RELATIONSHIP IN THE LORD’S CALLING
Just as I desired to spend my life preaching the gospel on the day I was saved, so after I graduated from college, the Lord reminded me of this same thing. But I took the excuse that I had to help my younger brother finish his college education. After he graduated from college, I was again reminded by the Lord that I should give up my occupation and spend my full time preaching the gospel. At that time I knew that my destiny was to give my life to serve the Lord. However, I did not have a faith bold enough to perform it.
After the church in my hometown was raised up, I still kept my occupation and at the same time cared for the meetings. By 1933, just one year after the church began, the work was booming. There was a great demand upon my time. During the three weeks between August 1 and August 21, I struggled much with the Lord. I deeply sensed that He was calling me to give up my occupation and serve Him by faith, but I dared not take definite action because of the lack of faith.
Among all the brothers in the church at that time, only my younger brother and I made what would be considered good money in our occupations. For this reason most of the needs of the church were taken care of secretly by the two of us. Therefore, when the call of the Lord came to give up my occupation, I considered all the needs. Not only would the amount being offered to the church be lessened if I gave up my employment, but others would have to care for me. So I was struggling with this matter.
After three weeks of struggling with the Lord, I simply could not go on; so in the evening of August 21, following the prayer meeting, I explained my situation to the two leading ones and asked them to pray for me. After eleven o’clock that night, I went to the Lord and knelt before Him in my reading room. The Lord immediately rebuked me: "You have an evil heart of unbelief in falling away from the living God!" (Heb. 3:12). I said in my heart, "I have a wife and three children to take care of." The Lord responded, "Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things...and all these things will be added to you" (Matt. 6:32-33). At that time I became clear that I had to spend my full time serving the Lord. The only factor which caused me to hesitate was lack of faith. I deeply sensed that the Lord was there. His presence was so real that I could not deny it. But up to this point I could not pray. Then He warned me, "If you will take My word, take it; otherwise, I am through with you." Immediately following that word, I felt that the Lord departed. I could pray no more; I could not even say Amen. Tears filled my eyes. Finally I said, "All right, this is it." There was no other way. The next morning both of the two leading ones came to me and told me that after praying they felt it was of the Lord that I should leave my occupation and give my full time to serving the Lord.
The next day I went to resign my job. After resigning, I went to the post office and found a letter awaiting me from Ch’ang-ch’un, the capital of Manchuria under Japanese occupation. Opening it, I found to my surprise the first invitation I ever received in my entire life calling me to go to another place to speak for the Lord. It was immediately after my resignation that I received this letter. It seemed to be a definite confirmation of the Lord regarding my resignation, and I was much strengthened and encouraged. I accepted the invitation and went. Through my visit an assembly was raised up there. The preacher, the elders, the deacons, and others of the Presbyterian denomination, close to twenty, all turned to the Lord’s recovery and were baptized by me in the river in one day.
I spent seventeen days in that place. While I was there, a letter arrived from the general manager of the company in which I had been employed, telling me that they would not let me go but would promote me and increase my salary. The time was late September. I began to consider; it was the policy of our company to give the employees a bonus at the end of the year. I was tempted by the thought that if I would work for only a little more than three months I could still get that bonus and then quit.
Upon returning to my hometown, a letter was awaiting me from Watchman Nee. I looked at the envelope, noticing it was mailed from Shanghai. I opened it and read it. It was dated August 17, exactly in the midst of the time I had been struggling with the Lord. The letter said, "Brother Witness, as for your future, I feel that you should serve the Lord with your full time. How do you feel? May the Lord lead you." It is impossible to tell what strong confirmation I received by receiving that short note from him. That little note simply annulled the letter from my general manager. I was leaping in my heart. I said to myself, "This matter is settled. Even if someone would offer me the whole world, I would not take it. Tomorrow I will go to the office and tell the general manager that I reject his good offer." The next day I did exactly that. Then I felt that I must go to Shanghai to see Watchman Nee and discover why he wrote me that note at that particular time, August 17.
In Shanghai Watchman related to me the following story. He told me that while he was returning to China from Europe his ship was sailing on the Mediterranean Sea. One day while in his cabin, burdened and praying for the Lord’s work in China, he felt he should write me a note telling me that I should spend my full time serving the Lord. When he told me that, I was fully convinced that he was a person wholly with the Lord. Otherwise, how could I be thousands of miles away struggling with the Lord and he be on the Mediterranean Sea receiving a burden to write me concerning this matter at the very instant God was dealing with me? I was persuaded that he was a man of God. He did not need to ask me to work with him; I had already made the decision. I had to follow him and work with him. This incident I have just related became the basic factor in our working together for the Lord.
(Watchman Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Chapter 31, by Witness Lee)