VI. THE FAITH OF THE WORKERS
All of the workers must have the common faith concerning the Lord’s work and His person. These basic truths must be kept in common by us. If any worker has erred in these general principles, the elders should stop him from working. Concerning the major doctrines, there must be the proper scriptural interpretations. Everyone must be the same in these interpretations. The proper interpretation of many verses have already been laid down by others. All we have to do is receive them from their hand; there is no need for us to add anything. One basic principle in reading the Bible is to simply accept what God’s Word says and not add our own thoughts to it. In reading the Bible, we should ask, "What has God said?" instead of "Why did God say this?" A citizen of a country does not need to ask why there is a certain law. He only needs to ask what the law of the country is. Our question should be "what," not "why." Our attitude toward God’s commands should not be one of understanding but of submission.
Today, due to differences in men’s conduct before God, there are differences in biblical interpretations. For example, in the matter of baptism, many people have been sprinkled. When they read the Bible, they somehow find the doctrine of sprinkling. Their doctrine is a result of their conduct. A man’s interpretation of the Bible has a great deal to do with his attitude before God. Many people come to God’s Word with only one purpose: to find an ordinance that would justify their conduct. Their goal is to turn God’s Word into some law that suits them. Therefore, their interpretation of the Bible is all for themselves. A person who has never passed through the dealing of the cross cannot read the Bible. Only those who have passed through the cross can read the Bible properly.
VII. THE NEED OF THE WORKERS
Now we come to the need of the workers. The first thing we have to mention is the offering of money by the believers. The offerings of the believers are not merely for the support of the workers; they are to supply those who work for the Lord. In other words, one does not offer to a certain person simply because he is a worker; he offers to that person because he works for the Lord. What he is personally is one matter, and whether or not he works is another matter altogether. As long as he works for the Lord, he deserves to be supplied. The question is not whether or not he has money, but whether or not he works for the Lord. If he works for the Lord, he deserves to be supported. A man paying a rickshaw operator does not ask if he is rich or poor. Whether he is rich or poor has nothing to do with it. As long as he has worked, he deserves his wages. A person cannot say that because a worker has money, he does not need to be supported. Someone once intended to make an offering to Mr. Bright, a co-worker of Dr. Scofield. But the person next to him said that the Lord would take care of Mr. Bright’s needs. Therefore, the man took back his offering, and Mr. Bright was left without the support. Believers should not offer their money just because the workers are poor. If they give because of the worker’s poverty, they are not making an offering but are giving alms.
Making an offering is the least that a saved person can do. If a saved man does not offer up himself, he is a useless person before God. If a man has received grace, there should be a result of offering up all that he has to the Lord. It is not normal for a person to receive grace and not be willing to offer up all that he has. All those whose hearts have been touched by God will give up their money purse. It is impossible for a person’s heart to be touched by God without his possessions also being touched by God. Consecration allows God to touch everything. Only after God has touched him will love flow out from him. If a man has never offered up himself, there will surely not be the outflow of love from him.
Today, there are only two gods in this world. The first is mammon, and the other is the true God. If we do not love God, we will love mammon. Only when a man loves God will his heart be broadened. The thing that broadens man’s heart the most is the giving of money. A believer among us attended meetings in a certain denomination for twenty years but never even nodded his head toward another person. Later he offered himself up, and his whole being changed. Previously I was afraid of reporting to others about our financial condition. But today I have turned. This is a way for others to receive grace. The more a person offers, the more he will be filled with grace. These words are for the whole Body.
Now let us consider the way to dispense the offerings. Part of the money received in the meetings should be set aside for the local workers and the workers in other localities. This is a sign of fellowship. Paul praised the Philippians for their grace in this matter (Phil. 4). They continued to fellowship with the apostle in the matter of money. The condition of the Corinthians was just the opposite; they developed a problem in their fellowship with Paul. As a result, Paul was willing to allow other churches to suffer, rather than ask for any money from the Corinthians. He did not use the Corinthians’ money because there was a problem with the fellowship. Only when there is fellowship can there be a material offering.
Thank the Lord that the brothers in Shanghai have received grace in this matter. The workers from out of town should not misunderstand and think that the church in Shanghai is so rich that it can keep sending money out. The reason the church in Shanghai is able to send money out is because the local workers in Shanghai have received only a little local support. Thus, the church is able to send out so much. This is the grace of the church in Shanghai.
The offerings to individuals should be personally wrapped in an envelope by the offerer, marked with the name of the worker, and dropped into the offering box. The brothers who open the box should then personally hand this offering directly to the receiver.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 11: The Present Testimony (4), Chapter 16, by Watchman Nee)