How to Pursue the Truth (20) Part Three

Why should people who squander offerings be severely punished? First, let’s talk about where offerings come from. Offerings are given by brothers and sisters. According to biblical statutes, people should give a tenth of their earnings, though of course, many people donate more than just a tenth nowadays, and certain wealthy individuals give more than a tenth. Additionally, for certain impoverished brothers and sisters who give a tenth, where does their money come from? There is no lack of people who save it up by living frugally. Like in the countryside and in rural areas, some people give a tenth of their earnings from selling grain, some from selling chicken eggs, and some from selling goats and chickens. Many people live frugally in order to give a tenth or more—that is where this money comes from. The majority of people know this money is hard to come by. So, why do brothers and sisters donate? Is it required by God’s house? Is it that without donating, salvation is impossible? Is it to comply with the statutes of the Bible? Or is it to support God’s house in its work, thinking that the work of God’s house is significant and can’t be done without funding, and so they should give more? Is this their only reason? (No.) Then, why do brothers and sisters donate? Can it be that they’re naive? Or do they have money to spare? Are they donating extra money, or money they haven’t been able to spend? To whom are these donations being given? (To God.) Why do people donate? Forget the rest, the most basic reason for many people to donate is that they acknowledge God’s work. God speaks and works to freely provide life and truth to people, and to lead them. Thus, people should offer a tenth of what they earn. This is the offering. Throughout history, God has blessed people with food, water, and life’s necessities, and He prepared everything for them. When people are able to enjoy all this, they should offer a tenth of what God gave them back on the altar, representing a portion that humans return to God, and allowing God to enjoy their harvest. This is the token of affection that people, as created beings, should possess and offer up. Apart from this aspect, there is another. Some people say, “God’s work is so great, I can’t do much by myself, so I will give an offering, my portion.” In this way they show their support for the work of God’s house, and act as backers. Regardless of the source or amount of these donations, there is no dearth of people among them whose money is saved up through frugal living. In short, if it weren’t for God and for His work, if there were only the church and these human organizations and associations, then people’s donations would have no value or significance, because without God’s work and His words they wouldn’t have any use. But with God speaking and working, with the advancement of God’s work to save humankind, these donations and offerings become particularly important. The reason they are particularly important is that this donation money is used for the church’s work, and it should not be embezzled, seized, misappropriated, or even squandered by those with wrongful intentions. Isn’t that so? (Yes.) Since it is very important, every single penny should be used in key areas; nothing should be squandered or spent irresponsibly. Consequently, for those who squander, misappropriate, seize, or embezzle donations and offerings, we must handle them specially and punish them severely. Because these donations and offerings are crucial for God’s work, and considering the purpose behind brothers and sisters giving this money and these offerings, these donations should be allocated to the most critical areas. Every penny should be used with the principles and achieve results; it should not be squandered, and it should certainly not be seized by evil individuals. This is one aspect. In addition to this, regardless of whether the donation is large or small, it comes from the donation of brothers and sisters. The source of this money isn’t derived from the church engaging in commercial activities, opening businesses, or running factories to earn a profit from society. It doesn’t come from the dividends earned by producing something, it doesn’t come from the dividends or income of the church, but from people’s donations. In simple terms, a donation is something given to God by brothers and sisters; the money given to God ought to belong to God. What is God’s money used for? Some say, “God’s money and offerings are used for God’s enjoyment.” Is it all for God’s enjoyment? How much of it can God enjoy? It’s quite limited, isn’t it? During the time when God becomes flesh, His food, clothing, shelter, and needs, as well as His three meals a day, are average, and what He enjoys is limited. Of course, that’s quite normal. The principal use of the donations and offerings from brothers and sisters is to maintain the normal operation of the work of the church, not to satisfy certain people’s desire to spend. Offerings are not for people to spend, nor are they for people to use. It’s not that whoever manages the finances is given priority to use this money, or that whoever is a leader has the special authority to allocate funds. Regardless of which individual puts donations to use, they should be used according to the principles set by God’s house. That is the principle. So, what is the nature of someone violating this principle? Haven’t they transgressed against the administrative decrees? (Yes.) Why is it said that they’ve transgressed against the administrative decrees? The offerings people give to God are meant for God’s enjoyment. So how does God use them? God uses them for the work of the church, to maintain the normal operation of its work. This is the principle by which God makes use of offerings. However, antichrists and evil people do not use offerings in this manner. They squander, waste, or recklessly donate them, openly violating this principle in order to use the offerings. Isn’t this transgressing against the administrative decrees? Did God let you use them this way? Did He give you the right to use them this way? Did He tell you to use them this way? He didn’t, did He? Then why are you using them this way, so recklessly and wastefully? This is transgressing against the principle! This principle isn’t an ordinary one; it is related to administrative decrees. Because these offerings are not earned through engaging in business or commercial activities, but are donations offered by brothers and sisters to God, consequently every expenditure needs to be closely controlled and rigorously managed. There should be no squandering or wastefulness. Wasting or squandering any amount of money not only leads to significant losses in the work of God’s house, but also constitutes a significant financial loss for the house of God. Squandering offerings isn’t just squandering the offerings; it also shows a lack of responsibility toward the love expressed when brothers and sisters donate. Therefore, those who squander offerings must be severely punished. Admonish those with lighter offenses, and demand restitution at the same time. For those with more serious offenses, in addition to restitution, it is necessary to clear them out or expel them. There is another primary reason why severe punishment should be imposed on those who squander offerings. The church is distinct from any social organization. It is isolated in the midst of any country and any social environment, abandoned by the world and by humanity. Not only is the church unable to receive support or protection from any country, at the same time it cannot obtain any assistance or welfare from the state. At most, in Western countries, after registering and establishing a church, donations made to the church are exempt from personal taxation, or donated materials can be used to receive some tax deductions. Apart from this, the church cannot receive any welfare or assistance from any country or under any social system. If the church’s congregation becomes small and it can no longer stay in operation, the state won’t come to its aid. Instead, it would rather let it wither away on its own, because the church doesn’t generate any income and cannot pay any taxes to the state. Hence, whether the church exists or not is inconsequential to the state. The church finds itself in such a survival state under any social system. Tell Me, is this easy? (It isn’t easy.) Indeed, it really isn’t easy. The church is rejected by society and humanity, not receiving any recognition or sympathy, let alone support, from any social system. The church exists under these survival conditions. If someone is still able to squander offerings, still able to be heartless, pouring money down the drain, not taking any responsibility, blowing through 100,000 yuan in a moment, spending 1,000,000 yuan as if it were just a number, without blinking an eye, without feeling any reproach, do you think such a person possesses humanity? Are such individuals not deserving of curses? (Yes.) Summing up the various circumstances listed above, for those who squander offerings, who waste them, or who even harbor ill intentions toward the offerings, wishing to embezzle them or, not daring to embezzle them, squander them instead: All should be severely punished, there should be no leniency shown to them. Tell Me, is this a right approach? (Yes.) Then, if in the future you are given the opportunity to have authority to use offerings, how will you behave? If you cannot control yourselves, if you squander the offerings, then when it comes time for the church to punish you severely, will you have any complaints or grievances? (No.) It’s good that you won’t have any grievances. It will be what you deserve!

As for those people who squander offerings, don’t you hate them? Don’t they make you angry? Are you able to supervise or stop them? This takes things up a notch—it’s time for you to be tested. If there’s someone around you who squanders offerings, and insists on spending 20,000 yuan on a machine that could be bought for 2,000 yuan—who wants to buy the best, the top grade, the most modern, and the most fashionable machine, who wants to spend money on the most expensive machine, just because the money belongs to God’s house and does not come out of their own pockets—are you capable of stopping them? If you can’t stop them, can you warn them? Can you report them to the higher-ups? If you’re in charge of managing offerings, can you refuse to sign off in this situation? If you can’t do any of this, then you should also be severely punished. You’re also squandering offerings; you’re in league with that evil person, you’re their accomplice, and you both should be severely punished. What kind of attitude does someone have toward God if they can squander and be irresponsible with offerings? Is God in their heart? (No.) In My opinion, people like this have the same attitude toward God that Satan does. Some people say, “Anything related to God, to God’s name, His offerings, or His testimony—none of that concerns me. What does those people squandering offerings have to do with me?” What kind of thing are they? There are certain leaders and supervisors who sign off on everything, no matter what the church applies to purchase. They never question the applications, or examine them closely, or check them for problems; every application to purchase goods, whether the goods are expensive or cheap, practical or impractical, necessary or unnecessary—every single one gets approved with their signature. What is your approval? Is it just a signature? In My view, it’s your attitude toward God. Your attitude toward God’s offerings is your attitude toward God. Every stroke of your pen, every time you write your name, it’s evidence of your sin of blaspheming and disrespecting God. Why shouldn’t those who blaspheme and disrespect God in this way be severely punished? They must be severely punished! God supplies you with the truth, with life, with everything you have, and you approach Him and the things that belong to Him with this kind of attitude—what kind of thing are you? Each signature on an invoice is evidence of your sin of blaspheming God, and of your disrespectful attitude toward God; this is the most conclusive evidence. No matter what materials are being purchased, no matter the amount, you don’t even check the approval form, you just sign away with a swipe of your pen. You’re ready to sign off arbitrarily on 100,000 or 200,000 yuan purchases. Someday you will have to pay the price for your signature—whoever signs bears the responsibility! Since you behave in this way, since you can sign at random without even reviewing the applications first, and arbitrarily squander offerings, you should bear responsibility and pay the price for your own actions. If you’re not afraid to face the consequences, then go ahead, sign your name. Your signature represents your attitude toward God. If you can act like this even toward God, treating Him like this in an open and brazen manner, then how do you expect God to treat you? God has already been patient enough with you, He has given you breath, and allowed you to live up until now. Instead of continuing to treat God in the same way and with the same attitude, what you should do is confess and repent to God, and reverse your attitude. Don’t keep blindly contending with God. If you continue treating God in the same way and with the same attitude, then you know what the consequences will be. If you are unable to obtain God’s forgiveness, your belief will have been in vain. What use will your belief be then? You believe in God but squander His trust in you and His commission to you. Tell Me, what kind of thing are you? Some people act as leaders or supervisors in God’s house. They’ve performed their duties for many years, and it can be said that I’ve interacted with them for many years. Ultimately, I’ve come to a conclusion about them: These people are worse than dogs. Their actions are not only heartbreaking, even more so, they are repulsive. I like raising dogs and interacting with them. The dogs I’ve raised over the years have all turned out quite well. The dogs I like generally don’t deliberately antagonize people. If you show a dog a bit of kindness, it will return it ten-fold. As long as you are truly good to it, even if you place a newspaper or a pair of shoes in the yard, it will lie down beside them and guard them for you. Sometimes, if you throw something you don’t want away, the dog will think you lost it, and guard it for you without wandering away. After a while, I summed up what I learned and said, “People are worse than dogs!” Dogs guard houses—they use their abilities and skills to guard your house with their lives. People don’t even have hearts, let alone do they guard things with their lives. They won’t even say a word to safeguard the work of the church. They are less than a guard dog! This is the distinction I’ve drawn between people and dogs. These people who squander offerings are lower than guard dogs. Do you agree that they should be severely punished? (Yes.) God puts His trust in people, and entrusts them with work and duties. This is God exalting them and thinking well of them. It’s not that they deserve to do that work, or that they have good caliber and humanity, or are up to the job. And yet, people fail to recognize the favor shown to them, they always think they are capable of doing the church’s work, that they’ve earned this through their own hard work and expenditures. Everything they have is given to them by God. What have they earned? Are they resting on their laurels? God exalts people to do their duties, but they fail to recognize the favor shown to them, or to understand what is good for them. They don’t live up to His trust and His exaltation. They squander God’s trust and His exaltation. In such cases, I am sorry, but they must be severely punished. God gives people opportunities, but people don’t know what is good for them, they don’t know to cherish the opportunities God gives them. He gives them a chance, but they do not want it. They think that God is easy to push around, that He’s forgiving, that He won’t see or know what’s going on. Consequently, they dare to unscrupulously squander offerings, betraying God’s trust, lacking even the most basic human character and conscience. What are they still believing for? They shouldn’t bother believing, they ought to just go worship Satan. God doesn’t need their worship. They are not worthy!

Have we not more or less fellowshipped enough on the first topic of letting go of careers—not engaging in charity? Have you understood the truth principles contained within this topic? What are the principles here? (The principles are that doing charity is not the mission given to humans by God. It has no relation at all to practicing the truth or pursuing salvation. When a person does a few good deeds, they are merely a reflection of their individual behavior.) Engaging in charity is unrelated to the pursuit of the truth. Don’t mistakenly believe that by doing charity work, you are practicing the truth, or someone who has attained salvation. This is a huge misconception. Practicing the truth does not include doing charity, nor does it include engaging in charity work. The goal of believing in God is to attain salvation. Believing in God is not about accumulating merits or doing good deeds, it is not about enjoying doing good things or philanthropy, nor is it about engaging in charity. Believing in God has no connection to engaging in charity; it is about pursuing the truth and accepting God’s salvation. So, people’s ideas that faith in God is about doing charity or engaging in charity work, or that doing charity is equivalent to believing in God and satisfying Him, are all horribly misguided. Whatever charity you get involved in, and whatever things you do that relate to charity, these merely represent you personally. Whether they are occasional actions or something you engage in as a career, these things merely reflect your own good behavior. This behavior may have a connection to a religion, social behavior, or moral criteria, but it absolutely has no relation to believing in God and pursuing the truth, or to following God’s way, and it has absolutely nothing to do with His requirements. But then again, why should one not do charity? God is a God who takes compassion on people, who has compassion and love. He pities humanity, so why doesn’t God commemorate people’s charitable deeds? Why doesn’t doing charity earn God’s commemoration? Isn’t this a problem? Is demanding that people not do charity a sign that God doesn’t love humanity? Doesn’t this contradict the pity that God has for humanity? (No.) Why not? (Because there are principles to God’s compassion and love, and His compassion and love are directed toward specific individuals. He grants them to those who accept the truth, practice the truth, and genuinely repent. As for those nonbelievers who cannot accept the truth, they are not the ones that God intends to save.) There are principles to God’s compassion and love, and His compassion and love are directed toward specific individuals. Go on, what else is there? Is there a connection between engaging in charity work and believing in God? (No.) So, does engaging in charity conflict with believing in God? When participating in any form of charity work, do people not need to invest time, energy, and even money? When you engage in charity work, you can’t simply pay lip service to it without contemplating or considering the work. If you genuinely treat it as a profession, you’ll certainly need to invest time, energy, and even considerable sums of money. Once you’ve invested time, energy, and money, won’t you then be bound and controlled by the charity work you’re doing? Will you still have energy to pursue the truth? Will you still have energy to do your duty? (No.) When you pursue any career in life, no matter what career you engage in, if you do it full time, you will inevitably invest and sacrifice your lifetime’s energy and your whole life. It will cost you your home, your feelings, your fleshly pleasures, and your time. Similarly, if you truly treat charity as a profession and carry it out accordingly, all the time and energy you have will get wrapped up in it. An individual has a finite amount of energy. If you’re controlled by charity work, and you want to give consideration to both charity work and your belief in God in an equal and balanced manner, and furthermore, wish to do both things well, this will not be an easy task. If you want to balance these two things at the same time, but you aren’t able to, you will have to make a choice. If you are to choose which to keep and which to discard, how will you decide? Shouldn’t you select the most meaningful and valuable endeavor to carry out? Then if both believing in God and engaging in charity appear in your life at the same time, what choice should you make? (I should choose to believe in God.) Don’t most people choose to believe in God? Seeing that you all made that choice, isn’t it quite normal that God doesn’t let people engage in charity? (Yes.) Engaging in charity has helped many living things and provided sustenance to many people, but what will you ultimately gain from it? You will satisfy your vanity. Is this truly gaining something, and is it what you should be gaining? Your ideal will have been realized, your value will have been demonstrated, that’s it—but is this the path you should walk in life? (No.) What will you eventually gain from it? (Emptiness.) You will gain nothing at all. Your vanity will be temporarily satisfied, you will receive a bit of praise from others, or medals and honors in society, but that’s it, and all your energy and time will have been used up. What will you have gained? Honor, a good reputation, and accolades—these are all empty things. However, the truths that people ought to comprehend and the life paths they should take in this life cannot be understood or gained merely by engaging in charity. Believing in God is different. If you sincerely expend yourself for God and pursue the truth, then your investments of time and energy will yield good and positive results. If you know and understand the things that people should comprehend the most—how people should live, how they should worship God, how they view different matters, what viewpoints and stances they should have when they act, what the most correct way to comport oneself is, and how to comport oneself in a way that will be commemorated by the Creator, in a way that means one is walking the proper path—then this is the proper path and it is truly gaining something. Within your life, you will have gained much that unbelievers cannot learn, things that someone with humanity should possess. These things come from God, from the truth, and they will have become your life. From this, you will transform into a person who takes the truth as their life; your life will no longer be empty, and you will no longer be perplexed or waver. Are these not higher and more valuable gains? Are they not more valuable than doing some charitable work to satisfy your vanity for a moment? (Yes.) These gains that involve the truth, and the path that people should walk, will grant you a new life. There is nothing in the human world that can compare to this new life, and nothing can replace it. Of course, this new life is priceless and eternal. It is something that you attain after you have dedicated your time, energy, and youth, after you’ve paid a certain price and made certain sacrifices. Isn’t it worth it? It is most certainly worth it. But what will you gain if you engage in charity? You won’t gain anything. Those honors and medals are not gains. Others’ approval and affirmation, other people saying that you are a good person or a great philanthropist—can these be considered gains? (No.) All these are temporary things, and they will soon fade away with time. When you can no longer grasp these things, when you can no longer feel them, you will be filled with regret, and say, “What have I done in my life? I’ve cared for a few cats and dogs, adopted some orphans, helped some poor people to live good lives, to eat good food and to have nice clothes to wear, but what about me? What have I lived for? Is it possible that I lived only for them? Is that my mission? Is this the responsibility that Heaven entrusted to me? Is this the obligation that Heaven gave me? Surely not. Then, what does a person live for in this life? Where do people come from, and where do they go in the future? I don’t understand these most fundamental issues.” And so, when you reach this stage, you will feel that those honors are not gains, and that they are just external things. This is because you would have been the same person if you hadn’t been involved in charity, as after doing charity up until that day, obtaining all those accolades and honors—in either case, your inner life won’t have changed. The things you don’t understand will still be unknown to you, you’ll still be puzzled and perplexed. And at that time, not only will you be more perplexed, and more confused, but you will also feel more uneasy. At this point, it will be too late for regrets. Your life will have passed, your best times will be gone, and you will have chosen the wrong path. Therefore, before you make the decision to engage in charity work, or when you have just started doing charity work, if you wish to pursue the truth and attain salvation, you should let go of such ideas. Of course, you should also let go of all activities related to this work and throw yourself wholeheartedly onto the path of believing in God and pursuing salvation. In the end, even if what you obtain and gain is not as much or tangible as you initially imagined, at the very least, you won’t be filled with regret. No matter how little you gain, it will still be more than what those who’ve spent their whole lives in religion believing in the Lord will receive. That is a fact. Therefore, while choosing a career, in one respect, people need to let go of their ideas and plans to engage in charity. In another, they should also rectify their notions with regard to their thoughts. There’s no need for them to envy those in society who are engaged in charity work, or to think how altruistic, great, noble, and selfless they are, saying, “Look at how noble and selfless they act while assisting other people. Why can’t we be selfless? Why can’t we achieve that?” Firstly, you don’t need to envy them. Secondly, you don’t need to reprove yourself. If God hasn’t chosen them, they have their own missions and pursuits. Regardless of what they’re pursuing, whether it’s fame and profit, or realizing their own ideals and desires, you don’t need to concern yourself with that. What you should be concerned with is what you ought to pursue and what sort of path you should take. The most practical issue is that, since God has chosen you, and you’ve come into God’s house, and you are a member of the church, and furthermore, as you are in the ranks of those performing their duties, you should ponder over how to embark upon the path of salvation while performing your duty, how to practice the truth, how to enter into the truth reality, and reach the point where God’s words are wrought within you and become your life through your pursuits and the various prices you pay. In the not-too-distant future, when you look back at the state you were in when you first came to believe in God, you’ll find that your inner life has changed. You will no longer be a person whose life is based on their corrupt dispositions. You will no longer be an arrogant, ignorant, aggressive, and foolish person who thinks themselves second to none, as you once were. Instead, the word of God will have become your new life. You will know how to follow God’s way, and you will know how to handle everything you encounter in life according to God’s intentions, and in accordance with the truth principles. You will spend every day in such a grounded manner, and you will have a precise goal and direction in everything you do. You will know what you should and shouldn’t do. All these things will be as clear in your mind as a mirror. Your daily life won’t be bewildering, exhausting, or depressing. Instead, it will be filled with light, it will have goals and a direction. At the same time, you will feel a drive in your heart. You will feel that you’ve changed, that you’ve gained a new life, and that you’ve become a person who has made God’s words their life. Isn’t this good? (Yes.) We will conclude our fellowship here on not engaging in charity, which is the first principle within the topic of letting go of careers.

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