Authority and Submission, by Watchman Nee


When you set out for your work this time, you have to learn from Moses. He was faithful in all of God’s house. He was not faithful to himself. If he had allowed God’s house to suffer loss, his flesh might have enjoyed some ease and comfort. But if he had done this, he would not have been faithful. We can be rejected and despised. We must still bear the affairs of God’s children on our shoulders, and we must not allow God’s house to suffer loss. Here we see a beautiful picture of how Moses was faithful in all of God’s house. While Aaron was offering sacrifices for the children of Israel, Moses was prostrating and praying to God. He did not know what God was going to do. He let Aaron offer sacrifices and make propitiation for the people of Israel. Although the people rebelled against Moses, he turned around to bear their sins upon his shoulders. He took up their case. While they were opposing and rejecting him, he was interceding for them. Moses was the offended party, yet he was the one who pleaded for forgiveness. He was reviled, yet he was the one to intercede before God. Here we see the kind of person who can be God’s deputy authority. A deputy authority must not act according to his own feeling, and he must not care for himself or be a self-centered person.

If we want to be God’s deputy authority, we must learn to bear all of God’s children upon our shoulders. May the Lord make us gracious persons, those who can tolerate all of God’s children and who can bear His children upon our shoulders. If we only care for our own feeling, we will not have the capacity to bear the burdens of God’s children. We must confess our sins. We are too narrow and too hard. We are not like Moses. God has grace in Himself, but He does not want to dispense grace directly. He wants His servants to seek after His grace inwardly while they are carrying out His righteousness outwardly. God’s work is righteous outwardly, but His heart is full of grace. He wants all His servants, that is, those who are His deputy authorities, to have His heart and be full of grace as well. God wants us to be gracious to others. We should ask for more grace inwardly. This is pleasing to God. Why are there so many narrow-minded and self-caring ones? Many people cannot take any offense at all. But if God can take offenses, we should also be able to take offenses.

If we will truly bear the burden of the church and the children of God, and if we will learn to prostrate ourselves before the Lord, God will find His deputy authority on earth today. The more we dispense grace, the more we are qualified to be God’s deputy authority. Being gracious to others is one characteristic of a deputy authority. Those who deal righteously with others are not qualified to be a deputy authority. We have to spend all our time in prayer for this before we can learn this lesson well. We have to learn to bless when we are reviled, to intercede for others when we are rejected, and to plead for forgiveness when we are offended. God’s deputy authorities are gracious ones. All those who are for righteousness alone have need of God’s mercy. We should allow only God to execute His righteousness in all things, while we ourselves should be gracious to all men. This is the character of an authority of God.

(Authority and Submission, Chapter 14, by Watchman Nee)