A Christian’s Story: Does Money Make You Happiness?

By Shipo, South Korea

Frantically Earning Money, Physical and Mental Exhaustion

When I was young, our family was poor, and because of this, not only did the villagers look down on us, even our relatives avoided us, in fact even my grandparents didn’t like us. When I realized this, I made a vow: I would make more money when I grew up and rise above others, so that those who looked down on us at the time would see us in a new light.

To make money to help my family, immediately after I graduated from primary school, I began asking about ways to earn money. No matter how difficult or tiring the work, I worked anywhere I knew of that paid well. I worked in a cold storage warehouse in the coldest days of winter, I sold popsicles from a bicycle in the backstreets and alleys in the hottest days of summer, and I also sold seafood in my uncle’s seafood restaurant. Later, I heard it said that selling fruit could earn money, so I sold fruit on the street. After a few years of hard work, I managed to save enough to open a fruit shop, but after working hard for a month, I had to pay rent, heavy taxes, and bribe certain officials, and I was left with nearly no money in my pocket. I wasn’t satisfied to live such a mediocre life, so I went to work in South Korea.

When I first arrived in South Korea, I began working in a massage shop. Although the work was physically intense, and I was exhausted after each day’s work, I earned more than 3 million won in my first month. When I saw how much I earned, I was very excited, and felt that no matter how much I had to suffer, it was worth it. But I still wasn’t satisfied. I heard that bigger cities had higher wages and better benefits, so I resigned and went to another city. The massage shop here was larger and had many customers. I constantly massaged our guests every day, my hands were swollen, my arms were worn out, and the pain was so bad it felt like my muscles were on fire. But I couldn’t bear to rest. I continued giving massages, and I only dared to close my eyes to rest if there were no customers in the store. In months like that, I earned 5 million won, and when I had more customers, I could earn more than 6 million won.

bathroom,SPA shop

Thanks to chronic lack of sleep coupled with overwork, I began to have nervous headaches. I spent every day in an absent-minded state, my eyes were often sore, and due to standing for long periods, one of my lumbar discs slipped, and I felt sore all over my body every night in bed. I felt as though I was falling apart. I wanted to stop working and rest, but the thought that I could earn more than 1,000 yuan a day made me not want to rest, So I encouraged myself by reminding myself that if I worked a little harder, I could quickly escape this life that other people looked down on and despised. Even if I was physically uncomfortable, I couldn’t let that stand in the way of my desire to earn money. Later, I finally made enough money to buy a house for my parents, and then I planned to open a shop to save more money for myself …

At that point in my life, whenever I saw people of my age with time to go shopping, go to KTV, or travel, I often would often say to myself with a sigh, “Why is my life so exhausting? I’m just like a machine that makes money every day. I wear myself out every day as if fatigue doesn’t exist. Is this the way I’m going to spend the rest of my life? Is the point of my life just to make money?” But aside from making money, I didn’t know what to pursue …

Accepting God’s Last-days Gospel, Finding the Root of My Pain in God’s Words

After I got married, I took out a mortgage to buy a house in South Korea. To pay off my mortgage quickly, I gave up my previous job and opened a snack bar in a busy area. Still, I was busy every day from early in the morning to late into the night. Even when I was eight months pregnant, I insisted on going to the store every day. My customers couldn’t bear to see me in that state, and they often suggested that I go home and rest, but I always smiled and said, “No need, I’m in perfect health.”

This continued until one day, when I accidentally fell, and I was forced to stop work and recuperate at home. To pass the time, I went to a Korean language class. I was surprised to meet a sister who believed in God there. She witnessed Almighty God’s work in the last days to me, and fellowshiped to me, “Our lives are so painful because once we are corrupted by Satan, we live by Satan’s fallacious ideas, depart from God, betray God, and live under the domain of Satan. Our pain is caused by being corrupted and toyed with by Satan. Almighty God has come incarnate to the world to speak new words and do the work of judgment to completely save us from the domain of Satan, to ensure we know how Satan corrupts people and how God works to save people, and finally to make us see clearly the ugly truth of how Satan corrupts and harms people, make us completely reject and betray Satan, and be able to do things according to God’s requirements and live under God protection and blessing.” After hearing my sister’s fellowship, I happily accepted God’s work in the last days and began participating in church life.

Once, at a meeting, when I discussed my experience of starting to earn money at a young age, a sister asked me, “Sister, isn’t living like that exhausting?” I answered, “Of course it is! But in today’s society, isn’t it popular to believe things like “Look toward money and make lots of it”? In this world, money is supreme. If you have money, you will be looked up to by others and be able to walk with your head held high. Without money, you will be unable to do anything, and you will be despised, so all I can do is struggle with all my strength to make money, and keep moving ahead no matter what. But here’s what I don’t understand: I’ve earned money in the last few years, and I’ve won people’s admiration, but I’m not happy. Instead, I feel miserable and tired. What do you think is behind this?” She said, “God’s word explains the root of our suffering very clearly. Let’s read a few passages and we’ll understand.”

God’s words say, “In fact, no matter how lofty man’s ideals are, no matter how realistic man’s desires are or how proper they may be, all that man wants to achieve, all that man seeks for is inextricably linked with two words. These two words are vitally important to the life of every person, and these are things Satan intends to instill in man. Which two words are these? They are ‘fame’ and ‘gain.’ Satan uses a very subtle kind of way, a way very much in concert with people’s notions; it is not any kind of radical way. In the midst of unawareness, people come to accept Satan’s way of living, its rules of living, establishing life goals and their direction in life, and in doing so they also unknowingly come to have ideals in life. No matter how high-sounding these ideals in life seem, they are just a pretext that is inextricably linked to fame and gain. Any great or famous person, all people in fact, anything they follow in life relates only to these two words: ‘fame’ and ‘gain.’ People think that once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them to enjoy high status and great wealth, and to enjoy life. Once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them in their pleasure-seeking and unscrupulous enjoyment of the flesh. People willingly, albeit unknowingly, take their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies and hand them all over to Satan in order to attain the fame and gain they desire. People actually do this without ever a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover it all. … So Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts until all they can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds man with invisible shackles. These shackles are borne on people, and they have not the strength nor courage to throw them off. So people trudge ever onward in great difficulty, unknowingly bearing these shackles. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind shuns God and betrays Him, and they become more and more wicked. In this way, therefore, one generation after another is destroyed in the fame and gain of Satan” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

She fellowshiped, “Only God knows the root cause of our corruption by Satan, and only God knows the bitterness and suffering we endure to pursue fame and fortune under Satan’s influence. Satan seduces and corrupts us primarily through the education we receive at school, our family environments, and the influence of social trends to instill satanic logic and principles within us like ‘Money is first,’ ‘Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,’ ‘Men should always strive to be better than their contemporaries,’ ‘No pain, no gain,’ and ‘One should bring honor to his ancestors.’ Through these things, it causes us to establish incorrect views on life and values, and to mistakenly believe that pursuing wealth, fame, and fortune to win the respect and admiration of others is the only valid expression of ambition and aspiration, and that only by pursuing extraordinary lives can we live valuable, meaningful lives. To realize that desire, we struggle with all our might to earn money and increase our value, and as long as something allows us to make money, which we can exchange for fame, gain, and no longer being looked down on by others, we are willing to do any work, no matter how difficult or exhausting, to the point that we are willing to endure long periods of physical labor and all kinds of physical illnesses. We are like prisoners bound in shackles, performing bitter, endless labor in pursuit of wealth, fame, and fortune, to the point that we believe there is nothing worth doing in life aside from earning money. But if we quiet our hearts and reflect: We allow ourselves to do arduous tasks and be knocked about by life for wealth, fame, and fortune, but precisely what do we gain? Some people struggle so bitterly for wealth, fame, and fortune, with the result that they die from overwork. Some people struggle with all their strength to earn money to trade for fame and fortune, with the result that they become famous and well off, but are swallowed up by evil trends. They indulge their flesh and wantonly submit to their desires, leading to discord between husbands and wives and broken families. There are still others who, to gain money, are willing to sell their flesh, lose their character and dignity, and live lives without any value at all … This shows us that while money, fame, and fortune may bring us temporary material enjoyment or the admiration and praise of others, they make us lose our conscience, reason, character, dignity, and even our health, our lives, and most importantly the desire to go toward the light and seek the truth. From this, we can see that wealth, fame, and fortune are the ways and methods Satan uses to harm people, toy with people, and ruin people. God has come incarnate in the last days to speak new words that reveal the true fact of how Satan corrupts people precisely to allow us to develop discernment, to allow us to see Satan’s darkness and evil, and to allow us to escape from Satan’s influence and accept God’s salvation, because only in this way can we have peace and joy in our hearts.”

After I heard God’s words and my sister’s fellowship, I understood how Satan uses fame and fortune to corrupt and bind people. All these years, I had been struggling bitterly in pursuit of money. I had believed that the best possible thing to do in this world is to have money, and that only if I had money would others be able to see me in a new light. So, I had regarded making money as my goal in life, but I didn’t know this was actually a trap Satan had set for me, a means to use fame and fortune to corrupt and harm me. I remembered how after I had started to work so hard to earn money after graduating from elementary school, and even when I got married and pregnant, I wasn’t content to rest, and the long hours of work had caused me to fall victim to various diseases and conditions at a young age. I felt that my life was very tiring, and very miserable. I truly felt that God’s word had revealed that I was bound and controlled by the shackles of fame and fortune, and that I was helpless to resist. I was inextricably trapped, running myself ragged every day for fame and fortune, and paying every possible price for it. When I realized this, I was grateful to God for saving me. I decided to believe in God, and to no longer live this tormented life of bondage to fame and fortune.

Encountering Difficulties, Relying on God, Seeing God’s Deeds

When my child was 11 months old, my husband and I opened a convenience store. But, he was addicted to online games, and spent all day playing them, which meant I had to take care of all the business in the store. I was busy all day in the store, and after work I had to take care of my child. I was really too busy. Even though I tried to make time for each meeting, I rarely read God’s word, and my mind was full of thoughts of the store’s business, and I spent all day thinking about how to make money. My heart grew farther and farther away from God, and I realized that I had returned to the days when I ran myself ragged for money. I didn’t want this to happen, but I also didn’t know what to do.

At one meeting, when my sister learned about my situation, she said to me, “As we live in this world, we need to face problems of survival, family problems, and the problems of dealing with people. When we lack the truth, we can’t see things clearly, so we often live trapped in impossible difficulties. At times like these, we need to draw closer to God, pray to God, read God’s word, seek God’s will in them, and find the path of practice in God’s word. When we understand the truth, we will have the wisdom to deal with all kinds of things, and our pain will naturally disappear.” Then, she read another passage of God’s word, “It’s very simple now: Look upon Me with your heart and your spirit will immediately become strong, you will have a path to practice and I will guide your every step. My word shall be revealed to you at all times and in all places. No matter where or when, or how adverse the environment is, I will show you clearly and My heart shall be revealed to you if you look to Me with your heart; this way you will run down the road ahead and never lose your way” (“Chapter 13” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). She then fellowshiped, “God is omnipotent, there is nothing impossible for God, and everything is in God’s hands. Everything that happens to us is orchestrated and arranged by God. God hopes that no matter what difficulties we encounter, we pray to God, rely on God, look to God, and seek truth to resolve problems. When God sees our sincerity, He will open the way for us.”

After listening to God’s words and my sister’s fellowship, I had a path of practice. Then, I entrusted my difficulties to God and looked up to God, and consciously made time to read God’s word. In God’s word, I found a path to practice, and my difficulties were gradually resolved. I was no longer so tired, and with the provision I found in God’s word, my heart felt very fulfilled.

Later, my younger brother-in-law told me that South Korea offers a free babysitting service for foreigners, and suggested that I apply. I knew that God heard my prayer and had opened up a way for me, so I applied to the government for the free babysitting service. I didn’t expect the application to be approved so soon, and I was very grateful to God. Afterward, I asked an hourly worker to help me watch the store, so that I would have enough time to read God’s word, as well as to meet with my brothers and sisters and fellowship on our experience and understanding of God’s word. Slowly, I came to understand some of the truth, learned how Satan corrupts mankind, learned how, step by step, God has brought us to the present day, and I also understood God’s eagerness to save people, which is for those who truly believe in God and yearn for Him to come into God’s house, escape Satan’s harms, and accept His salvation. Soon, I began performing my duties, working with my brothers and sisters to testify God’s work in the last days to more people, and I felt especially secure in my heart.

christian reflection

Temptation Comes to Me, Finding Resolution in God’s Words

But that was the moment Satan’s temptation came to me. One day, my mother-in-law came to my house and said that since I was a skilled masseuse, she wanted to invest in a massage shop that I would manage, and that my husband and I should take advantage of our youth to earn money and enjoy it in our old age. Her words moved me. I thought, “If I open my own massage shop, I’ll earn more than I do now, and then I’ll be able to realize my dream of being rich, and then my friends and family in China will definitely look at me in a new light!” But then I thought about it, and I realized, “It wasn’t easy to pull myself out from the whirlpool of money, and now I feel relaxed and at ease. If I open another store, it will take time and energy, and I won’t have time to go to meetings, read God’s words, or do my duties. I don’t want to continue my past life of making money.” The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t make up my mind, and I was very distressed.

So, I called my sister and told her about my situation, and she sent me a passage of God’s word, “God works, God cares for a person, looks upon a person, and Satan dogs His every step. Whoever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ways to tempt, harass and wreck the work God does in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is its objective? It does not want God to have anyone; it wants all those that God wants, to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they commit evil acts alongside it. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive?” (“God Himself, the Unique IV” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through God’s words and my sister’s fellowship, I understood that my mother-in-law’s sudden desire to invest in a massage shop, while it outwardly seemed to be a good thing, contained within it is Satan’s trick. It originated in Satan’s temptation. Satan wasn’t willing to let me follow God, pursue the truth, and be fully saved by God, so it was using my mother-in-law to tempt me into continuing to busy myself pursuing fame and fortune, returning to its dominion, and being toyed with and harmed by it. It was only now that I saw Satan is really truly cunning and evil. To ruin and swallow people, it uses all kinds of methods to deceive people and draw them in. It tried every method it could, and I was nearly fooled. I thanked God’s words from the bottom of my heart for His timely guidance, for allowing me to see through Satan’s tricks and clearly see Satan’s ugly face, which ensured that I could no longer be led around by the nose by Satan. So, I refused my mother-in-law, and I felt much more at ease afterward.

Living by God’s Word, Finding Freedom and Release

Later, I read these words of God, “If one views life as an opportunity to experience the Creator’s sovereignty and come to know His authority, if one sees one’s life as a rare chance to perform one’s duty as a created human being and to fulfill one’s mission, then one will necessarily have the correct outlook on life, will live a life blessed and guided by the Creator, will walk in the light of the Creator, know the Creator’s sovereignty, come under His dominion, become a witness to His miraculous deeds and to His authority” (“God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s word pointed out the correct path of practice for me. As a created being, I am fortunate to be chosen by God to come before God today, so I should pursue the truth, let God’s word be my guide in all I do, experience and feel the Creator’s domination in my real life, perform the duties of a created being, and testify God’s deeds, so that I can live a valuable and meaningful life. I thought of how before I believed in God, I ran myself ragged to make money for fame and future, was toyed with and bitterly harmed by Satan, and I lived in pain and emptiness. It was God who lifted me up and treated me with grace, who allowed me to hear God’s utterances in the last days, who allowed me to understand the means Satan uses to harm people in God’s word, who allowed me to see clearly that fame and fortune are ways Satan corrupts and harms people, and who allowed me to gradually emerge from the whirlpool of fame and profit and find direction of life. When I considered that, I realized that God had expended so much effort on me, so I needed to pursue the truth, pursue understanding and obedience of God’s dominion, do my best to repay God’s love, and live out a meaningful life.

After I declined my mother-in-law, my husband and I ran our convenience store in a realistic, down-to-earth manner, and I also did what duties I could within the church. Now, although I earn less money, I am very happy and at ease, the illnesses I suffered from overwork are improving, and I thank God from the bottom of my heart for His love and salvation for me. When I look back on my path to following God, I truly feel that God’s word is the truth, the way, and the life. Only God’s word could bring me light, change my incorrect views on things, and save me from the bondage and suffering of Satan, and point out the correct direction in life for me. When I meet with my brothers and sisters, when I see some in inescapable bondage to money, fame, and fortune, I often read God’s words to them and fellowship on how God guided me to see through Satan’s tricks, escape the bondage of fame, fortune, and money, and experience a life of freedom and release before God. These things enable them to feel God’s love and salvation, establish the correct view on life and values based on God’s word, live by God’s word, escape from Satan’s suffering as soon as possible, and pursue the correct goals. Thank God!

 

» Read more on our Christian Reflection page, or click on the related articles below:

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My Joys and Sorrows After Achieving Success

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