Watchman Nee. Date:Evening, February 3, 1950
Place:Jordan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Among God’s children today, there is the thought that service to God is a favor to Him. Let me ask: Do we see the shining face on the throne? Unless we see God’s glory on the throne, we cannot forsake everything. The world is lovely, and mammon is precious! Everyone is intensely interested in money; no one can forsake it. If we have seen His glory, however, we will be like Paul who regarded everything as refuse in comparison to the excellency of Christ (Phil. 3:8-9).
Brother Ma, do you know the Lord? Brother Chu, do you feel that you have given yourself to the Lord’s service too soon or too late? The world has only pain, bitterness, and regret to offer to men. It is more than worthwhile for a Christian to forsake the world to serve the Lord.
We are here to speak about total consecration. Some feel that this is too much, but these ones have not seen the glory of serving God. They want to go back to the world at every turn. The Israelites who did not see the excellency of the promised land wanted to go back to Egypt at every turn. Once we sense the glory of serving the Lord, we will be able to lead many by the hand even though we may be young men ourselves. Paul was a young man when he was called Saul. He persecuted the church and thought that he was serving God. He asked for letters from the high priest to bind the believers. Yet God’s glory came to him, and he fell down. Through this experience, he began to know the meaning of serving the Lord.
Perhaps we consecrated ourselves with tears. Even while our tears were still wet, our heart was filled with joy. The deepest joy is the joy that is accompanied by tears. We should feel ashamed that we have not given Him enough. We should feel ashamed that we have not given Him the best. We can never give Him too much. This revelation alone will change the color of everything in our life. It will change our taste. We are not doing this to join a crowd. It is by God’s grace that our offering is accepted. This is the meaning of knowing Him in resurrection. This is what motivated the early church to consecrate itself.
Some people think that they are doing God a favor when they drop a little money in the offering box. Little do they realize that it is God’s mercy that our offering is accepted. I know two young brothers who are somewhat clever in worldly ways. Each of them has some small achievements. They are very proud. They think that their service to God is a favor to Him. I heard them say once, “I could have gained a high place in society, but I have given myself to serve God!” When I heard this, I said, “You are wrong. During the past two thousand years of church history, countless people who were better than you have given themselves to serve the Lord. They knew the preciousness and the glory of serving the Anointed One. They never felt that they had done themselves an injustice by serving God. On the contrary, they thanked God for His great mercy for sending down His fire to consume the service of a sinner like them. O blind ones, the day will come when the One to whom you offered yourselves in contempt will be exalted in glory as the Christ of God. Think carefully about who is doing whom a favor!”
Even if we have to kneel, crawl, or prostrate ourselves before God, we have to plead for service. His acceptance of our consecration is His mercy and grace. Consecration is God’s grace to us. It is God granting us a favor by accepting us. We have to bow down our head and say, like Mephibosheth, “What is your servant that you should look upon a dead dog like me?” (2 Sam. 9:8). God is so great. He is the Lord of the universe. What a wonder that creatures as lowly as we can serve Him. O proud ones who can boast in anything, you cannot boast in front of God; this is the wrong place for boasting.
Let me illustrate my point with a story. I have a friend who is also a brother. During the war he was in Chungking. One day General Chiang invited him for a meal. He was very excited when telling me about the dinner, and he was very honored. Two months ago Mr. Mao wrote him a letter and asked him a question. He came and told me that General Chiang’s dinner and Mr. Mao’s letter were highlights in his life that he would never forget. Let me say that God is far greater than Mr. Mao and General Chiang. Are we doing Him a favor or is He doing us a favor by allowing us to serve Him? Everyone who knows God will prostrate himself in the dust and beg to give his all to God in adoration and worship. It is God’s great love and mercy to allow us to serve Him. We should thank Him. We have not done Him a favor. It is a matter of Him receiving our consecration, not a matter of us being generous enough to give ourselves. The honor is on us, not on Him. Serving the Lord is our glory, a tremendous glory!
We hope that in these days many brothers and sisters will learn to press themselves against the Lord and say, “This is what little I have. Please send down Your fire to accept it.” This is the time for us to forsake everything. It is inexcusable for any of our co-workers to have fear or to keep back anything. Anyone who tries to deceive or who has impure motives will be like Ananias and Sapphira. Our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). No man can deceive such a Lord. We have to offer up everything wholeheartedly and in all sincerity. We have to serve God with our whole soul and our whole mind