Who was Watchman Nope
One planted, another watered, but God gave the growth.
So there is neither the one planting something nor the one watering, but God who gives the growth.
But he who plants and he who waters are one;
but each one will receive his own wages after his own work.
Watchman Nee became a Christian in mainland China in 1920 at the age of seventeen, and began writing that same year. For almost thirty years he was allowed to serve Christ and the building up of His body, the church, in a unique way. In 1952 he was imprisoned by the communist government; he remained in prison until his death in 1972. His words remain a rich source of spiritual revelation and supply for Christians around the world.
Soon after Watchman Nee was saved, he began to love the Lord and he was placed under a very heavy burden of preaching the gospel to his schoolmates and the people of his country, in convenient and inopportune times. Through his preaching, almost all of his schoolmates were brought to the Lord and a revival began in his school. In 1923 this revival spread among the people of his hometown. Hundreds were saved and their lives changed.
Watchman Nee did not attend a theology school or Bible institute. Most of what he learned about Christ, the things of the Spirit, and church history he gained from studying the Bible and reading books by spiritual people. Watchman Nee was an excellent Bible student and also a very diligent reader of spiritual books. He had an outstanding gift for choosing, understanding, distinguishing and memorizing suitable material. He was able to see different points at a glance.
Due to overwork and a lack of adequate physical care, Watchman Nee contracted pulmonary tuberculosis in 1924. The disease became so serious that rumors began to spread that he had already died. During this time of his illness, his trust in God for his existence was tested and God looked after him faithfully. God graciously healed him, but left him with angina pectoris in a sovereign manner throughout his life.
Watchman Nee could have died at any moment. This spontaneously led him to completely trust the Lord about his existence. Every moment he lived by believing in God, and throughout the years God provided him with His gracious care and resurrection life until he died. Through this physical tribulation, he experienced and enjoyed God much more than if he had not had such a persistent and exhausting illness.
This type of divine healing that Watchman Nee received was not just a miraculous act of God. It was the effect of the resurrection life through grace through the practice of living faith in the faithful Word of God for building up and growing in life. It wasn't just a miracle of divine power; rather it was a matter of grace and divine life.
Whenever Watchman Nee was asked a question, his answer was always practical, to-the-point, clear, full of anointing, and filled with light. His behavior was very normal and open, and it wasn't difficult to approach him. He had a great understanding and a big heart. In spiritual matters he climbed the heights and touched the depths. He was very understanding and experienced of the principles and purpose of God.
He always left a sweet impression, but you never lost the feeling of respect. His demeanor was kind and mild, and his words were full of anointing. When you talked to him, there wasn't a sense of distance, but a feeling of being watered and cared for. This impression left by his words and behavior is unforgettable. Watchman Nee saw that the most important thing in our work is not quantity, but quality. The real work is the flowing out of life.
In February 1949, after much prayer and deliberation, Watchman Nee decided to remain on the mainland in Shanghai due to his burden on the churches, the co-workers and the testimony of the Lord, despite the threat of communism. On the one hand, he trusted completely in the sovereignty of the Lord; on the other hand, he saw the risk and was prepared to be sacrificed for the Lord's testimony. In the spring of 1952 he was arrested and imprisoned for his belief; and after a long trial he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison in the summer of 1956.
However, he was never released. During his incarceration, his wife was only allowed an occasional visit; she died on November 7, 1971. The death of his wife was a great pain and he was cut off from all contact with the outside world. Shortly after her death, Watchman Nee arrived on May 30, 1972 at the end of his pilgrimage and now rests with Christ, whom he served at the expense of his life. He left a piece of paper under his pillow with a few lines of capitalized words written on it from a trembling hand:
“Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and was resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I am dying because of my faith in Christ. "
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