the foundation of a clear understanding of the truth. It is based on a foundation of knowing the love of God and the desire to return this love to God. It is based on an understanding that one of God’s creations should fulfill their duties and this is heaven’s law and earth’s principle. It is upon this kind of foundation that a heart for fulfilling duties is created. This is what it means to truly and properly fulfill one’s duties.
from “The Important Meaning of Preparing Good Deeds” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (II)
If you do your duty in order to obtain blessing and salvation, then your intentions are not right. If your intentions are not right, then you cannot do your duty up to standard; your way of working like this is just going through the motions, and you cannot, in the course of doing your duty, touch God’s intention and practice the truth. Thus, there will definitely be no results from the duty you perform. Doing your duty is not making an effort outwardly; the main thing is to solve problems according to the truth. It could be said that if in doing duty you are not practicing the truth, then that isn’t doing duty. Doing every kind of duty is a kind of manifestation of practicing the truth, all is the practice of the truth. Carrying out the responsibility of creatures, doing the duty that creatures should do, this is practicing the truth. So what is truth? It is the reality and the life that creatures should possess; truth is the highest maxim in life. The life that creatures should obtain, the duty they should fulfill, the responsibility they should bear, and the likeness they should live out; all of this is truth, and can collectively be called truth. Definitively speaking, only when you practice the truth can your doings be counted as duty; doing your duty is doing things according to the truth, according to God’s heart, so no matter what aspect of duty you are performing, you have to practice the truth. If you do not practice the truth, then you are just running amok, and doing service. If you do not practice the truth, then some of your doings are not doing service; they can also be condemned as evil, interruption and disturbance.
from “Questions & Answers” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VII)
All people who focus on seeking life and being God’s people are able to take performing their duty as a responsibility not to be shirked. In order to return God’s love, they do not haggle over reward in performing their duty, and they have no demands. Everything that they do can be called performing one’s duty. The category of people who are called service-doers at best make a little effort to appease God so that they might be blessed. Their faith has so many impurities. They have no conscience or sense, and even less do they seek truth and life. Because they can see that in their nature they are so bad that it would be impossible for them to become God’s people, they abandon their quest to become God’s people, and from beginning to end live in an atmosphere of negativity. Hence everything they do is of course doing service, because their distorted concept of God’s will has bound them. The path that a person takes determines whether what he does is performing his duty or doing service. If he seeks the truth and pays attention to life, performs his whole duty well to return God’s love and to satisfy God, works hard toward the goal of being one of God’s people—if he is supported by this sort of vision, then what he does is certainly performing his duty. All people who don’t have truth, who have no ambition at all, who in negative conditions put forth a little effort to appease and trick God, this kind of person is one who does service, and the path he walks is even more so. It’s clear that all service-doers truly are people without conscience or sense, and they are people who don’t pursue the truth. How would it be possible for them to have life? From this it is evident that those people who don’t have the resolve, who don’t seek the truth, and don’t pay attention to life perhaps are not fit even to be service-doers. Their nature is so bad; they’re not willing to accept truth and don’t believe in God. They are even suspicious of what God says. This is none other than their deceit burying them. If someone truly is a service-doer, he still must perform service well and not be perfunctory and slipshod. Only this would qualify him to be a service-doer who remains, and he would be very fortunate. To truly become a service-doer is no simple matter.
from The Fellowship From the Above
a. The original text omits “their being called.”