Amazing Watchman Nee anecdote
This amazing tale comes from Voice of the Martyrs, USA’s Facebook page, which I follow. Always good, they’ve been having some very interesting stuff lately. Following VOM on Facebook or Twitter is a good way to stay connected to the church persecuted in other lands and to check one’s own discipleship quotient.
Watchman Nee has long been one of my top favorites. No one, and I mean no one, explicates the Gospel as he does. Though his writing is intellectually advanced and satisfying, its real strength comes from his deep submission to the lordship of Christ. Simply put, he walked the talk.
Nee began writing at only twenty-three years of age, if my memory serves, and his writings are unparalleled for depth and clarity. But this is the first I’ve ever heard of his doings later in life while in prison in China for the Gospel. His dedication, insight and power in the Gospel amaze and humble me.
Watchman Nee, the Chinese church leader, had only six hours. He must lead the guard in front of his prison cell to Christ so that his letter of encouragement to Christians outside the prison could be delivered.
Chairman Mao’s government was infuriated by the spread of Christianity in China. In order to stop the spread of this “foreign cult,” they had forced out or killed all foreign missionaries and had sent thousands of Chinese church leaders to prison or to “re-education through labor” camps. But the church still grew.
When the police discovered that Nee’s beautiful, powerful letters of encouragement were making their way out of the prison and into the hands of Christians, they doubled the number of guards and never allowed a guard to stand outside Nee’s cell more than once. They shortened shifts to six hours, hoping Nee would not have time to convert the guard.
Nee told the guard about the Father’s love and willingness to give up his own flesh and blood so the guard could live forever in heaven. “Communism cannot get you to heaven,” he said. “Only the blood of Jesus Christ can do that.”
Five hours into the sermon, with tears streaming from his eyes, the guard accepted Christ. Yet another soul was won for the kingdom, and yet another of Watchman Nee’s letters would be safely delivered.
If Christian martyrs teach us anything, it is that we must use creative energy in order to promote the gospel. Their ingenuity, courage, and even craftiness ought to awaken our own spirit for spreading the Good News. While not everyone has the opportunity to smuggle Scriptures into restricted areas, we can still be willing servants for the kingdom. It might mean having a cookout in the driveway for neighbors. It may mean signing up for golf lessons or another community class in order to meet nonchurched people. A new method of witness always risks consequences. But we should always be willing to take the risk instead of settling for mediocrity. Which describes your evangelistic life today? Mundane and mediocre? Or creatively energetic for Christ?