Watchman Nee: Man of Suffering (1998) by Bob Laurent
This book is as good as the other in the Heroes of the Faith series, if not, the best so far (I’ve read those of John Bunyan, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Jonathan Edward and C. S. Lewis). It has had major impact in my Christian life and thought, my own walk and faith since I read it. Reading biographies of faithful men and women of God to me is the best investment in reader’s life and time.
After I read a biography of Sadhu Sundar Singh of India, I then read about John Sung of China. From there I discover Watchman Nee (or Nee Shu-Tsu) an influential Chinese pastor, theologian, and author. Watchman Nee was truly a man of God and this book gives details of his life of suffering. He never tried to defend himself when falsely accused or make someone else look bad no matter the circumstances. He endured suffering with great patience and faithfulness. His mentor Margaret Barber really prepared him for the life of suffering. Her motto that became his’ is this: “I WANT NOTHING FOR MYSELF; I WANT EVERYTHING FOR THE LORD.” He was a man of faith, generosity and a superior student of the Word of God. Nee “studying through the New Testament at least once a month and memorizing huge sections of the Old Testament, while often praying up to four hours a day.”
Ever since I read this book, I cannot forget the way Nee denied himself to the very end, refusing to defend himself in court or at all. Out of all the books in this series, this one probably my favourite. One of great lessons I learned from this book is that I shouldn’t waste my time arguing when accused by others and not to think of myself more highly than I should. (This is hard to do especially for me). A truly humble person does not need to defend himself because he knows that he is right with God, and that is why Jesus did not defend himself. Continually, I have asked myself Did Watchman Nee take it too far? Should he defend himself? For me, I will. But had he done so, his life wouldn’t be as impactful as he is today.
This book is a good introduction to who Watchman Nee was (and his friends), and what he stood for. It will bring tears to your eyes and inspire you to a deeper walk with Christ, or maybe inspire you to take that first step. “If I were called to die for Christ, would I defend myself to save my own life?” This is my life question as I continue to serve in student ministry.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.