The Mystery of Christ, by Watchman Nee


If you are simply a believer, you can act as you please, but if you are a member of the Body, then you must allow yourself to be limited by the other members. Here we find the necessity of the cross. The cross leads to the Body, and the cross operates in the sphere of the Body. If I am quick and another is slow, I must not insist on keeping my own pace; I must allow myself to be limited by the slow member. If I am a prophet, then I must give way to the evangelist when it comes to the matter of preaching to the unsaved. I should not feel the need to preach just because I have the gift of prophecy. "To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (Eph. 4:7). It is essential for the development of the Body that we each recognize our measure and not go beyond it. This is a basic requirement for the growth of the Body.

The Body of Christ is not only a protection to the members but a limitation to all the members. Every Christian is but one member in the Body of Christ and must accept the limitation of the Body. We should not allow ourselves to go our own way; rather, we should learn to be blended with other brothers and sisters. Individual dispositions and peculiarities have no place in the church. Every member should honor the talents of others and be faithful to his own. Moreover, every member should know his own capacity and not consider himself more highly than he should. If everyone does this, there will be no jealousy, ambition, or craving to do what others can do. In 2 Corinthians 10:14 Paul said, "For we are not extending ourselves beyond our bounds, as if we did not reach you." Yet many people have not seen their own capacity. As a result they overstep their boundaries. Those who over- step their boundaries are trampling others under their feet; they are kicking others, pressing upon others, and usurping the portion of other members. If members behave this way in the church, some will begin to monopolize while others will withdraw, and the result will be a loss to the church. We should not behave in this way. We should turn back and take our place in the Body and be limited by the Body. If we do this, the Body will be spared from damage.


The fellowship in the Body involves not only receiving help from other members but also giving help to other members. The functioning of the Body is mutual. Mutuality is the characteristic of the Body. Even when there is ministry from the pulpit, the ministry should never be one-sided. The pulpit needs the help of the congregation just as the congregation needs the help of the pulpit. Merely being a listener or an onlooker is contrary to the life of the Body. Every Christian should have a part in the meeting and render supply to other members. This kind of supply is the ministry of the members and the function of the members. It is also the fellowship of life. No member should cut himself off from this fellowship. If you stop this fellowship, life will stop flowing, and you will become a burden to the Body. If a person thinks that he does not need to say anything, and that he will be approved of and not cause any trouble as long as he simply, quietly, and politely receives from others, he does not know what the Body of Christ is. Every member has to render supply to the Body and fellowship and function in the Body. This is a law of the Body. In the physical body no member can cease functioning without there being a loss to the whole body. This is also true in the Body of Christ.

(The Mystery of Christ, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)