A WAY ON THE STORMY SEA
After feeding the multitude, the Lord Jesus went to a high mountain to pray, and He sent His disciples to the sea (14:22-23). This is a picture showing us that the Lord Jesus has ascended into the heavens and that He has put all of us on the sea. The life of the kingdom people today is a life in the wilderness, and the way of the kingdom people is a way on the stormy sea. Our way on the sea is beset by tossing waves and contrary winds. As we follow the Lord Jesus, many times we will not have a comfortable feeling, and we will experience the contrary winds.
Although our life is in the wilderness and our way is on the sea, we should not worry. In the wilderness the Lord provides food to eat. Our way, being on the stormy sea, is quite risky. We must remember, however, that the Lord is on the mountaintop in the heavens praying for us (Matt. 14:23). Also, He comes to us walking on the sea, with all the waves under His feet. Although we may be frightened by the tossing waves, they are under His feet (Matt. 14:25). He walks over all the waves. Since He treads over the waves, why should we be afraid of them? The Lord Jesus rebuked Peter because he had little faith. As the kingdom people, our life is in the wilderness and our way is on the sea. For both our living and our way, we need living faith.
Among many Christians and Christian organizations, the primary concern is how to raise money. I praise the Lord that from the first day I came into the church life, there has been no need to discuss the raising of funds. Let me tell you a story which Brother Watchman Nee related to me. The first local church in China was raised up in Foochow in 1922. The brothers met outside of Christianity and outside of denominations. Nearly all of them were students, many still in high school. Brother Nee was about nineteen years of age and was helping take the lead. They began to meet in a small home and eventually had the need to rent a larger place to contain the new converts. Few among those Chinese students had much money; most were quite poor. In one of the meetings the leading brother stood up and said, "Brothers and sisters, here is a Chinese long gown for winter use which has been offered by a brother. If this can be sold, the price will go toward the payment of the rent for the new meeting place." He did not say who offered the long gown, but simply brought it to the meeting and announced that it was available to anyone who needed it. Two sisters were sitting there. One received the burden to buy it as soon as the announcement was made. On the other side of the room she saw a brother who was quite uncomfortable due to the winter cold. There was, of course, no heat in the room. The sister saw the brother in need and had the burden to help him. When the responsible brother announced the price of eight dollars, she spoke with the sister sitting next to her asking, "Why don’t we buy this long gown for that brother?" The sister immediately responded, "I had the same feeling, but I have just four dollars." Both sisters had the same feeling and the same amount of money. Right away they stood up, went to the front, and bought the long gown for eight dollars. Then they asked that it be given to the brother who was uncomfortable from the cold. Who do you think that brother was? He was the brother who had originally offered the gown! Thus, both the need for the hall and the need of the brother were cared for by the Lord. We have seen the faithfulness of the Lord in many such experiences.
To illustrate further, when I came to this country, I had very little money. I was not sent here and supported regularly by a mission. As some of the brothers from Taipei could testify, I came to this country without the promise of any support. You may ask, "How then was the work started?" It simply started. The work started in this country in 1963, and we were burdened to publish the little magazine called The Stream. Although we had almost no funds, the brothers transcribed the messages, polished them, and were prepared to put them into print. As the time came to print them, we looked at one another. There was no need to discuss money; we all realized we did not have enough. By the Lord’s mercy I had two hundred dollars, and I contributed that toward the cost of printing. Eventually the account contained four hundred dollars. That was the beginning of the publication of The Stream.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 24, by Witness Lee)