In the work of God, the worker is more important than the work. If God cannot find the right person, He would rather delay His work. Much time and effort will He spend in the training of a workman fit for the Master's use. Basically, the training is more in the area of character than of skill. Only a new creation can serve God. Positionally, "if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Cor. 5.17mg.); experientially, old habits will have to be shed and new habits formed through the working of the cross in his life. A few principal characteristics of the life of Christ need to be incorporated in the worker before he is qualified to be a servant of God. Otherwise, God's work will suffer in his hands. It is far better for him not to plunge himself at all into the most sacred work of God.
Seeing the importance of the workman's character in the service of God, Watchman Nee gave a series of messages on this subject to a group of fellow-workers in Kuling in 1948, which was subsequently published in Chinese. A condensed version, in English translation, was published by the Church Book Room, Hong Kong, in 1965, it being the work of the late Miss Elizabeth Fischbacher. It was a work beautifully done and of the highest quality. Sensing, however, the tremendous significance of these messages in relation to God's work and His workmen, a new English translation of the full text seems now to be in order. While so doing, the spoken form of these messages has been preserved and only necessary editing done for clarity. The fundamental features of the character of God's workman given by Watchman Nee are that he: (1) is able to listen, (2) loves all mankind, (3) has a mind to suffer, (4) buffets his body and brings it into subjection, (5) is diligent and not slothful, (6) is restrained in speech, (7) is stable, (8) is not subjective, (9) has a right attitude towards money, and (10) is dealt with on some other important matters.