Recently, a friend told me a true story, which had a great impact on my soul:
In order to live a better life, a couple crossed the ocean to Japan to work. However, the fast-paced lifestyle and the overload of work made them exhausted and miserable, to the point that several times they wanted to give up their work. But when they got monthly earnings, they would forget themselves in happiness, ignoring physical fatigue. They thought that so long as they earned great wealth, they could build their house, take their families abroad, and then they could feel proud and elated before their relatives and friends. So, they endured pains and continued to pursue their dreams.
One day, the husband suddenly fell ill, and then went to the hospital for examinations. The result showed that he was in the late stages of cancer. In order to save her husband’s life, the wife spent all their earnings on his treatment, buying the best medicine for him and letting him receive treatment in the best hospital, but finally he still died. Before his death, he said to his wife: “Dear, I’m only 30 years old, but I am about to leave this world, and leave you. I’m really reluctant! You and our children are all before me, but I can’t take you with me! No matter how good and big the house is, I can’t take it, either! No matter how much money I earn, can it give back my life? Everything is in vain! Everything is in vain …” His heartfelt words touched his wife’s heart. When she saw her husband was filled with regret, tears came streaming down her face.
Hearing this, I felt sorry for that husband, and couldn’t help sighing: The lives of us humans are so fragile. Even though we possess more money and have higher reputation, it still can’t cure us of the disease or save our lives. We can’t bring them into the world and can’t take them with us after we die. Will not all be empty in the end? Then I curiously asked my friend what happened to this wife later.
My friend continued the story: The spending on the husband’s treatment and his death made the situation of this family become worse. So as not to be looked down upon by others, every day this wife exhausted her energy to earn money and couldn’t stop just like a wound watch. Because of working like this year after year, finally she broke down and got insomnia, hypertension and heart disease, being dizzy and groggy every day just like riding on a roller coaster. The tiredness of life and the torment of illnesses made her more miserable who had already been under great stress of bringing up three children. It was not until the doctor said that her blood vessels would disintegrate and her life would be in danger if she continued to overwork like this that she had no choice but to stop working. At that moment, she crumpled to the floor, bursting out crying. However, it was too late. No matter how much money she had, it couldn’t give her back her health.
Hearing my friend’s narration, I couldn’t help being in deep thought: Now, I don’t lack material comforts and have my own career, but it’s full of hardships and frustrations as I walk the way. For the sake of wealth and fame, I worked my fingers to the bone every day, like a tight-wound spring, sacrificing my health; besides, I had to skillfully deal with the complicated personal relationships, scheming against each other and deceiving each other more and more. The increase of money and the temporary enjoyment of obtaining fame didn’t bring me the true happiness, but instead I was exhausted physically and mentally and extremely miserable. I couldn’t refrain from reconsidering: Why do we live so miserably? Exactly how should we live a life of significance and value?
Afterward, I saw these words in a book: “One exhausts a lifetime’s worth of energy fighting against fate, spends all of one’s time bustling about trying to feed one’s family and shuttling back and forth between wealth and status. The things that people treasure are family, money, and fame; they view these as the most valuable things in life. All people complain about their fates, yet still they push to the back of their minds the questions that it is most imperative to examine and understand: why man is alive, how man should live, what the value and meaning of life is. All of their lives, however many years that may be, they just rush about seeking fame and fortune, until their youth has fled, until they become gray and wrinkled; until they see that fame and fortune cannot stop one’s slide toward senility, that money cannot fill the emptiness of the heart; until they understand that no one is exempt from the law of birth, aging, sickness, and death, that no one can escape what fate has in store. … Only when people are about to let go of this world do they realize that the things they spent their lives pursuing are nothing but fleeting clouds, none of which they can hold onto, none of which they can take with them, none of which can exempt them from death, none of which can provide company or consolation to a lonely soul on its way back; and least of all, none of which can give a person, allow them to transcend death. Fame and fortune one gains in the material world give one temporary satisfaction, passing pleasure, a false sense of ease, and make one lose one’s way. And so people, as they thrash about in the vast sea of humanity, craving peace, comfort, and tranquility of heart, are subsumed again and again beneath the waves. When people have yet to figure out the questions that it is most crucial to understand—where they come from, why they are alive, where they are going, and so forth—they are seduced by fame and fortune, misled, controlled by them, irrevocably lost. Time flies; years pass in an eyeblink; before one realizes it, one has bid farewell to the best years of one’s life” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
This passage clearly tells us why we live so miserably. The root is that after our thoughts and viewpoints have been corrupted by Satan, our pursuit is headed in the wrong direction. Since our youth, we have been inculcated with all kinds of Satanic philosophies and influenced by all manner of speech from famous and great people, such as “Money is first,” “ranking higher than others,” “family prestige,” “feeling proud and elated,” and so on. We live by these ideological views and try our best to seek fame and fortune, thinking that only by having status and money can we live a meaningful life. For the sake of fame and fortune, we spend our lives rushing about and struggling painstakingly, and even pay the price of our life, but in the end we gain nothing. Just like that couple, in order to live a better life and hold their heads high before their relatives and friends, they bustled back and forth and struggled to make money all the time, yet finally this husband lost his young life and this wife became disease-ridden. In fact, we all feel very painful in the process of seeking fame and fortune. Even though we get them, our enjoyment is temporary, and afterward we still feel empty. However, seeing people around us all live in this way, we never think whether living like this is right or not. Until our youth has passed, until death approaches, we don’t come to know what we pursue is vanity, and that wealth and fame can’t buy health or keep death away. Besides, at the time of death, we can’t take anything with us, but regret and void. Our lives will be squandered in this way.
I saw more words in the book: “At the moment when a person is born, one lonely soul begins its experience of life on earth, its experience of the Creator’s authority which the Creator has arranged for it. Needless to say, for the person, the soul, this is an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge of the Creator’s sovereignty, to come to know His authority and to experience it personally” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). “Did Job live a life of value? Where was the value? Why is it said that he lived a life of value? … To God, the value of Job’s life lay in his ability to fear God, worship God, testify to the deeds of God, and praise the deeds of God, bringing God comfort and something to enjoy; to God, the value of Job’s life was also in how, before his death, Job experienced trials and triumphed over Satan, and bore resounding testimony to God before Satan and the people of the world, glorifying God among mankind, comforting God’s heart, and allowing God’s eager heart to behold an outcome, and see hope. His testimony set a precedent for the ability to stand firm in one’s testimony to God, and for being able to shame Satan in behalf of God, in God’s work of managing mankind. Is this not the value of Job’s life? Job brought comfort to God’s heart, he gave God a foretaste of the delight of being glorified….” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II”).
After reading, I understood more clearly. We humans were originally created by God; God gives us the opportunity to come into this world to experience life, to experience His work, and to get knowledge of the Creator’s sovereignty and authority. So in our lives, we should believe in God, worship God and live under His dominion; finally we can attain true knowledge of Him and obtain His commendation. This is what we should seek in our life, and this is the most meaningful thing. Just like Job, he spent his life seeking to know God’s sovereignty and authority, and walking the way of fearing God and shunning evil. Although he was the greatest of all the men of the east, and his assets were abundant, however, he didn’t live for fame and fortune, nor did he care the gaining or losing of his worldly possessions. Even when he lost all his property and all of his children, his body was covered with sore boils and he endured agony as no other person could, he didn’t give up walking in God’s way, nor did he deny, but he still extolled God’s great power, bearing beautiful and resounding testimony to God before Satan. At last, he gained true knowledge of God amid his experiences. Job’s pursuit was approved by God and also gratified God, and God bestowed double blessings upon him. Finally Job died full of days, and lived the utmost significant life.
Today, I can have the good fortune to come before God and accept the guidance and supply of God’s words. I am willing to live according to God’s words, seek to know and experience God’s sovereignty and authority in the course of believing in God, fulfill my duty as a creature to satisfy God, and submit everything to God’s hands. I will no longer struggle on the way of seeking fame and fortune with my own hands. I have truly experienced that when I live before God and fulfill my duty as a created being, my mind is at ease. I also have understood only God’s work can save me from Satan’s harm, so that I can freely follow and worship God like Job. Living in this way is the most valuable thing as well as the greatest happiness.
Let’s share a hymn of“Only Living in This Way Is Meaningful.”
“God allows you to live, and if you can live for God and live to perform the duties of a created being, then you are living confidently in righteousness. You are living confidently in righteousness.
“God allows you to live, and if you can live for God and live to perform the duties of a created being, then you are living confidently in righteousness. You are living confidently in righteousness. If you live the life of a walking corpse, without spirit and only struggling for breath, neither accepting nor understanding truth, only living for the flesh, then you do not live in a way that is confident and righteous because your living has no value. Now your every day can be lived to testify of God and spread this gospel of God’s work; it is approved by God. God permits you to live this way and gives you this opportunity.
“You should treasure this opportunity and feel pride, and honor. You should feel honor. To be of this age, and to be able to perform this duty in this environment and under these conditions—this is a rare opportunity, a rare opportunity! God carefully selects from among humanity, and He has chosen you. This is your opportunity; this is the greatest blessing. This blessing is even greater than the blessings of the saints throughout the ages and generations, even greater than the blessings of the saints throughout the ages and generations, even greater than the blessings of the saints throughout the ages and generations!”
By Xiao Yang, the United States