HAVING NO CONSIDERATION AND KNOWING ONLY TO WORK
For example, there may be two jobs in the Lord’s work that need to be taken care of. One of them is regarded as a great work and the other as small. Do you want to choose the one regarded highly or the one considered lowly? Every one of us should learn not to consider if a work is great or small. We should only take care of the work itself. If you consider, “Is this work great, or is it small? If I choose the great work, people will think that I am not bearing the cross. I should take the small one instead!” If you act this way, you are not bearing the cross. You are instead playing politics. Of course, it is not good for you to choose the great work. But if you choose the small one with any motive, the result is just as bad. It is not good for you to have such considerations. You should have no consideration at all.
Some people come to me saying, “Brother Lee, Brother So-and-So is working with us. But he only likes to tell others what to do.” Let me tell you that the one who likes to tell others what to do has violated the principle of the cross. If he is on the cross, he will not be telling others what to do. However, the one who complains is also not on the cross. If everyone is on the cross, there is no need to tell others what to do. Everyone will just be working. If I do not understand something, you will tell me how to do it. If you do not understand something, I will tell you how to do it. If your intention is to tell others what to do, you are not on the cross. On the other hand, if I complain that you are telling me what to do, I am not on the cross either. If we are on the cross, you may be telling me what to do, and I may be listening to what you say, but neither of us has the feeling that we are bearing the cross. There will be no such thing as telling or not telling others what to do, and there will be no such thing as listening or not listening to what others have to say. Everyone will just know to work.
By the Lord’s mercy, since I entered the Lord’s work in 1935, I have only known how to work. Spontaneously I was on the cross. It did not mean that there were no problems. It only means that spontaneously there were fewer problems. In the church, in the work, and in our spiritual walk, it is all the same. How can problems be solved? They are solved through the cross. In the family, the husband has to die, and the wife also has to die. If there is no death, there is no life. If there is no death after marriage, there will be arguments every day. There will not be a marriage life. Today, in following the Lord and in working for Him, the secret is nothing less than for you to put yourself on the cross and to remain there.
NO PREFERENCE, ONLY OBEDIENCE
May the Lord cover me with His blood. The Lord can be my witness. When I was in mainland China, I never tried to start any work anywhere. To me, everywhere was the same. I only received orders. Wherever there was the need, I was sent there. Moreover, wherever there was a place which was hard to work on, I was surely charged to go. I had no preference. After mainland China fell to the Communists, the work assigned me to come to Taiwan. I spoke the northern dialect, but a southern dialect was spoken on the island of Taiwan. Because of this, another brother who knew the southern dialect was assigned to come help me. Three to four months after I arrived, this brother also arrived. After he took a look, he left, saying that he would not come to Taiwan because it was too backward; the roads were all pebbled, and the people all clattered around on wooden clogs.
The brothers and sisters who are Taiwan natives have to excuse me for saying this. When we came to Taiwan more than forty years ago, Taipei had but a few roads paved with even blacktop. Most roads were pebbled. It looked very underdeveloped. Even though I was willing to take the cross, sometimes I would lie in the house, staring at the ceiling, wondering why I had come here and what could be done here. Thank and praise the Lord, now I am very happy. To me, the best place to work on the whole earth today is Taiwan.
My point is that you must learn to put the “I” aside in the Lord’s work. In other words, you have to be without “I.” You should only know to work, to minister, to pray, and to touch the Lord. You should not do anything else. You should not clean the washrooms just for the sake of eventually gaining a name for yourself and for being known as the one who always cleans the washroom. To others this may seem spiritual. But eventually this kind of so-called “spirituality” is vanity. When you come, you should do whatever is needed. When the washrooms need cleaning, you clean them. When the podium needs tidying up, you tidy it up. There should not be any preference or special feelings. You should neither strive to speak, nor strive not to speak. When there is the need to speak, you speak. When there is not the need to speak, you do not speak. This is the way of the cross. If the Lord supplies you more, you simply enjoy the Lord’s provision and remember the needy ones. If the Lord supplies you less, even to the point that you experience poverty, do not murmur. On the whole earth, no servant of the Lord has ever starved to death. No situation should ever bother you, and you should always be without the self. This is the way of the cross.
NO AMBITION OR CONSIDERATION BUT ONLY THE CROSS AND RESURRECTION
The Chinese say, “The strength of a horse is tested by the length of the journey, while the heart of man is tested by the passing of time.” I have been co-working with some brothers for forty to fifty years. There are some others with whom I have worked for twenty to thirty years. Recently, things have happened that made me feel very sorrowful. Among us there has been much talk about the cross. There also has been much talk about resurrection. But when the real situation comes, there is not much of the cross with some of these brothers, and there is not much evidence of resurrection. I hope that with this generation, others may see more of the cross and resurrection, both in our walk and work, as well as in our marriage life. Let me repeat that the way of the cross is the way of putting aside the “I.” Hence, in the work there is no ambition. Among us there is no degree, no position, and no name. There is nothing to gain and to covet. Even so, I must say to you that in the work there are still some who have the self. In the work, we should not consider whether or not others treat us well. We should not have such a consideration. I only know how to walk according to the Spirit. Toward everyone, I should be humble, kind, and loving. Toward the work, I only know to be busy and to labor. If others are taking the lead, whatever the arrangements are, I carry them out. There is no feeling, preference, or consideration. This is the way of the cross.
The difficulty of the outward circumstances is not worth our mentioning. If there are sufferings, let there be sufferings. Do not have considerations. What does consideration mean? It means that there is ambition. It also means that I must stay on top; I must have it better. To consider is to highly regard the self. I must be number one, number two, number three, and even the last number. Everything is I. What is it to take the way of the cross? It means number one is not I. Number two and number three are not I. Even the last number is not I. Nothing is I. This is to die. If there is no you at all, everything will be well. There will be no problem in suffering. There will be no problems if other brothers and sisters mistreat you or misunderstand you. You will neither mind or consider. This is to take the way of the cross. If you would learn this lesson well and continue on the way of the cross, your work will be effective and full of blessing. This is all I will say this morning. My point can be summarized in one phrase—no more I. For you to go to the villages for the outreach, wherever you may be, let there be only Christ, and no more you. It is now no longer I that live, but Christ who lives.
(A message given by Brother Witness Lee in Taipei on March 7, 1989)
(The Glorious Vision and the Way of the Cross, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)