93. Harmonious Cooperation Is Key in a Duty
By Katherine, USA
In the summer of 2020, Sister Audrea and I were making videos in the church. At the time, I was responsible for assigning tasks. I arranged for Audrea to do simple tasks, while I was producing the important ones. I thought I could handle them on my own because I had always completed major tasks alone in the past. I had more practice than Audrea, so I felt she didn’t need to be involved in those tasks. Besides, if I did it independently, the credit would go to me, which would better highlight my abilities and make my brothers and sisters look up to me. Later, my workload increased significantly, so I had to work overtime every day. Sometimes, Audrea slept early while I still burned the midnight oil, I woke up earlier in the morning than her, and I felt very tired. But I didn’t want to let her share the burden with me. I had always completed my tasks on my own, so if she helped me with my workload, the brothers and sisters would definitely think my capabilities in my work were poor, which would be embarrassing. Sometimes I thought, if I let Audrea help, things would go faster, I wouldn’t be so busy, and the results would be better than if I did it alone. But when I thought about sharing the credit with her, I was unsatisfied. And so, just like that, I never let Audrea participate in my tasks. At the time, I didn’t reflect on myself until one day, when a sister told me Audrea didn’t bear a burden in her duty and asked me to fellowship with her. I then thought, “Does Audrea not bearing a burden have something to do with me? I’m so busy every day, and I know she has time, but I don’t assign her new tasks, which leaves her nothing to do.” I vaguely realized that doing this wasn’t right, and that by doing the job alone, I would eventually delay the work of the church. But then I thought I could handle it by trying a little harder, so I left things as they were. Although I realized my intention was wrong, I still couldn’t let go, which was very painful for me, so I prayed to God, asking Him to guide me in forsaking my wrong intentions.
During my devotionals, I read this passage of God’s word, “Although leaders and workers have partners, and everyone who performs any duty has a partner, antichrists believe they have good caliber and are better than ordinary people, so ordinary people are not worthy of being their partner, and are all inferior to them. This is why antichrists like to call the shots and don’t like to discuss things with anyone else. They think doing so makes them look stupid and incompetent. What kind of viewpoint is this? What kind of disposition is this? Is this an arrogant disposition? They think that to cooperate and discuss things with others, to ask them questions and seek answers from them, is undignified and demeaning, an affront to their self-respect. And so, in order to protect their self-respect, they don’t allow transparency in anything they do, nor do they tell others about it, much less discuss it with them. They think that to discuss with others is to show themselves as incompetent; that to always solicit other people’s opinions means they are stupid and incapable of thinking for themselves; that working with others in completing a task or sorting out some problem makes them appear useless. Isn’t this their arrogant and absurd mentality? Isn’t this their corrupt disposition? The arrogance and self-righteousness within them is too obvious; they have lost all normal human reason, and they aren’t quite right in the head. They always think they have abilities, can finish things by themselves, and have no need to coordinate with others. Since they have such corrupt dispositions, they are unable to achieve harmonious cooperation. They believe that to work with others is to dilute and fragment their power, that when work is shared with others, their own power is lessened and they can’t decide everything for themselves, meaning they lack real power, which for them is a tremendous loss. And so, no matter what happens to them, if they believe they understand and they know how to handle it, they won’t discuss it with anyone else, they will want to keep control over it. They will prefer to make mistakes over letting other people know, they will prefer to be wrong over sharing power with someone else, and they will prefer dismissal over letting other people interfere in their work. This is an antichrist. They would rather harm the interests of God’s house, would rather wager the interests of God’s house, than share their power with anyone else. They think that when they’re doing a piece of work or handling some matter, as long as they understand some doctrines and are capable of doing it themselves, they don’t need to collaborate with anyone else; they think that it should be carried out and completed alone, and that only this makes them competent. Is this view correct? They don’t know that if they violate principles, they aren’t fulfilling their duties, so they aren’t able to carry out God’s commission, and are merely doing service. Rather than seek the principles of truth when performing their duty, they exercise power according to their thoughts and intentions, show off, and parade themselves. No matter who their partner is or what they do, they never want to discuss things, they always want to act on their own, and they always want to have the final say. They are obviously playing with power and using power to do things. Antichrists all love power, and when they have status, they want more power. When they possess power, antichrists are liable to show off, parade themselves, and stand out from the crowd. Thus do the antichrists fixate upon power and status, and will never relinquish it, ever” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Eight (Part One)). In God’s word, I saw that antichrists have a very arrogant disposition and don’t cooperate with anyone. They think that if they share work with others, they will appear incompetent, power will be dispersed, and they won’t be admired by others. So, they would rather let the work of the church be impacted than share work with others. I reflected and realized I was the same. I didn’t want Audrea to take part in my tasks because I feared her participation would make me seem incompetent and damage my image, so I did it alone. As a result, I was exhausted, and the work was delayed. I really was too arrogant and unreasonable! No matter what work exists in the church, no one can do it alone. Everyone needs partners and help, and brothers and sisters need to work together with one heart to complete the work, because no one is perfect. No matter how high their caliber, or what their gifts and talents are, everyone has shortcomings and deficiencies, and we need to learn to let go of ourselves and cooperate with our partners to perform our duties well. But I had an arrogant disposition. I was too ambitious in my duty, I wanted all the credit, and I wanted others to admire me. I would rather delay the church’s work than allow people to join or interfere in my work. By doing my duty in this way, I was not accruing good deeds, I was doing evil! When I realized this, I felt very sad, so I came before God and prayed, “God, I am too arrogant, and I lack all humanity and reason. I wish to repent. Please guide me in knowing myself.”
One day I was looking for parts of God’s word related to my state, and I found this passage, “What must one do to perform their duty well? One must come to perform it with all their heart and all their energy. Using all one’s heart and energy means keeping all one’s thoughts on performing their duty and not letting other things occupy them, and then applying the energy that one has, exerting the entirety of one’s power, and bringing one’s caliber, gifts, strengths, and the things they have understood to bear on the task. If you are comprehending and acceptant and have a good idea, you must communicate with others about it. This is what it means to cooperate in harmony. This is how you will perform your duty well, how you will achieve satisfactory performance of your duty. If you wish always to take on everything yourself, if you always want to do great things alone, if you always want the focus to be on you and not others, are you performing your duty? What you are doing is called autocracy; it is putting on a show. It is satanic behavior, not the performance of duty. No one, no matter their strengths, gifts, or special talents, can take on all the work themselves; they must learn to cooperate in harmony if they are to do the church’s work well. That is why harmonious cooperation is a principle of the practice of performing one’s duty. As long as you apply all your heart and all your energy and all your faithfulness, and offer up everything you can do, you are performing your duty well. If you have a thought or idea, tell it to others; do not hold it back or keep it tucked away—if you have suggestions, offer them; whoever’s idea is in accordance with the truth is to be accepted and obeyed. Do this, and you will have achieved cooperation in harmony. This is what it means to perform one’s duty faithfully. In performing your duty, you are not to take on everything yourself, nor are you to work yourself to death, or to be ‘the only flower in blossom’ or maverick; rather, you are to learn how to cooperate with others in harmony, and to do all you can, to fulfill your responsibilities, to exert all your energy. That is what it means to perform your duty. To perform your duty is to brandish all the power and light that you have in order to achieve a result. That is enough. Do not try always to show off, always to say high-sounding things, to do things by yourself. You should learn how to work with others, and you should focus more on listening to others’ suggestions and discovering their strengths. In this way, cooperating in harmony becomes easy. If you try always to show off and have what you say go, you are not cooperating in harmony. What are you doing? You are causing a disturbance and undermining others. To cause a disturbance and undermine others is to play the role of Satan; it is not the performance of duty. If you always do things that cause a disturbance and undermine others, then no matter how much effort you expend or care you take, God will not remember” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation). As I contemplated God’s word, I felt ashamed. God’s word revealed my state. To show off and establish myself, and be looked up to, I wanted to take on video work alone, without letting Audrea participate. I felt that if Audrea got involved, I would be robbed of credit. That way, I wouldn’t have the capital to show off, and there would be no way for me to gain others’ admiration. I thought I would lose out like that. I knew the workload was heavy, that I would cause delays if I did it alone, and that if Audrea was involved, the work would be done faster and the results would be better. I also knew most of the work in the team was in my hands, that she was often idle and had no work, and that her state was affected, but I still wouldn’t let her share the burden with me. I wanted to do the job by myself both to claim all the credit for myself, and also to prove I had good technical and professional skills. All I was thinking about the whole time was my status and face. I didn’t consider the work of the church at all, and I didn’t care about my sister’s feelings. I really had no conscience or humanity! Outwardly, I woke up early and worked hard every day, as if I could bear a burden, suffer, and pay a price, but actually, I was engaging in personal endeavors and satisfying my own ambitions and desires. I wasn’t fulfilling my duty as a created being at all. I was disturbing the work of the church under the pretext of doing my duty, and committing evil. And I was walking the path of an antichrist.
Later, I saw two more passages of God’s words: “When God requires that people fulfill their duty well, He is not asking them to complete a certain number of tasks, or accomplish any great endeavors, nor to perform any great undertakings. What God wants is for people to be able to do all they can in a down-to-earth way, and live in accordance with His words. God does not need you to be great or honorable, nor does He need you to bring about any miracles, nor does He want to see any pleasant surprises in you. He does not need such things. All God needs is for you to steadfastly practice according to His words. When you listen to God’s words, do what you have understood, carry out what you have comprehended, remember what you have heard, and then, when the time comes to practice, practice according to God’s words, so that God’s words may become your life, your realities, and what you live out. Thus, God will be satisfied. You are always seeking greatness, nobility, and status; you always seek exaltation. How does God feel when He sees this? He loathes it, and He will be apart from you. The more you pursue things like greatness, nobility, and being superior to others, distinguished, outstanding, and noteworthy, the more disgusting God finds you. If you do not reflect upon yourself and repent, then God will despise you and forsake you. Be sure not to be someone whom God finds disgusting; be a person that God loves. So, how can one attain God’s love? By receiving the truth obediently, standing in the position of a created being, acting by God’s words with one’s feet on the ground, performing one’s duties properly, trying to be an honest person, and living out the likeness of a human being. This is enough, God will be satisfied. People must be sure not to hold ambition or entertain idle dreams, not to seek fame, gains, and status or to stand out from the crowd. Moreover, they must not try to be a person of greatness or superhuman, who is superior among men and makes others worship them. That is the desire of corrupt humanity, and it is the path of Satan; God does not save such people. If people incessantly pursue fame, gains, and status and refuse to repent, then there is no cure for them, and there is only one outcome for them: to be cast out” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation). “What is the standard by which a person’s deeds are judged to be good or evil? It depends on whether or not they, in their thoughts, expressions, and actions, possess the testimony of putting the truth into practice and of living out the reality of the truth. If you do not have this reality or do not live this out, then without doubt, you are an evildoer. How does God see evildoers? Your thoughts and external acts do not bear testimony for God, nor do they put Satan to shame or defeat it; instead, they shame God, and are riddled with marks that cause God to be ashamed. You are not testifying for God, not expending yourself for God, nor are you fulfilling your responsibility and obligations to God; instead, you are acting for your own sake. What does ‘for your own sake’ mean? To be exact, it means for Satan’s sake. Therefore, in the end, God will say, ‘Depart from Me, you that work iniquity.’ In God’s eyes, you have not done good deeds, but rather your behavior has turned evil. It will not only fail to gain God’s approval—it will be condemned. What does one with such a belief in God seek to gain? Would such belief not come to naught in the end?” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). From God’s words, I understood God’s will. In fact, God’s requirements of man are simple. God doesn’t need people to do great things or do many earth-shattering deeds, and God doesn’t ask us to be exceptional or great men. God only wants us to stand in the position of a created being, pursue the truth in a down-to-earth manner, do our duties to the best of our ability, and live by God’s word. God evaluates whether we are qualified in performing our duties not based on how much we achieve or the size of our contribution, but on whether our motives for doing things are being considerate of God’s will, and whether we do our best. Only when we have the right motives and take the right path can we have testimony in our duty. If people perform their duty only to satisfy their own ambitions and desires, no matter how much effort they expend or how much they contribute, in the end, they will be despised and cast out by God. I realized that I always wanted to keep all the credit for my duty. My arrogant disposition made me want to do all the work and not cooperate with my partner. I worked hard and exhausted myself to make others think highly of me. None of my effort was to satisfy God, it was all to satisfy my personal desires and ambitions. Even if I achieved some things, and gained the admiration and approval of others, what was the point? None of this meant I performed my duty in a qualified manner. On the contrary, I acted by my satanic dispositions, took on the work alone, delayed the progress of the video work, and disturbed the work of the church. Eventually, I would have ended up being rejected and cast out by God. In reality, cooperating with Audrea would make up for my shortcomings in my duty. She focused on learning, was willing to study, and her skills had progressed rapidly, but I didn’t focus on studying skills, and mostly relied on my experience. Although I had been doing this duty for a long time, my skills hadn’t improved much. On top of that, a person’s thoughts are always one-sided. People with self-awareness can let go of themselves in their duty, and are willing to cooperate with others to perform their duties well. This is the reason we should possess and how we should practice. But I was arrogant, self-righteous, and desired status. I didn’t want to let go of my interests and cooperate with my sister. These things impacted the progress and results of the work. If I had cooperated with her earlier, and we had helped each other, the results of the work would have been much better than they were. The more I reflected, the more I saw I was too arrogant and had no humanity, and I hated myself and felt regret for my actions. I didn’t want to do my duty with these intentions. I came before God and prayed, “God, I always do my duty with ambition, doing things for my personal fame and status. I don’t want to pursue like this anymore. I wish to repent, forsake my wrong intentions, and work with my sister to perform my duty well.”
During my devotionals the next morning, I read these words of God, “Those who are capable of putting the truth into practice can accept God’s scrutiny when doing things. When you accept God’s scrutiny, your heart is set straight. If you only ever do things for others to see, always want to gain others’ praise and admiration, yet you do not accept God’s scrutiny, then is God still in your heart? Such people have no reverence for God. Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; do not consider the interests of man, and give no thought to your own pride, reputation, or status. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have been loyal, fulfilled your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of the church. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently and figure them out, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, if your experience is shallow, or if you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and the results may not be very good—but you will have put forth your best effort. In everything you do, you do not satisfy your own selfish desires or preferences. Instead, you give constant consideration to the work of the church and the interests of the house of God. Although you may not perform your duty well, your heart has been rectified; if, on top of this, you can seek the truth to solve the problems in your duty, then your duty will be up to standard and you will be able to enter into the reality of the truth. This is bearing testimony” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). After contemplating God’s words, I found a path of practice. To perform a duty, you must let go of your own interests and consider the interests of the church. Regardless of whether your own face or status suffers, what matters is to protect the church’s work and fulfill your duty. After I understood God’s will, I no longer considered what others would think of me. I only thought about how to fulfill my duty well and satisfy God. So, I shared with Audrea some of my tasks, and she very quickly agreed. Before long, Audrea’s state reversed, she wasn’t as idle as before, and we successfully cleared the work backlog. After this, I felt very at ease. I also truly realized how good it is to practice the truth and cooperate harmoniously in my duty.
After a while, we received a new task. I involuntarily thought, “If I take it on alone, I won’t have to share the credit. With my abilities, I can do it by myself. I don’t need to involve Audrea. I would look incompetent if she also participates in this task. All my brothers and sisters would laugh at me.” Thinking of that, I wanted to handle it on my own. At that moment, I realized my intentions were wrong. I was still acting to serve my personal interests. I recalled God’s words, “If, in your heart, you are still fixated on status and prestige, still preoccupied with showing off and earning the admiration of others, then you are not someone who pursues the truth, and you walk the wrong path; what you pursue is not the truth, nor the life, but the things that you love, it is status and prestige—in which case, nothing you do will relate to the truth, it will all count as evildoing, and doing service” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Good Behavior Does Not Mean One’s Disposition Has Changed). God’s word woke me up. I always involuntarily do selfish things. I am really petty and self-interested. I hated myself for being too corrupted, and I wished to forsake my wrong intentions and practice the truth. So, I asked Audrea to participate in the new task with me. Since then, when it’s time to assign tasks, I always consult with Audrea and ask her opinion, and when I want to take all the work to get all the credit, I consciously forsake myself, and based on the needs of the duty, assign tasks to Audrea. Practicing like this, I feel at peace and at ease.
Having been through this experience, I now have some understanding of my satanic disposition. I also realize that harmonious cooperation is key to fulfilling my duty well. It’s simply impossible to do your duty well by yourself. Only by cooperating harmoniously can we have the Holy Spirit’s guidance.