Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 19: Notes on Scriptural Messages (3), by Watchman Nee


In studying the book of 1 Corinthians in the past, we have seen the Body of Christ. We can advance individually, but no growth is independent of the Body. For example, my mouth eats, but my whole being is also eating. Can I say that my mouth eats but that my whole being does not eat? When my hand works, my whole being works. When my feet walk, my whole being walks. The move of one member is the move of the whole body. I have used this example before: when I take a check to the bank to cash, the cashier gives me the money. Do just my hands receive the money? Will the cashier say, "I am giving your hands the money; I am not giving it to you"? Are there any cashiers who would say this? Everyone would acknowledge that when my hands receive the money, I receive the money.

There is an important truth in the Bible: the growth of one member is the growth of the whole Body. When two eyes see, the whole body sees. When two ears hear, the whole body hears. When the mouth speaks, the whole body is speaking. When the hands work, the whole body works. When one member moves, the whole body receives the benefit. Therefore, a person cannot live an individual life. All the work and conduct of a member is related to the whole Body. This is why there is a need for the same care for each other. You cannot be independent and presume that you have nothing to do with the other members. You should not cause the whole Body to fail by your own failures. When the eyes are blind, the whole body is blind. The Lord says that you should testify. Yet you do not open your mouth. When you turn back, the whole Body turns back. The mouth eats, but the whole body receives the nourishment. The nose smells, but the whole body senses the aroma. The ears hear music, but the whole person enjoys the music. The Body (that is, the Body of Christ) has a universal aspect and a local aspect. When one meeting suffers, the church suffers as a whole. Whatever a person eats, smells, and hears affects his whole body; similarly, the goodness, evil, progress, and fall of an individual Christian affect the whole church.

We should be willing to follow the Lord alone. But we should take care of the pace of the brothers and sisters. Some are too individualistic. They are accustomed to fighting and doing things by themselves. They do not care for the other brothers and sisters. They have forgotten that they are just members. Let me say an honest word: we should soar like an eagle in the sky, advance spiritually, and obey God individually. But we should also humbly wait for the other brothers and sisters and go on and obey God corporately.

Brothers, have you seen the relationship between a member and the Body? I have mentioned these three points to show us the corporate and individual life. We should maintain the individual part of our life. At the same time, we should pay attention to the corporate part of our life. On one hand, we should pay any price to allow God to gain something. But on the other hand, we should also pay any price to gain the oneness of the brothers and sisters. Do not think that you can monopolize everything. The whole body is not the eyes, and the whole body is not the ears. We should not neglect God’s side, and we should not neglect man’s side. May God bless us so that we know the preciousness of the individual life as well as of the corporate life. May we not annul the corporate life by our individual life, and may we not annul the individual life by our corporate life. Let us be a turned cake. If we are only cooked on one side and are not turned, God will not be pleased with us.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 19: Notes on Scriptural Messages (3), Chapter 2, by Watchman Nee)