Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee

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God Having Ordained That Man
Take Up Occupations
That Involve Manual Labor

The second question is occupations. What are the occupations that God wants? God’s will for man is that he has to eat bread in the sweat of his face (Gen. 3:19). In the Old Testament, God ordained that Adam must till the ground and that Abel had to tend to the flock. Men like Abraham and Jacob were all herdsmen. Genesis 4 mentions the "artificer in brass and iron" (v. 22). All these are manual labor. In the New Testament, the apostles were fishermen, and Paul was a tentmaker. These are also occupations that involve manual labor.

Paul said that to the one who works, his wages are accounted according to what is due (Rom. 4:4). Occupations that are based on one’s labor are right occupations, for they have no element of money-making. Such kinds of occupations increase and add to the value of the goods. You cannot consider these kinds of occupations as making money; they are merely a selling of our labor. There are only a finite number of things in the world. Suppose there were only ten thousand cattle in the world, and through my farming there are now eleven thousand; my labor has caused the world to have one thousand more cattle. Suppose there was only one stalk of wheat, and through my farming there are now thirty stalks, or one hundred stalks. This is to cause an increase in value. Why do I gain some money? It is because I have caused the world to have ninety-nine stalks more. Paul brought the material home, sewed it into a tent in the night, and sold it the next morning. The money he made came from the work of sewing. However, if you buy five rolls of fabric, store it away until the price for the fabric is high, and then sell it, you have made your money without increasing the value of the fabric by one bit. We cannot engage ourselves in this kind of business. All the occupations that do not increase the value of the goods must be changed. We have to have a turn in our mentality. The mentality of many people is focused on money, and not on value.

Rejecting Occupations That Do Not Increase
the Value of Goods

We cannot engage ourselves in occupations that do not increase the value of goods. The occupations that are right are those that earn wages through manual labor. Those occupations that do not increase the value of goods make a poor testimony before God and even before Satan. In addition, they corrupt a person’s heart.

We have two brothers who were business students. Now they no longer want to study business any more. Commerce turns a person’s mind immediately to money. Before the Lord, we have to be delivered from money. Our occupations must be such that they increase the value of goods or that they improve the goods. Only those who are undefiled in their occupations can serve God in a useful way. If there is a group of people who are delivered from money and on whom money has no effect, God will have a way through these ones. In Chefoo, the brothers with lowly jobs were sent out first. These brothers were all engaged in occupations that increased the value of goods. Some occupations are involved with commerce. Those saints who are involved with this kind of occupation have to learn to drop them. The assignment of co-workers is an absolute matter today. The assignment of the saints’ occupations should also be an absolute matter. The co-workers cannot choose their own place of work. Neither can the brothers and sisters choose their own occupations. Those who are on the jobs need to be coordinated in the same way as those in the Lord’s work need to be coordinated. God can only use clean money. The need today is too great, yet we cannot lower God’s standard.

Occupations Having Much to Do
with God’s Testimony

Brother Chang’s occupation is not very good. It has too much to do with the government and politics. A job in the post office does not have much to do with politics. Working with the Customs Department is not very good, because it can involve taking bribes from others. An occupation has much to do with God’s testimony. Here is the need for one to pay a great price.

(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 54, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)