By Shixing, Malaysia
When I was young, my father, a compulsive gambler, lost all of the family’s money and fell in debt to loan sharks. As a result, our family of three started living like vagabonds and was looked down upon by our relatives and friends. So I made a resolution: After growing up, I will strive hard to earn money to change my family’s difficult circumstances so that my family will lead an abundant life and all those around us will look at us in a new light.
The Days When I Was Endlessly Busy in Pursuit of Money
At the age of sixteen, while attending school I did part-time jobs, selling things in a mall, brewing coffee in a coffee shop, washing dishes in a restaurant, and so on. Sometimes, I had blood blisters on my hands from so much work, and they even felt itchy because of an allergy. But to get more money, I was unwilling to give up and willing to do any job that offered a salary.
When I was eighteen years old, I dropped out of school to work in a factory. I worked 12 hours every day, and to get more overtime pay, I never had a day off on holidays, even on New Year’s Day. Besides, I alternated between day and night shifts every month. Because of lack of sleep, I felt drowsy and nearly had car accident several times on my way home from work. Although working like this tired me out, when I got my salary at the end of the month, it gave me great happiness and I felt all the tiredness and pain was worth it.
Later, through significant effort, I was promoted to team leader, then manager, then top executive, and my salary went up as well. I not only was able to pay back my father’s debts, but was also able to buy a house of my own. After achieving my dream, however, I wasn’t as happy as I had expected, for I thought that having a house was not a big deal, and that I still couldn’t be counted as a rich person. Then I began to plan to buy a car and start my own family. Several years later, I finally had my family of three. The increasing daily expenses, plus the car and mortgage loans, caused me to have greater financial commitments, and brought more and more pressure on me. So, my yearning for wealth grew rapidly. In addition, my wife thought that wealth could bring us security. Therefore, I had to exert myself more to make money. However, the pressures of both work and life made me clinically depressed, and so I could only take a break from work to stay at home, not wanting to face any person or thing. Despite this, my desire to make money didn’t weaken in the slightest. After a period of time, I bit the bullet and went back to work. Meanwhile, I started spending time and effort trying various means to earn money, studying and making all kinds of investments.
In November 2016, I joined an investment company. After much effort, I was quickly promoted to be a junior leader as well as a lecturer, I had my own team, and moreover, I received a high, stable salary. As my wallet became full of cash, I often took my family to eat nice food and play with nice things, and then posted the pictures we took on social media sites to show off. My relatives and friends began to cast looks of envy upon me, and often sought from me how to gain success. This made me feel that my status improved immediately and that I was respected and dignified. I thought, “Money really makes a difference!”
To have connections with more people, my company often arranged for me to attend lectures abroad where those I came into contact with were all billionaires or multimillionaires. Seeing that they all drove a nice car and wore name brands, I was consumed with envy and hoped to be as rich as them in the future, thinking that was true success. On top of that, during the lectures, we were inculcated with such thoughts as, “Money rules supreme” and “Being rich is the symbol of success.” Under the influence of these thoughts, my desire to pursue money became even stronger.
Feeling Pain Though Having Made Some Money
Through contacting with these rich people, gradually I found that most of what they talked about was their worries, such as marital betrayal, broken families, having no one to confide to, and so on, and that they attended some lectures on soul comforting in order to get rid of negative emotions and attain spiritual comfort. I was greatly shocked at this, thinking to myself, “They possess so much wealth, so by rights they should be happy and joyful. So why are they afflicted with so much pain and vexation? Could it be that material wealth cannot satisfy man’s spiritual needs?” At that time, I was constantly busy with my work, so I spent less and less time with my family. My daughter complained that I always went abroad for work, and my wife also complained about my not having enough time for her, which brought constant conflicts between the two of us. This made me feel upset and miserable: “Isn’t my working hard to make money for the sake of letting you live a better, abundant life? Why don’t you show any consideration for me?” In every quarrel, I would swallow up my anger and suppress my emotions. Sometimes, I felt so painful, and I would watch a movie alone and eat dessert to reduce pressure. Late at night when all was quiet, I would feel extremely empty and lonely. I often reflected: Why after all does man live this life? Why don’t I live happily but feel so miserable after having money? Yet no one could give me the answers.
Gaining a New Understanding of “Money Makes the World Go Round”
In September 2017, I was fortunate enough to accept God’s work of the last days. I watched a film of experience and testimony entitled Woe or Blessing, whose protagonist’s experience was very similar to mine. Because she came from a poor family, from an early age she was determined to make a lot of money. After she grew up, she began working in a medicine factory, then sold vegetables and fruits; after getting married, she started a restaurant business and later crossed the ocean to work abroad. In the end, she got ill through overwork and her health hit rock bottom. This touched me deeply. I came to feel that man’s life was the most important thing and that all the money in the world couldn’t buy health. Later, I saw the following passage of God’s words, “‘Money makes the world go round’ is the philosophy of Satan and it prevails among the whole of mankind, among every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been imparted to everyone and is now affixed in their heart. People went from not accepting this saying to growing used to it so that when they came into contact with real life, they gradually gave tacit approval to it, acknowledged its existence and finally, they gave it their own seal of approval. Isn’t this process that of Satan corrupting man? … So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. 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? Don’t many people see getting money as being worth any cost? Don’t many people sacrifice their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Don’t many more people lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Isn’t this a loss for people? (Yes.) Isn’t Satan sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Isn’t this a malicious trick?”
From God’s words, I understood that phrases such as “Money is first,” “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing” and “Money makes the world go round” are all erroneous thinking and perspectives instilled in us by Satan and that its purpose is to make us pay any price in pursuit of riches, thus straying away from God and finally losing God’s salvation. I started to think of how the influence of such erroneous thinking and perspectives had made me believe money could change everything, so much so that I had been struggling hard for it: I began working in my youth suffering all kinds of pain and torment, even nearly had a car accident and was afflicted with depression at one time. Despite this, I still painstakingly studied how to start a business and make investments, hoping to possess more money some day and enjoy an excellent material life. After I got some money, I was still not content and as my desire grew ever greater, I longed to become a multimillionaire or billionaire. Due to spending all day on work, I even had no time to be with my family and completely became a slave to money. Finally, I had my wish granted when I received some money, but I wasn’t happy within, and instead I felt physically and mentally exhausted, empty and miserable; the peace in my family was also broken. Then I thought of those rich people who studied together with me. Although they led a brilliant and enviable life, marital betrayal and complexed interpersonal relationships brought them endless worries and pain. This reminded me of what Solomon, the richest king, said in, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). The facts were indeed as described. Money can’t bring us happiness but only emptiness and suffering.
I saw more of God’s words, “When one has no God, when one cannot see Him, when one cannot clearly recognize God’s sovereignty, every day is meaningless, worthless, miserable. Wherever one is, whatever one’s job is, one’s means of living and the pursuit of one’s goals bring one nothing but endless heartbreak and irrelievable suffering, such that one cannot bear to look back. Only when one accepts the Creator’s sovereignty, submits to His orchestrations and arrangements, and seeks true human life, will one gradually break free from all heartbreak and suffering, shake off all the emptiness of life.” From God’s words, I realized that the root cause of why I felt empty and miserable was that I lacked knowledge of how God rules, had no correct outlook on life, and blindly pursued wealth. Now I became aware that what I needed was not money but coming before God and receiving the truth from Him. Without God and understanding the truth, I would be unable to deal with my family, marriage, and complicated interpersonal relationships; no matter how much money I got, life would still be hollow and fraught with suffering. Coming to this realization, I was no longer willing to pursue wealth or material enjoyment, and all I wanted to do was believe earnestly in God, pursue the truth, obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and live out a meaningful life.
Ceasing Pursuing Money, Following God Easily
From then on, I actively attended gatherings, read God’s words, and also did all I could to perform my duty within the church. Gradually, I came to understand some truths and see that what the lecturers instilled in us was all Satan’s life philosophies, which would only cause me to belong to the world more and more and be farther away from God. However, due to the requirements of my work, I had to go to lectures to receive training as my boss assigned. Moreover, I had to go against my will in teaching my team Satan’s life philosophies, which I thought didn’t accord with God’s will. Besides, I was too busy to go to gatherings regularly, much less focus on performing my duty. All this made me feel very indebted to God, but I was unwilling to give up the steady, high-paying job. For this reason, I was extremely distressed and I had no idea what to do. Therefore, I talked with a sister about my condition.
Then she sent me a passage of God’s words, “If I were to now place some riches in front of you and ask you to choose freely, knowing that[a] I would not condemn you, then most would choose the riches and forsake the truth. The better among you would give up the riches and reluctantly choose the truth, while those in between would seize the riches in one hand and the truth in the other. In this way, would your true colors not be self-evident? When choosing between the truth and anything to which you are loyal, you will all make such a decision, and your attitude will remain the same. Is that not so? Are there not many among you who fluctuated between right and wrong? In contests between positive and negative, black and white, you are surely aware of the choices that you made between family and God, children and God, peace and disruption, riches and poverty, status and commonness, being supported and being cast aside, and so on. … Many years of dedication and effort has apparently brought Me only resignation and your despair of Me. Yet My hopes for you grow with each passing day, for My day has already been completely laid out before every one. However, you continue to seek that which belongs to the darkness and evil, and refuse to loosen your hold. As such, what will be your outcome?” After I finished reading God’s words, tears streamed down my face. I suddenly realized that God simply had no place in my heart because it had been occupied with money and material desires. I always gave priority to my marriage, career, family, and money rather than God. I was someone who simply did not love the truth. God’s work is nearing its end, and now is the crucial moment for pursuing the truth and performing duties. Yet, to live a lavish lifestyle, I still clung to money, unwilling to ever let go. I was so busy with work every day that I failed to have gatherings normally, much less fulfill my duty as a created being. If I continued believing in God like this, then I would be unable to obtain the truth or achieve salvation. Instead, I would be swallowed by Satan due to following its evil trends. I thought: “In the past when I had no God, I only knew to work hard all day for wealth, thus living in emptiness and misery without comfort or joy inside. Now, I have the good fortune to come to God’s family, enjoy the supply and watering of God’s words, and have the opportunity for salvation. I can’t let God down. I must seek the truth and become someone who is approved by God.” Afterward, I quit the high-paying job and simply handled negligible investments to make a living. Thus, I had more time to go to meetings and fulfill my duty.
Now, although my life isn’t so rich, I feel peaceful and steady in the deeps of my heart because when encountering difficulties and problems, by relying on God, seeking the truth and getting the provision of God’s words, I am able to resolve them easily. It’s the greatest blessing in my life to be able to hear God of the last days speak out and meet face-to-face with Him. I’m willing to cherish this blessing. In the following days, I will pursue the truth in earnest, walk the right way of life, and become someone who is approved by God. All glory and praise be to God!
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “knowing that.”
Source: Daily Devotionals