By Xiao’ai, Hong Kong
“Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing.” Many people approve of this view, thinking that in today’s society, you need money to make others look up to you, and that without money, you are a second-class citizen. Once, I used to believe this as well, and I strove to earn money, but it only brought me endless bitterness and torment …
My Determination to Become Rich and Escape a Life of Poverty
When I was young, my family was poor. We couldn’t afford the 500 yuan tuition fees for my brothers and sisters. Even borrowing money from everywhere we could, we barely got by, and our neighbors all looked down on us. I remember how the children in the neighborhood would often brag about the new appliances in their house, and when I saw how proud they were, I admired them. I thought society was precisely this materialistic, that “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” and that if we had money, all of our family’s problems would be resolved, that our material lives would improve, and that we wouldn’t be looked down on by others. Those thoughts made me very impatient to grow up so I would have the ability to get work and earn money.
Entering Society and How I Began Living for Money
Finally, when I was 17, I was able to leave home and begin my life of working at a job and earning money. At my factory, I was paid per piece, so to earn more money, I gave up chances to go out with my friends and instead worked overtime. Finally, when I was too tired to keep my eyes open any longer, I would drag my exhausted body back to my dormitory. Sometimes, the factory had rush orders, and the bosses would raise the piece rate, so to earn even more money, I would work overnight, sometimes going three days and nights without sleeping. Even though work was very tiring, each payday, when I saw the amount of money in my bank account growing, I felt that my sacrifices were worth it and worked even harder. And so, through several years of effort, my family’s lives took a turn for the better. But when I saw the people around me buying foreign-style houses and cars, I wasn’t satisfied with my current conditions, and wanted nothing more than to earn even more money.
Later, I came to Hong Kong, and there, I could earn in a day what it took me a month to earn in my hometown. I looked forward to having my house and car before long, and very quickly, I found a job as a waitress in a restaurant. To promote the restaurant’s seasonal products and earn more commission, I spent every day enthusiastically greeting customers, and some days I was even too busy to eat. As time went on, my irregular diet caused me to develop a stomach illness. Despite the severe stomach pain I felt, when I saw customers coming, I had to bear the pain and greet them with a smile. Before long, my boss promoted me to shift leader, and though my salary increased, so did my workload. Aside from ensuring my customers were appropriately taken care of, I also had to wrack my brains to find ways to build relationships with them and keep them happy, so that they would be willing to come to my restaurant and buy its seasonal products. Every night, I dragged my exhausted body home. The lifestyle was physically and mentally draining, but at the end of every month, when I received a thick stack of banknotes, I felt like all the hardship I endured was worth it.
After several years, I had saved some money, and even though I knew Hong Kong’s housing prices were high, I bought one anyway. After that, burdened with heavy mortgage payments, I worked even harder to make money. I was so exhausted that I didn’t have time to take care of my children or family, and my husband often fought with me about that, but I didn’t care, because I thought nothing was more important than making money. All I knew how to do was, like a robot, to work with all my strength and make money. My years of hard work caused me to suffer from sciatica, and the doctor advised me to take a break, but to make more money, I endured the pain and continued working 12 hours a day.
An Unexpected Debt Sets Everything Back to Zero
As I was desperately running myself ragged for money, I suddenly and unexpectedly received a debt letter. I had no idea that my husband had been gambling behind my back the entire time, and he had actually bet the house and lost. It was like a bolt of lightning from the blue that made me completely collapse. I never imagined that I endured so much pain, and even made myself sick, only to see the house I had worked so hard for taken away from me. I was so crushed I wanted to die. After losing my house, I felt that there was no hope in life. It was as if I had completely fallen apart … Although I was still busy every day, I felt like a soulless walking corpse, my health got worse and worse, my sciatica recurred, and I began to suffer from insomnia. I became very unhappy and had no interest in doing anything. During that period, I often asked myself: I worked so hard to make money, and what did I earn except for illness? But isn’t money what people should live for? What should I pursue if I don’t pursue money?
The Revelations in God’s Word Allow Me to Clearly See an Evil Trend
I didn’t know who I could tell my troubles to or how to proceed in life, and this was the moment one of my colleagues preached God’s gospel of kingdom to me. During that time, my brothers and sisters often readwith me and fellowshiped with me on God’s will regarding my difficulties. At one meeting, I read this passage of God’s word, “‘Money makes the world go round’ is a philosophy of Satan, and it prevails among the whole of mankind, in every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been instilled in the heart of every single person. From the very beginning, people did not accept this saying, but then they gave it tacit acceptance when they came into contact with real life, and began to feel that these words were in fact true. Is this not a process of Satan corrupting man? … So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Do you feel that you could not survive in this world without any money, that even one day without money would be impossible? People’s status is based on how much money they have, as is the respect they command. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly. What does this saying and trend bring to people? Is it not true that many people make any sacrifice in the pursuit of money? Do many people not lose their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Moreover, do many people not lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Is this not a loss for people? (Yes.) Is Satan not sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Is this not a malicious trick?”
My sister fellowshiped, “From God’s words, we can see that the torment we suffer in life is caused by Satan’s evil trends. We have been inundated with satanic toxins like ‘Money makes the world go round,’ ‘Money is first,’ and ‘Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing.’ We believe that people will only look up to us if we have money, that when we have it we will be respected wherever we go, and that without it, we are somehow beneath others. To live a life that surpasses others’ lives, we make the pursuit of money our lifelong goal, we work overtime and on extra tasks, and we even ignore our health. The ways we constantly struggle to earn money, work day and night, abuse and exhaust our bodies, and live inextricably trapped in torment with no hope of release are the harms caused by Satan’s evil trends. In the end, they doom us, and we don’t even realize it …”
After hearing God’s word and my sister’s fellowship, I was deeply touched. I recalled my family’s poverty when I was young, how the other children would refuse to play with me, and how everyone in the village looked down on us. Back then, I thought all those problems came from a lack of money. To earn more money, I gave up all my time to rest, I worked extra hours and did extra jobs, I refused to rest even when I was sick, and even when I earned money, I had also gained a host of illnesses, but I kept earning money like a machine. I was living numbly, and not happy at all. Worse than that, everything I had worked so hard to earn had been lost by my husband, which left me in deep pain and torment, feeling as though death would be preferable to life. This is when I suddenly realized that satanic toxins like “Money is first,” and “Money makes the world go round,” had already been planted deep within me. They had twisted my thoughts and views, caused me to pursue in a mistaken direction and torment myself to an unthinkable degree, and without the revelations in God’s word, I still wouldn’t have known to stop. When I thought of these things, I prayed to God, repented, and expressed my desire to stop following evil trends.
After that, I often had meetings and read God’s words with my brothers and sisters, which allowed me to feel a degree of release in my life, and step by step, I began to emerge from my torment. This was all due to God’s love. I recalled that at my most painful time, God used my colleague to bring me before Him, allowed me to hear His voice, and showed me the root of my torment in life so that I could wake up. Wasn’t all this God’s love? When I thought of these things, I swore an oath in my heart: No matter how busy I was, I would never depart from God, and would diligently pursue the truth.
Clearly Seeing the Essence of Money, Refusing to Make the Same Mistake Again
But before long, I saw that my family needed money for many things, and I thought that I needed to earn more money so that we no longer had to live such an impoverished life. I secretly began to do calculations in my heart: I worked 3–4 days a week, so outside of my meetings, I still had some time, and I wanted to make use of this time to earn more money. With that in mind, I began to look everywhere for part-time work, and whenever I had free time, I earned extra money. Gradually, meetings became just a formality for me. While I was at meetings, I was actually thinking about ways to make more money. In the evenings when I got home after work, God’s words didn’t sink in when I read them, and sometimes I was so tired that I went straight to bed and fell asleep…. I was further and further away from God, and had returned to my previous life of living for money.
Just as I was again becoming trapped in the vortex of wealth, I read this passage of God’s words, “Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly and with a rebellious attitude, and they always want to cast off God’s authority and sovereignty and the things fate has in store, hoping in vain to change their current circumstances and alter their fate. But they can never succeed and are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, brings profound pain of the sort that carves itself into one’s bones, as one fritters away their life all the while. What is the cause of this pain? Is it because of God’s sovereignty, or because a person was born unlucky? Obviously, neither is true. At bottom, it is caused by the paths people take, the ways they choose to live their lives. Some people may not have realized these things. But when you truly know, when you truly come to recognize that God has sovereignty over human fate, when you truly understand that everything God has planned for you and decided for you is a great benefit and protection, then you feel your pain begin to lighten, and your whole being becomes relaxed, free, liberated.”
God’s words touched my heart. I thought that although I followed God, I didn’t have any real understanding of God’s dominance, nor did I possess any real obedience. During this time, I had only thought about how to make more money. I hadn’t even bothered to read God’s words or pray regularly, and meetings seemed to get in the way of my earning money. But now, I saw that I still lived by the satanic notion and view that “Money is first,” and saw money as supreme. Thesaid, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Yes, what was the point of earning money if it cost me my life? I thought of how for all these years, I hadn’t understood the significance of life. I only knew that I had to struggle with all my strength to earn money, and the result was that I was riddled with illness, lived in unspeakable torment, and now, even as I had come before God and knew that God expresses words of for mankind, I still didn’t take them seriously, and I still single-mindedly pursued making money based on satanic notions and ideas. Yet, through this pursuit, I was only damaging my own life. The fact is that I earned enough for my family’s needs at my usual job, but I had extravagant desires, and wanted enough money to live a wealthy lifestyle, which is why I returned to my single-minded pursuit of earning money. I didn’t want to make the same mistakes again. I wanted to betray these satanic notions and views, pursue according to God’s words, place myself in God’s hands, and obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements. I offered this prayer up to God, “God, thank You for lifting me up and bringing me into Your house. However, I have been blind and ignorant, I have clung to the notion of making money and been unwilling to let go, and I have clearly known the truth yet not pursued it. God, I don’t want to continue like this. I wish to obey Your sovereignty and arrangements, and not live by satanic views.”
In the days that followed, outside of work, I spent more time pursuing the truth. I practiced spiritual devotion and prayed to God every day. Mybecame ever more normal, and without my realizing it, my health greatly improved and my sleep became normal.
Finding Release and Freedom After Ceasing My Struggle for Money
One day, when I had just arrived at my workplace, my manager greeted me with a smile and asked me if I wanted to be a shift leader, a promotion which would come with a raise. When I heard the manager say this, I was a little moved, and my colleague next to me said, “If it were me, I wouldn’t even have to think about it, I’d say yes immediately.” When I saw the longing in her eyes, I couldn’t help but think of how I was willing to pay any price to earn money, of how desperately I worked to earn money, I had driven myself to exhaustion and illness, and I lived in torment. Now that I had come before God, I knew that all of these harms come from following Satan’s evil trends, and I was determined to betray them. If I took the job as shift leader, it would occupy all of my mental energy, and I wouldn’t even have time to go to meetings. In addition, I still suffered pain in my legs, and if I tired myself out that way, I would only aggravate my condition, and I would have to return to the pain I experienced before. The amount of money I can earn is preordained by God, and not something I can change through my own effort. The path I had walked was too difficult, and when I thought of that, I swore an oath in my heart to never again walk that path. So, I said to the manager, “I haven’t been a shift leader for a long time now, and I’m still suffering from sciatica. Thank you for the thought, but I think you should find someone else.” When I said this, I felt a peace and steadiness I had never felt before. Through this environment, I became more certain that money cannot bring me true peace and joy, that only pursuing the truth and walking the path of obedience to God is valuable in life, and that this was what I should pursue.
In the days that followed, I went to spreadwith my sisters, and every day I felt especially at peace. Whenever I see that there are still so many people living under the influence of Satan, who run themselves ragged for money and for lives that surpass others’ lives, and who don’t know what pursuits are meaningful, I feel God’s eagerness to save people even more urgently, and become even more determined to pursue the truth, perform my duties as a created being, and bring more people before God to repay God’s love.
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