Expecting The Lord’s Blessing
by Watchman Nee
Part 1 of 2
Of late a thought has been constantly with me that all the work is dependent on God’s blessing. Often we are faithful, but despite our faithfulness there is no blessing and no fruit. Often we are diligent, but despite our diligence there is no blessing and no fruit. Often we exercise our faith; we truly believe God can do something. We also pray that He would work, but everything is in vain when God does not bless us. Sooner or later, we who serve God must be brought to the point of expecting God’s blessing. Without God’s blessing, our faithfulness, diligence, faith, and prayers will be to no avail. However, if we have God’s blessing, there will be fruit even if we seem to be wrong or hopeless. Therefore, all problems are a matter of God’s blessing.
I would like to bring out the matter of multiplying the five loaves (Mark 6:35-44; 8:1-9) with respect to God’s blessing. It is not a matter of how many loaves we have in our hands, but whether or not God has blessed them. Even if we had more than five loaves, this would not be enough to feed four or five thousand people. Even if we had ten times or even one hundred times more, we still would not have enough to feed four or five thousand people. It is not a matter of how much we have. Sooner or later, we must be brought to the point of seeing that it is not a matter of what we can pull out of our storage shed, nor is it a matter of how great our gift is or how much power we have. The day must come in which we say to the Lord, “Everything depends on Your blessing.” This is a basic matter. How much blessing has the Lord really given us? It does not really matter how many loaves there are. The Lord’s blessings nourishes people and gives them life.
One matter is troubling my heart: Do we truly treasure God’s blessing? This is a basic question concerning the work. Perhaps we do not even have five loaves today, but our need is greater than four thousand or five thousand people. I am afraid that we have less in our storehouse than the apostles, while our need is greater than the need at the time of the apostles. Our own store, source, power, labor, and faithfulness will be manifest that they are useless to us one day. Brothers, our future holds great disappointment for us because we will see that we can do nothing.
We must notice something in the Gospels. Why does the Lord do two miracles that are almost the same in nature and in action? I am afraid it is because this lesson is not easy to learn. Why does He feed the five thousand and then feed the four thousand? Two miracles of almost identical nature are repeated twice in the Gospels. We must learn this lesson, but it is not easy. Many people still do not look to God’s blessing, but instead look at the few loaves in their own hands! The Loves in our hands are so pitifully few, but we still base our plans on them. The more we plan in this way, however, the harder the work becomes. Sometimes it becomes impossible. I am somewhat comforted by the words spoken by a brother one hundred years ago. He said, “When the Lord wants to work a small miracle, He puts me in a difficult situation. When He wants to work a great miracle, He puts me in an impossible situation.” Our situation is difficult, and it even seems impossible. Many times it is really hard, and we are like the little boy with just a few loaves. We can only hope for a miracle, and this miracle is the Lord Himself taking them up and blessing them.
Brothers and sisters, the miracles are produced by the Lord’s blessing. His blessing changes and multiplies the loaves. The miracles are based on the Lord’s blessing. When there is a miracle, five thousand or four thousand people are fed. Without a miracle, even two hundred or five hundred denarii’s worth of bread are not enough to satisfy that many people. The Lord was training the disciples, bringing them to the point of looking to Him for His blessing.
Many times we do not have the capacity to do something. The outward environment is difficult, even impossible. If our eyes are fixed on the circumstances, we will not have any way to deal with them. However, the Lord repeatedly brings us through. These times are the Lord’s blessing. When we have blessing, everything goes well and nothing is difficult. Without the Lord’s blessing, everything goes wrong and nothing is easy. The Lord wants to bring us to a point where His blessing takes the first place, a point where we have never been. When the Lord brings us to such a point, He will have a way to go on. If the Lord does not bring us to this point, we will have to say that even two hundred denarii’s worth of bread is not enough. Today the problem is that we cannot meet the need in ourselves. All of our money combined is not enough. All of us combined is insufficient, but the Lord has a way. In the Lord’s work, the basic problem is the Lord’s blessing; nothing else matters.
Brothers, if God brings us to the point of seeing that everything in God’s work depends upon His blessing, it will bring about a basic change in our labor for God. We would not consider how many people, how much money, or how much bread we have. We would say we do not have enough, but the blessing is sufficient. The blessing meets the need that we cannot meet. Although we cannot measure up to the size of the need, the blessing is greater than our lack. When we see this, the work will have a basic change. In every other matter we must look at the blessing more than we consider the situation. Methods, considerations, human wisdom, and clever words are all useless. In God’s work we should believe in and expect His blessing. Many times we are careless and damage the work, but this is not a problem. If the Lord gives us a small blessing, we can get through any problem.
We truly hope that we would not make mistakes or speak and act loosely in the work. When we have the Lord’s blessing, however, it seems that we cannot err even when we are wrong. Sometimes it seems that we have made a serious mistake, but with God’s blessing the result is not really an error. I once said to Brother Witness that if we had the Lord’s blessing, the things we did right would be right and the things we did wrong would be right as well. Nothing could damage the blessing.
The basic concern today is that we must learn to live in a way that does not hinder God’s blessing. Some habits force god to withhold His blessing, and these must be eliminated. Some temperaments keep God from blessing, and these must be done away with. We must learn to believe in God’s blessing, rely on it, and eliminate the barriers which prevent us from receiving it.
Let us take Sian as an example. When the brothers were divided into two parties, this definitely hindered God from blessing. If their problem had continued to exist, God’s blessing would have come in. In another example, there have been some difficulties in Szechuan recently. Therefore, we cannot expect Szechuan to have any special blessing. I merely mention these matters as examples.
We must see that the Lord withholds no good thing from us. If the work is not going well, if the brothers and sisters are in a poor condition, or if the number of saved ones is not increasing, we should not use the environment or certain people as an excuse. We cannot blame the brothers. I am afraid that the real reason lies with our harboring of some frustrations to the blessing. If the Lord can get through in us, the Lord’s blessing will be greater than our capacity. Once God said to the Israelites, “Prove Me, if you will, by this, … whether I will open to you the windows of heaven and pour out blessing for you until there is no room for it.” (Mal 3:10). God is still saying this today. The normal life of a Christian is a life of blessing, and the normal work of a Christian is a work of blessing. If we do not receive blessing, we should say, “Lord, perhaps I am the problem.”
With the passing years it becomes more and more evident that some brothers receive God’s blessing while others do not. Of ourselves, we are not able to form any judgment about this matter, but over the years this fact has become so evident that we know beforehand that there will be fruit if one brother goes out but none if another brother goes out. We seemingly can forecast the result.
There are definite requirements for receiving the Lord’s blessing. It does not come by accident or luck. God has His ways and works according to His principles. God likes certain conditions and does not like others. Esau was very good, but God did not like him. Jacob was not good, but God liked him. God has His own reasons. If a person does not receive God’s blessing, there is a reason for it. If we do not receive God’s blessing, we should not push the responsibility for it onto the situation or environment. There is always a reason for not being blessed. If we could be brought to the point in which we wholeheartedly hope for His blessing and wholeheartedly ask Him to show us the reason for not being blessed, God’s work would have a great future. I really hope that we could live on the earth by expecting the Lord’s blessing. Nothing is as important as God’s blessing. The results of the work are in the blessing.
I am well aware that we all have our own particular weaknesses. God seems to overlook some of these, but He will not tolerate other ones. Where these exist His blessing cannot rest. It seems that God does not care about some weaknesses. It does not bother Him if you make these mistakes over and over again, but God cares about other weaknesses very much. Therefore, we must be very careful about the weaknesses which might cause us to lose God’s blessing. We may be unable to eliminate all our weaknesses, but we must ask God to have mercy on us so that we would be those who are able to receive His blessing. We should say to the Lord, “This vessel is weak, but forbid that it should be too shallow or too small to contain Your blessing.” Even though we are shallow and small, we are still able to contain His blessing. God’s blessing and gifts are His work. Thus, we hope God would have mercy on us.