Don’t Scheme for Options in a Duty
By Jingmo, USA
I performed a music scoring duty for over four years. Due to the needs of church work, some brothers and sisters around me were often transferred in their duties, some because they lacked the ability, after which they were assigned to other duties. This all felt very unstable to me. I thought, “If I am transferred one day, I don’t know what duty I will be arranged for. If it’s something I’m not good at, or I am ineffective, I could be transferred again. And if there is never a proper duty for me, doesn’t that mean I will be cast out and can’t be saved?” When I thought about this, I especially didn’t want to be transferred, but I felt fortunate that my duty was stable for the moment. Later, the workload of our team was gradually reduced, and some of my brothers and sisters were transferred to other duties, so I started to worry. “I don’t have the best professional skills, so maybe I will be transferred. I don’t have any other special skills, so without this duty, what else can I do? If I end up not performing any duty, isn’t that the same as being cast out?” For a long time, I lived in this state of worry and fear. No matter who around me was transferred, I was very worried about my future.
In July last year, my leader asked me to do a part-time duty in my spare time. After introducing the work to me, the leader said casually, “This work will continue, so settle in and perform the duty well.” When I heard this, my heart lit up, because this duty seemed more stable and longer-lasting than the scoring duty. The people in this team seemed to be the same few people. Some of them had been in this duty for six or seven years, and hadn’t ever been transferred. This seemed like a better duty! I knew I had to practice and master it as soon as I could. If I was transferred from my scoring duty one day, I still had a backup plan. As long as I practiced well and didn’t make major mistakes, I could remain in this duty forever, and I wouldn’t have to worry about being cast out for not having a duty anymore. This thought was very reassuring, and made me very happy. I felt receiving such a good opportunity really was God’s grace. From that moment, I paid special attention to this part-time duty. When there were things I didn’t understand, I asked the others, hoping to master it quickly.
Unexpectedly, just over half a month later, my scoring duty began to get busy, so I didn’t have much time and energy to take care of my part-time duty, but I still wanted to focus on my part-time work, because I worried that if I didn’t meet my weekly workload, I was very likely to lose this duty. So, I put off my scoring work as long as I could, and I thought a few days of delay shouldn’t affect anything. But because I was in a hurry, I often made foolish mistakes. In my part-time duty, I was often careless, or made the same mistakes repeatedly. The team leader saw that I spent all my time on part-time duty, and all the delays in my work, and asked me to seriously consider whether I could handle both duties. Although I knew there was a conflict in fulfilling both duties and I caused delays in scoring work, I still didn’t want to admit it, because I knew once I said things were too busy, the team leader would stop me from holding my part-time duty, which could mean I would lose this long-lasting and stable duty. I couldn’t accept that, so I made an excuse to the team leader, saying that there were urgent tasks in both duties that came at the same time, but situations like this only happened occasionally, not most of the time. I added that I was still a novice at my part-time duty, but it would be better once I was familiar with it, and I just needed a little more time to get used to things. Beyond that, I said, although I’m busier than before, it filled up my time during my duty. The team leader didn’t say anything more after that.
But, a few days later, he reminded me again to seek more on the matter of performing two duties and find how to practice in accordance with God’s will. He also said he could see I especially wanted to keep my part-time duty, and asked me to reflect on whether I had any incorrect views or intentions towards it. When I heard the team leader say this, I admitted I wanted to keep my part-time duty, but I felt I did things based on which work needed it more. I spent more time on whichever work was most urgent, which seemed to be the right thing. A little later, I realized that God’s will was behind the team leader’s reminder, and I had to properly reflect on myself. I came before God and prayed, “God, I know the team leader’s reminder contains Your will, but I don’t know where to start to reflect on myself. I feel a little sad, so I ask that You enlighten and guide me.” After I prayed, I wondered why the team leader reminded me to reflect on my attitude towards my duty. Was it because I had the wrong intentions in my duty? At that moment, I realized that before I had a part-time duty, I still cherished my scoring duty. I thought of it as my only way out, and I feared losing it. When the leader gave me this part-time duty, I compared the two, and when I saw that the part-time duty was more stable and long-lasting than my own duty, I wanted to do all I could to hold on to it. I thought that only if I had a stable, long-lasting duty, and wasn’t replaced, I was guaranteed to be saved. This is when I finally realized my performance of my duty was adulterated with my own intentions. Most other brothers and sisters who were transferred could handle it correctly. Why were my thoughts so complicated? Why did I have so many worries and fears? I continued to pray to God and seek, and to find relevant parts of God’s word to read.
A passage of God’s revelation of the disposition of antichrists was very specific to my state. God says, “When a simple adjustment is made to their duty, people should answer with an attitude of obedience, do as God’s house tells them to, and do what they are able, and, no matter what they do, do it as well as is within their power, with all their heart and all their strength. What God has done is not in error. Such a simple truth can be practiced with a little conscience and rationality, but this is beyond the abilities of antichrists. … Antichrists never obey the arrangements of God’s house, and they always closely link their duty, fame and status with their hope of blessings and their future destination. They think, ‘Once my duty, reputation and status are lost, there will be no hope of obtaining blessings, and that would be like losing my life, so I can’t be careless! Therefore, I must guard myself against the leaders and workers of God’s house, lest they spoil my blessings. I must keep my duty, reputation, and status, and only then can I hope to gain blessings. My brothers, sisters, and the leaders and workers are unreliable. I can only rely on myself to gain blessings.’ An antichrist sees being blessed as greater than the heavens themselves, greater than life, more important than dispositional change or personal salvation, and more important than being a created being that is up to standard. They think that being a created being that is up to standard, doing their duty well and being saved are all paltry things that are hardly worth mentioning, while gaining blessings is the only thing in their entire life that can never be forgotten. In whatever they encounter, no matter how great or small, they are incredibly cautious and attentive, and they always leave a way out for themselves” (“They Want to Retreat When There Is No Position and No Hope of Gaining Blessings” in Exposing Antichrists). I saw that God’s revelation of antichrists’ attitudes towards transfers of duty entirely matched my own. I was racking my brains trying to keep my part-time duty because I wanted a long-term and stable duty to remain in God’s house and not be cast out. All I did was to gain blessings. That was my true purpose. Actually, no matter what duty a person is transferred to in God’s house, it is based on the needs of church work, and it is entirely normal. But antichrists have an evil disposition, so they twist themselves in knots over this matter. They think no one in God’s house can be trusted, and think no one cares about them. They think that as they are transferred back and forth, if they are not careful, they will be cast out and lose their destination, so they need to carefully plan and prepare, be cautious, and have a backup plan. Only then are they guaranteed to be saved. To antichrists, being blessed is more important than performing a duty and being saved. I realized my views were the same as an antichrist’s. I was always on guard against being transferred from my duty. What would I do if I was transferred one day? What if it was a duty I wasn’t good at, I was ineffective, and was transferred again? If I didn’t have a duty to fulfill one day, wouldn’t I be cast out? When I thought about that, I began to worry. Like an antichrist, I had a very complex and evil mind, and feared being trapped in a “dead end,” so, I wanted to cling to a duty I thought I could do for a long time and not let go, just like an unbeliever pursuing an iron rice bowl. I fantasized about doing a secure duty forever, so that when God’s work was over, I could be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven. To achieve this goal, I worked hard on my part-time duty, hoping to quickly become skilled at it and give myself a backup plan. Even if I couldn’t balance my two duties, I would never admit it. When my team leader asked about it, I still prevaricated, and wanted to keep my part-time duty even if it meant delaying my main duty, which ended up impacting the work. Only then did I clearly see I was doing my duty for the sake of my future and destination. I was using my duty as a bargaining chip in exchange for the destination. Everything I did was for the sake of gaining blessings. Wasn’t this just transacting with God and trying to deceive God? In the past, I always prayed to God, saying I did my duty to repay God’s love and live out a human likeness. When the facts revealed me, I saw that this was just a lie! It was deception!
I read another passage of God’s word. “As a created being, when you come before the Creator, you ought to perform your duty. This is the proper thing to do, and the responsibility on your shoulders. On the basis that created beings perform their duties, the Creator has done greater work among mankind. He has performed a further step of work on mankind. And what work is that? He provides mankind with the truth, allowing them to gain the truth from Him as they perform their duties and thereby to cast off their corrupt dispositions and be cleansed. Thus, they come to satisfy God’s will and embark on the right path in life, and, ultimately, they are able to fear God and shun evil, attain complete salvation, and be subject no longer to Satan’s afflictions. This is the effect that God would have mankind achieve in the end by performing their duty. Therefore, the process of performing your duty is not merely to make you see one thing clearly and understand a little truth, nor is it merely to enable you to enjoy the grace and blessings you receive by fulfilling your duty as a created being. Rather, it is to allow you to be cleansed and saved, and, ultimately, come to live in the light of the face of the Creator. This ‘light of the face of the Creator’ involves a large amount of extended meaning and content—we won’t go into this today. Of course, God is sure to issue promises and blessings to such people, and make different statements about them—this is a further matter. In terms of the here and now, what does everyone who comes before God and does their duty as a created being receive from God? That which is most valuable and beautiful among humankind. Not a single created being among mankind can receive such blessings from the hand of the Creator by mere happenstance. Such a beautiful and such a great thing is twisted by the ilk of the antichrists into a transaction, in which they solicit crowns and rewards from the Creator’s hand. Such a transaction turns something most beautiful and righteous into something most ugly and evil. Is this not what the antichrists do? Judging from this, are the antichrists evil? They are quite evil indeed! This is merely a manifestation of one aspect of their evil” (“They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Seven)” in Exposing Antichrists).pierced my heart. I felt much indebted to God. God says that people fulfill the duty of a created being, which is the most beautiful thing among humankind, the most meaningful and upright thing and that no one receives such a blessing by mere happenstance. I realized this was right. Out of all the people in the world, God ordained me to be born in the last days, and I’m fortunate enough to keep up with God’s work in the last days, and I have the chance to perform my duty and experience God’s work. Not just anyone receives this blessing. This is God’s special grace and love. Performing a duty in God’s house, no matter what duty, is more valuable and meaningful than anything in the world, so I should be grateful and cherish it. Moreover, God has always selflessly provided people with the truth. He speaks to us face to face and feeds mouth to mouth, so that people can understand and gain the truth in the process of performing their duties and gradually grow in life. Throughout this process, God demands nothing from people. God only wants people to accept His commission with an honest and obedient heart, do their best to perform their duty, and finally gain the truth, escape their corrupt dispositions, and be saved by God. But what about me? I took the beautiful fact of performing my duty as a created being, twisted it into a transaction, and tried to exchange my duty for blessings. I saw that my disposition was cunning, deceitful, and disgusting to God.
After this, I often prayed to God about my state, to ask Him to enlighten and guide me, so that I could understand my problems more clearly. Once, during my devotionals, I read a passage of God’s words. “Toward God, and toward their duty, people must have an honest heart. If they do, they will be someone who fears God. What kind of attitude do those who have an honest heart have toward God? At the very least, they have a heart that fears God, a heart that obeys God in all things, they make no inquiry of blessings or misfortune, say nothing of conditions, they leave themselves at the mercy of God—these are people with an honest heart. Those who are always skeptical about God, always scrutinizing Him, always trying to strike a deal with Him—are they people with an honest heart? (No.) What resides within the hearts of such people? Craftiness and evil; they are always scrutinizing. And what is it they scrutinize? (God’s attitude toward people.) They are always scrutinizing God’s attitude toward people. What problem is this? And why do they scrutinize this? Because it involves their vital interests. In their hearts, they think to themselves, ‘God created these circumstances for me, He caused this to happen to me. Why did He do that? This hasn’t happened to other people—why did it have to happen to me? And what will the consequences be afterward?’ These are the things they scrutinize, they scrutinize their profits and losses, blessings and misfortune. And while scrutinizing these things, are they able to practice the truth? Are they able to obey God? They are not. And what is produced by their mind’s ruminations? It is all for their own sakes, they are only considering their own interests. … And what is the ultimate outcome of the scrutiny of people who are always thinking about their own interests? All they do is disobey and oppose God. Even when they do insist on performing their duty, they do so carelessly and perfunctorily, with a mood of negativity; in their hearts, they keep thinking about how to take advantage, to not be on the losing side. Such are their motives when they perform their duty, and in this, they are trying to make a deal with God. What disposition is this? The disposition of craftiness and evil. This is no longer an ordinary corrupt disposition, it has escalated to wickedness. And when there is this kind of evil disposition in their hearts, this is a struggle against God. You should be clear about this problem. If people always scrutinize God and try to make deals when they perform their duty, can they perform it properly? Absolutely not. They do notwith their spirits, and with honesty, they do not have an honest heart, they are watching and waiting as they perform their duty, always holding back—and what is the outcome? God does not work in them, and they become muddled and confused, they don’t understand the principles of the truth, and they act according to their own inclinations, and always go awry. And why do they always go awry? Because their hearts are too lacking in clarity, and when things happen to them they do not reflect on themselves, or seek the truth to find a resolution, and insist on doing things as they wish, according to their own preferences—with the result that they always go awry when they perform their duty. They never think of the work of the church, nor of the interests of God’s house, they always plot for their own sakes, they always plan for their own interests, pride, and status, and not only perform their duty poorly, but also delay and affect the work of the church. Is this not going astray, neglecting their duties? If people always plan for their own interests and prospects when they perform their duty, and give no thought to the work of the church or the interests of God’s house, then this is not performing a duty, because the essence and nature of their actions has changed. And if the nature of such things is serious, and becomes meddling and disruption, and leads to serious consequences, then the person involved should be cast out” (“Only by Seeking the Principles of the Truth Can One Perform Their Duty Well” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s words, I was very moved. Previously, I only understood that being on guard in my duty and always seeking a backup plan was a manifestation of cunning and deceit. Now, through what God’s word revealed, I saw that this went far beyond mere cunning and deceit and rose to the level of evil, because I wasn’t playing tricks with just anyone, I was being calculating with God. Outwardly, I performed my duty, but I had no sincerity in my duty at all. I had been observing and calculating, doing whichever duty was beneficial to me. When I only had my main duty, I treated it as the only way to save my life. I feared it wouldn’t last forever, so one day I would be dismissed and cast out, and I would have no chance to gain blessings, so I worried about losing my duty all the time. Later, when I got my part-time duty, I felt it gave me a better chance to gain blessings than my main duty, so I clung to it with all my might. Outwardly, I seemed very proactive, asking about all I didn’t know, but actually, I only wanted to master it faster so I could occupy an indispensable position in this duty. At the same time, I was watching to see whether I’d be transferred from my main duty. If not, I would perform both duties to have an extra guarantee of being saved, and if I was transferred, then I wouldn’t have to worry about being cast out, because I would still have my part-time duty. I saw that my attitude towards both duties was not receiving a commission and responsibility from God, nor was I accepting these duties from God with a pure and honest heart. Instead, I had motives and deceit, and I studied and calculated my benefits and my hope of receiving blessings. I can’t believe how tricky I was! Outwardly, I did two duties, and I was busy all day long, making it seem like I was very responsible to others, but in reality, I was only busy for my future and destination. When the team leader asked me to consider whether I could handle both duties, I feared my plan would be ruined, so I found excuses and prevaricated, saying, “I want to fill up more of my time in my duty.” What I said was nothing but a lie! To cover up my despicable and shameful intentions, I used rhetoric to deceive people. I saw that my disposition was indeed too evil! I thought back on all my calculating thoughts and devious motives. I wasn’t performing my duties at all! I was using and deceiving God, and I had no sincerity towards God! I was like a speculating merchant. I was especially cunning, selfish, despicable, mercenary, and only interested in gain, I wanted to use all kinds of means to maximize my own interests. God says those who don’t consider the interests of God’s house in their duties, only their own, will never produce good results with what they do. In my part-time duty, although I wanted to practice more, my intention was to give myself a backup plan. When I did things with this intention, I didn’t think carefully about how to act according to principles or how to achieve good results. Instead, I sought quick success and only did impressive-looking tasks. To finish my tasks, I worked in a hurry, causing me to make a mess of things and fail to follow principles, and my work was always full of errors. In my main duty, I had already delayed our progress, but I didn’t worry or feel any urgency. I thought of how I made a mess of each of my duties. If this continued, it would definitely harm the work of God’s house, and then I really would be cast out! When I realized this, I was a little scared, so I quickly prayed to God, asking Him to guide me in repenting, changing, and reversing my attitude towards my duty.
Later, through prayer and seeking, I realized that I had always held a very absurd point of view, which was that if I performed a long-term and stable duty in God’s house, and wasn’t transferred, when God’s work ends, I could be saved and would survive. I had never thought about whether this view fitted with the truth or precisely what God’s requirements were. So, I looked up the portions of God’s word related to my state and read them. God says, “There is no correlation between the duty of man and whether he is blessed or cursed. Duty is what man ought to fulfill; it is his heaven-sent vocation, and should not depend on recompense, conditions, or reasons. Only then is he doing his duty. To be blessed is when someone is made perfect and enjoys God’s blessings after experiencing judgment. To be cursed is when someone’s disposition does not change after they have experienced chastisement and judgment, it is when they do not experience being made perfect but are punished. But regardless of whether they are blessed or cursed, created beings should fulfill their duty, doing what they ought to do, and doing what they are able to do; this is the very least that a person, a person who pursues God, should do” (“The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in). “Ultimately, whether people can attain salvation is not dependent on what duty they fulfill, but on whether they can understand and gain the truth, and on whether they can, in the end, entirely submit to God, put themselves at the mercy of His arrangement and become a qualified created being. God is righteous and holy, and this is the standard He uses to measure all mankind. This standard is immutable, and you must remember this. Inscribe this standard in your mind, and do not think of finding some other path to pursue some unreal thing. The requirements and standards God has for all who want to attain salvation are forever unchanging. They remain the same no matter who you are” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word is very clear. What duties people perform and whether they are long-term and stable has nothing to do with whether they are blessed or cursed. As created beings, whether you are blessed or cursed, you should perform your own duty. This is the value of human life, as well as the duty and obligation of human beings. Also, God never said that if you do a long-term and stable duty, and aren’t transferred, you will have a good destination and can be saved. God has always said that only by pursuing the truth, escaping corrupt dispositions, and achieving true obedience can people be saved. God’s requirements and standards have never changed, and God has always been repeating His requirements. It’s not that I didn’t know these words or hadn’t seen them, but I was just like a nonbeliever. I had never believed or accepted these words, nor had I understood God’s good intentions to save people or His righteous disposition. I blindly relied on my notions and imagination, clung to my own absurd views, and gave myself a ridiculous goal to pursue. I felt that as long as I continued to perform a duty in God’s house, without being adjusted, then I would survive. Thinking about it now, this seemed absolutely ridiculous! I only pursued having a duty to perform and not being transferred, but I never focused on pursuing the truth in my duty, nor did I reflect on myself and resolve my corrupt dispositions. As a result, I was unaware of my such obvious intentions to gain blessings and evil disposition, and I didn’t seek the truth to resolve it. Even if my duty was long-lasting, could I guarantee I could do it forever? Some people around me had been in their duties for years and were never transferred, but because they didn’t focus on pursuing the truth and resolving their corrupt dispositions, they continually muddled through their duties. As a result, they did their duties for many years without results, and were finally cast out. Others did their work based on years of experience or their gift, became more and more arrogant, acted based on their own ideas, seriously disrupted and disturbed the work of God’s family, and were revealed and cast out. But some brothers and sisters are simple and honest, who could accept any duty that was arranged for them, focus on pursuing the truth and resolving corrupt dispositions in their duties, and when they didn’t understand things, could pray to God to seek the principles of truth or seek and fellowship with their brothers and sisters. They become more and more effective in their duties, they gradually grow in life, and they have genuine faith in God. Instances of this happened around me, so why couldn’t I see it? Besides, when people in God’s house are transferred, it is always based on the needs of the church’s work and every person’s skills. If someone has genuine faith in God, God’s house will arrange a suitable duty for them, and this is only a change from one position to another, not stripping away their right to experience God’s work and pursue the truth, nor is it taking their chance to be saved. It is something completely proper. Why did I always regard transferring duties as a negative thing, a bad thing? Now I realized my belief that a stable and long-lasting duty would guarantee me a good ending, and guarantee I wouldn’t be revealed and cast out was an absurd and ridiculous viewpoint. It was completely my own notions and imagination, and it was dangerous! When I recognized this, my heart felt brightened, and I felt a great sense of release. After that, when I did my duty, my state of mind was much better. I no longer felt one of my duties was more important than the other. Instead, I felt both were commissions from God, so both were precious, and I wanted to do both to the best of my abilities. As to whether I continued my part-time duty, I left it to God, and was willing to submit to God’s arrangements.
One day, at the end of November, the supervisor told me I didn’t need to do the part-time duty, because they had someone else. When I heard the news, I felt something I couldn’t describe. I was a little sad and reluctant to let go. I realized that my state was wrong, so I quickly prayed to God. I thought of God’s word, “Toward God, and toward their duty, people must have an honest heart. If they do, they will be someone who fears God. What kind of attitude do those who have an honest heart have toward God? At the very least, they have a heart that fears God, a heart that obeys God in all things, they make no inquiry of blessings or misfortune, say nothing of conditions, they leave themselves at the mercy of God—these are people with an honest heart” (“Only by Seeking the Principles of the Truth Can One Perform Their Duty Well” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After contemplating God’s words over and over, I knew God likes honest people, and God wants me to treat my duties with an honest heart, be able to simply obey, not concern myself with outcomes, not scheme for myself, and submit to His orchestrations. There has never been anyone in God’s house who has kept their place by playing tricks and scheming for themselves. On the contrary, only those who are pure, honest, do things in a down-to-earth manner, and who obey the arrangements of God’s house can stand firm. At that moment, I realized that this situation was God’s test of me. God wanted to see my attitude. I could no longer be selective about my duty. I had to obey God’s arrangements from the heart and cherish my current duty. No matter how long this duty might last, and no matter what duties the church arranged for me in the future, no matter if they are permanent or temporary, I had to accept and obey with a pure and honest heart, and do my best to perform that duty well. After thinking about this, I suddenly understood that God had good intentions in letting this part-time duty come upon me. God arranged this environment to reveal my incorrect attitude towards my duty and deep-rooted intention to gain blessings. Without being revealed by the facts, I never would have known the adulteration in my faith, and I wouldn’t have known what attitude towards duty is in line with God’s will. Everything God had given me was a precious treasure! Also, this sudden change in my duty allowed me to see a fact: God controls everything, and what duty a person performs is preordained by God. It is something that people can’t predict and can’t change. But I, like a nonbeliever, didn’t know God’s sovereignty, and wanted to preserve my duties through my own efforts. I was so stupid and so ignorant! How could I ever hope to keep a certain duty I wanted to perform? Only by obeying God’s arrangements can we live a relaxed and secure life. After a while, the church arranged for me to perform another part-time duty, but I no longer considered whether the duty would last a long time. Instead, I thought about how to do my duty well, focused on practicing the truth in my duty and resolving my corrupt disposition, and strove to live out a true human likeness and be genuinely loyal and obedient to God.