Facing Staff Adjustments Revealed Me
By Zhou Jing, China
In March of 2021, I was in charge of the church’s gospel work. I made a report to the leader about the large scope of my responsibilities and the shortage of gospel workers, and so she sent over Ada to help spread the gospel. Ada had once been a leader, and after spending some time around her, I found that she was pretty good at using God’s word to resolve the problems of potential gospel recipients. I thought, “If I nurture her properly, she’s sure to become a person who spreads the gospel and testifies to God, and then the leader will praise me for my ability to work and train people.” After this, I’d bring Ada along to practice spreading the gospel, and I’d often fellowship with her and resolve the problems she had. After a while, she’d made a lot of progress, and was getting pretty good results from her gospel work. I couldn’t hide how happy I was, and I was filled with boundless energy for my duty each day.
One day, the leader asked me, “The church has been getting a lot of newcomers lately and there’s an urgent need for more waterers. Which of the brothers and sisters understands the truth and can water newcomers?” I responded cheerfully, “Ada has good caliber, is quick to learn the truth, and fellowships the truth clearly. She’d be well suited.” The leader then responded, “Alright, send over Ada to water the newcomers then.” My heart pounded when I heard her say this and I thought to myself, “You’re just going to transfer her after all the effort I’ve spent nurturing her? I shouldn’t have told you the truth. If you transfer such a mainstay of mine, I’ll have to pay a price again to train another person. If there aren’t enough waterers, can’t you transfer people from another church? If you transfer Ada, we won’t be as effective in the gospel work this month. What will you think of me then? Will you think I’m incapable and dismiss me? No way! I can’t let Ada go.” At this thought, I said to the leader, “Watering work is crucial, but isn’t gospel work just as important? How about this time, you transfer someone from another church, and then Ada can be transferred next time someone is needed?” The leader saw what I was thinking and fellowshiped, “We must think of the overall work of the church. It’s selfish to want to keep talented people by our sides to lighten our own burdens. There are a lot of newcomers entering the church right now but since there aren’t enough waterers, many newcomers aren’t being watered in time, and some have already been threatened and disturbed by the CCP’s and religious world’s rumors, and are too scared to gather. Some have even dropped out. Gospel work is a lot like sowing seeds. If you only sow seeds and don’t water them, it’s all for nothing! So, the most important thing now is arranging for people to water newcomers as soon as possible. Arranging for Ada to water new believers is what the watering work needs. We should safeguard the work of the church. If we only want to keep people on to lighten our own burdens and safeguard our own reputations and status, we are not heeding God’s will!” The leader was right. Looking at Ada’s situation, she was better suited to watering newcomers, and besides, the newcomers desperately needed people to water them. I was only thinking about my reputation and status, and I was upset at the thought of Ada being transferred and the gospel work being impacted. But on second thought, there really couldn’t be any delay in the newcomers being watered, so I had no choice but to say to the leader, “Do as you please. If she really does have to be transferred there’s nothing I can do about it….” After getting home, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the matter, so I prayed to God, “God! I know that the leader arranging for Ada to go and water newcomers is in line with principles, but I just can’t accept it. Please enlighten me and allow me to recognize my corrupt disposition.”
I then read the word of God. “Within the scope of the work of God’s house, based on overall work needs, there may be some personnel transfers. If a few people are transferred from a church, what would be the sensible way for that church’s leaders to treat the issue? What is the problem if they are concerned only with their own church’s work, rather than the overall interests? Why, as a church leader, are they unable to submit to the overall arrangements of God’s house? Is such a person considerate of God’s will and attentive to the work’s big picture? If they do not think of the work of God’s house as a whole, but only of their own church’s interests, are they not very selfish and contemptible? Church leaders should unconditionally submit to the sovereignty and arrangements of God, and to the centralized arrangements and coordination of God’s house. This is what accords with the principles of the truth. When required by the work of God’s house, no matter who they are, everyone should submit to the coordination and arrangements of God’s house, and absolutely should not be controlled by any individual leader or worker as if they belong to them. The obedience of God’s chosen ones to the centralized arrangements of the house of God is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, and may not be defied by anyone. Unless an individual leader or worker makes an irrational transferal that is not in accordance with principle—in which case this may be disobeyed—all of God’s chosen ones should obey, and no leader or worker has the right or any reason to try to control anyone. Would you say there is any work that is not the work of the house of God? Is there any work that does not involve the expansion of God’s kingdom gospel? It is all the work of God’s house, each work is equal, and there is no ‘yours’ and ‘mine.’ If the transferal is in line with principle and based on the requirements of church work, then these people should go where they are needed most. And yet, what is the antichrists’ response when faced with this kind of situation? They find various pretexts and excuses to keep these suitable people in their hands, serving them. They only offer two ordinary people, and then find some pretext to turn the screws on you, either saying how work is so busy, or that they’re short-handed, people are hard to find, and if these two are transferred, work will take a hit. And they ask you what they are supposed to do, and make you feel guilty. Is this not the way the devil operates? This is how the unbelievers do things. Are people who always try and protect their own interests in the church—are they good people? Are they people who act according to principle? Absolutely not. They are unbelievers and nonbelievers. And is this not selfish and vile?” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Four (Part One)). From God’s word, I understood that God detests and is disgusted by selfish people who only safeguard their personal interests. This was especially clear when I read: “Is this not the way the devil operates? This is how the unbelievers do things. … They are unbelievers and nonbelievers.” I felt like God was standing right in front of me and exposing me, and I just wanted to bury my head in shame. I clearly knew that the church was short on waterers, that many newcomers were leaving because they weren’t being watered in time, and that the leader arranging for Ada to water them was completely appropriate and in line with principles, but I didn’t give any consideration to the work of the church, only to my own interests. I feared that if Ada was transferred, I’d have to put in more effort and pay more of a price. I also worried about my reputation and status being damaged if work effectiveness declined. Because of this, I tried to stand in the leader’s way and stop Ada being transferred under the pretense of “gospel work is important too and can’t be delayed.” I was truly selfish and despicable. I was thinking only of my own interests. I only wanted to keep Ada by my side to grow my own reputation and status. Wasn’t I just like an unbeliever? Corporate bosses out in the world of unbelievers teach people some skills, and they want them to work themselves to the bone for them. Likewise, I’d thought that as I had singlehandedly nurtured Ada, she should stay by my side and submit to my arrangements. I was truly unreasonable. The church had arranged for me to supervise the gospel work. This was my responsibility and the duty I was supposed to fulfill. It was not my personal enterprise; it was the work of the church. As for how personnel were transferred and arranged, the leader judged how to assign people rationally according to principles, and I was not qualified to interfere, much less did I have the right to get in the way. I should have just submitted and accepted it; only this would have been rational. At this thought, I was filled with remorse and self-reproach for my actions and conduct. I hurried before God in confession, repentance, and readiness to relinquish my selfish intentions and submit to the arrangements of the church. The next day, I fellowshiped with Ada about her going to water the newcomers. I felt a great sense of peace and relief in practicing this way.
Soon, I found that Lilly and Lucas had strengths that would be great in gospel work, so I’d often bring them along when spreading the gospel and was really focused on nurturing them. After a while, they made quick progress as gospel workers and achieved great results. As you can imagine, I was overjoyed, and with two more gospel workers in the group, the work improved as well, and I felt more motivated in my duty. But to my surprise, a couple weeks later the leader said to me, “There’s a lot of gospel work to be done in churches elsewhere but there aren’t enough gospel workers. I’d like to arrange for Lucas and Michael to go and fill in. Also, Lilly has good caliber and is worth nurturing. I’d like to arrange for her to supervise the work of watering newcomers.” My heart sank when I heard this and like a punctured balloon, I suddenly felt totally deflated, and slumped down into my chair, unable to move. I thought to myself, “Transferring one person is one thing, but now you’re transferring three? Are you trying to make things difficult for me? If you transfer these three mainstays of mine and the work ends up suffering, will you say that I don’t do practical work and that I’m a false leader? If I then get dismissed, how will I ever show my face again? It’ll look like I’m incapable of this job.” At this thought, I responded sharply, “Can’t you leave even one? Won’t transferring three people at once delay the gospel work?” The leader saw how resistant I was and fellowshiped with me, but I didn’t hear a word she said. When the leader left, I was filled with a sense of discontent about transferring three of my mainstays. With those three being transferred I’d have to find new people to train, to say nothing of the physical toll it would take, and then if the work wasn’t up to par, what would everyone think of me? Would they say that I’d been energetic just because I was new to the position, and that I became completely inept once my initial burst of enthusiasm had passed? The more I thought about it, the more upset I got. I felt heavy-hearted and lost all my motivation. After that, I didn’t shoulder any burden in my duty, and I didn’t apply myself earnestly to resolve the difficulties I encountered. The leader later sent a few others to do gospel work but I had no desire to train them. I knew that when they started with the gospel work, there would be many problems they couldn’t resolve, but I paid them no attention and arranged for them to just go out and preach the gospel straight away. Gradually, my heart grew darker and darker, and I felt like I was coming up short in my duty. I was aware that my state was incorrect, and so I prayed to God and reflected to know myself.
During one of my devotionals, I read these words of God. “If someone of good caliber is transferred from under the antichrist to perform another duty, in their heart the antichrist doggedly resists and rejects it—they want to call it quits, and have no enthusiasm for being a leader or group head. What problem is this? Why do they have no obedience toward the arrangements of the church? They think the transferal of their ‘right hand man’ will impact the productivity and progress of their work, and that their status and reputation will be affected as a result, which will force them to work harder and suffer more to guarantee productivity—which is the last thing they want to do. They have grown used to comfort, and don’t want to work harder or suffer more, and so they don’t want to let the person go. If the house of God insists on the transfer, they make a big fuss and even refuse to do their own work. Is this not selfish and vile? God’s chosen ones should be centrally allocated by the house of God. This has nothing to do with any leader, team head, or individual. Everyone must act according to principle; this is the rule of God’s house. When antichrists do not act according to the principles of God’s house, when they constantly scheme for the sake of their own status and interests, and make brothers and sisters of good caliber serve them in order to consolidate their power and status, is this not selfish and vile? Outwardly, keeping people of good caliber by their side and not allowing them to be transferred by the house of God appears as if they are thinking of church work, but in fact they are only thinking of their own power and status, and not about the work of the church at all. They are afraid that they will mess their work up, be replaced, and lose their status. When antichrists give no thought to the wider work of God’s house, think only of their own status, protect their own status with no compunction for the cost to the interests of the house of God, and defend their own status and interests to the detriment of the church’s work, this is selfish and vile. When faced with such a situation, at the very least one must think with their conscience: ‘These people are all of the house of God, they are not my personal property. I, too, am a member of the house of God. What right do I have to stop the house of God from transferring people? I should consider the overall interests of the house of God, instead of just concentrating on the work within the scope of my own responsibilities.’ Such are the thoughts that should be found in people who are possessed of conscience and sense, and the sense that should be possessed by those who believe in God. When God’s house has an especial need, what’s most important is to obey the arrangements of God’s house. False leaders and antichrists are not possessed of such conscience and sense. They are all selfish, they only think of themselves, and they do not think of the work of the church. They only consider the benefits before their very eyes, they do not consider the wider work of God’s house, and so they are absolutely incapable of obeying the arrangements of God’s house. They are extremely selfish and vile. In the house of God, they are even bold enough to be obstructive, and even dare to dig their heels in; these are the people most lacking in humanity, they are evil people. That is the kind of people the antichrists are. They always treat the church’s work, and the brothers and sisters, and even the assets of God’s house—everything under their authority—as their own private property. It is up to them how these things are distributed, transferred, and used, and the house of God is not allowed to interfere. Once they are in their hands, it is as if they are in the possession of Satan, no one is allowed to touch them. They’re the big shots, the head honchos, and whoever goes to their territory has to obey their orders and arrangements, and take their cue from them. This is the manifestation of the selfishness and vileness within the antichrist’s character. They do not follow principle in the slightest, they give no consideration to the interests of the house of God, and only think of their own interests and status—which are all hallmarks of the selfishness and vileness of antichrists” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Four (Part One)). After reading God’s words, I felt deeply distressed and uncomfortable. God reveals that antichrists are particularly selfish, and that they are without humanity. When things happen to them, they only consider their own reputation and status. They try to keep people under their thumb, don’t allow for the arrangements and adjustments of the church to be made, and don’t consider the church’s work whatsoever. Were my actions and conduct not the same as an antichrist’s? As a supervisor, I should have focused on nurturing talented individuals. This was my responsibility and my duty. The church makes rational personnel adjustments in accordance with work requirements, as well as each person’s caliber and talents. I should have upheld, conformed with, and carried out my duty. But I didn’t consider the overall work of the church whatsoever, and only thought of keeping these talented gospel workers with good caliber by my side in order to grow my own reputation and status. As soon as the leader wanted to transfer people out of my scope of responsibility, I became resistant, discontent, and I even found myself disgruntled and wanting to quit. I was constantly worried that these mainstays would be transferred and that the work would start to suffer, and that my reputation and status would be endangered. I was truly selfish and despicable. Did I have even a modicum of humanity or reason? How was the disposition I revealed any different from an antichrist’s? I thought of the Pharisees and of the clergy of the modern religious world. When God appeared to work, to protect their status and livelihoods, they used all means at their disposal to stop believers from following God. For the sake of their status and livelihoods, they attempted to keep believers under their thumb forever. As a result, they became antichrists and were punished and damned by God. Looking back on my own behavior, when I paid a little bit of a price to nurture brothers and sisters to spread the gospel, seeing them independent in their duties, I wanted to use this as a chance to give full play to my abilities and show off my talents to gain others’ admiration. Because of this, I didn’t want to let the leader promote people out of my scope of responsibility. I just wanted to keep these talented individuals who had caliber and did their duty well by my side, and to use them to consolidate my reputation and status. Wasn’t the essence of my behavior the same as the Pharisees and the antichrists of the religious world? The work of God’s house is not partitioned. People should be sent wherever the work needs them to be sent. This is the appropriate way to transfer personnel. But when I saw brothers and sisters with good caliber and work capabilities promoted and sent away one by one, it felt like losing my right hand, and like my work would be directly impacted. It felt like my reputation and status were being endangered, and so I didn’t want to let them go. Even when the leader talked it over with me, I still tried to make excuses, stand in her way, and hold on to my mainstays. I thought myself the master of my own territory, and that the talents I had cultivated were mine alone to use. Hadn’t I become like a local tyrant that claimed a place as their own domain? When these people were transferred, I worried that the work would be impacted, that my desire for reputation and status would go unsatisfied, so I slacked off in my work, and even when I knew that there were principles the personnel new to gospel work still didn’t understand, I disregarded them and just had them go out and spread the gospel. I didn’t want to have to train them. Looking back on my behavior, where was my conscience, reason, and humanity? The church had arranged for me to supervise the gospel work so that I could spread the gospel with the brothers and sisters, with one heart and one mind and perform our duties well in our respective places. But I had no sense of shame, and kept the brothers and sisters under my thumb to use as I wished. By doing this I was resisting God, placing myself in opposition to Him, and walking the path of an antichrist! If it weren’t for the revelation of God’s word and what the facts revealed, I would still be unaware of the seriousness of my antichrist disposition and unconscious of the fact I was walking the path of an antichrist, doing evil, and resisting God. The more I thought about it the more scared I became, so I prayed to God and repented, saying that I didn’t want to resist God any longer, but just wanted to submit and perform my duty well.
Later, I read more of God’s word: “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” (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). “For all who fulfill their duty, however profound or shallow their understanding of the truth, the simplest way of practice by which to enter the reality of the truth is to think of the interests of God’s house in everything, and to let go of selfish desires, individual intentions, motives, pride, and status. Put the interests of God’s house first—this is the least one should do. If a person performing their duty cannot do even this much, then how can they be said to be performing their duty? This is not performing one’s duty. You should first consider the interests of God’s house, be considerate of God’s will, and consider the work of the church, and put these things first and foremost; only after that can you think about the stability of your status or how others see you. Do you not feel that it gets a little easier when you divide it into these steps and make some compromises? If you practice like this for a while, you will come to feel that satisfying God is not difficult. In addition, you should be able to fulfill your responsibilities, perform your obligations and duties, set aside your selfish desires, set aside your own intents and motives, have consideration for God’s will, and put first the interests of God’s house, the work of the church, and the duty you should perform. After experiencing this for a while, you will feel that this is a good way to conduct yourself. It is living straightforwardly and honestly, without being a base person or a good-for-nothing, and living justly and honorably rather than being despicable and mean. You will feel that this is how a person should live and act. Gradually, the desire within your heart to gratify your own interests will lessen” (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). God’s word pointed out a path of practice to me, namely, that no matter what you do, don’t do it for the sake of being seen by others, but you must accept God’s scrutiny. When things happen to you, you must first assume a correct attitude and prioritize the work of the church, heed the will of God and show consideration for the church’s work at all times. It’s the only way to align with God’s will in your duty. As a supervisor of gospel work, I should carefully nurture talented individuals so that they can fulfill their responsibility to spread the kingdom gospel. From then on, I consciously practiced according to God’s word.
A month later, during her fellowship at a gathering, I found that Daisy fellowshiped the truth with clarity and that she was able to grasp the key points when resolving issues of those she was preaching to. I thought that if I trained her well, she’d be able to spread the gospel independently in no time. After practicing for a while, Daisy got some good results in her gospel work, and she was also able to water the newcomers that had accepted the gospel from her. I thought to myself, “Daisy’s caliber seems most suited to watering newcomers. The leader has been asking me to provide watering staff lately, so should I send over Daisy?” But on second thought, “She’s getting such good results in her duty and she’s a real asset to the group. Will the work I’m supervising be impacted if I send her over to water newcomers?” I was then hit by a sudden awareness, “Aren’t I just considering my own reputation, status, and interests again?” I recalled how the word of God says, “Acting selflessly, thinking of the work of the church, and only doing what satisfies God is righteous and honorable, and will bring value to your existence. Living this way on earth, you are being open and honest, you are living out normal humanity, and the true image of man, and not only do you have a clear conscience, but are also worthy of all the things bestowed upon you by God. The more you live like this, the more grounded you will feel, the more peaceful and joyous you will be, and the brighter you will feel. As such, will you not have set foot upon the right track of faith in God?” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Giving One’s Heart to God, One Can Obtain the Truth). From God’s word I understood that as a member of the church, one must always prioritize the interests of the house of God and put aside one’s own selfish desires and schemes. In doing so, people can become magnanimous, conscientious, and rational. I could no longer consider my own status, reputation, and interests. I had to put aside my personal interests and schemes, assume correct intentions, and practice according to God’s word. At this thought, I sent the leader a letter telling her about Daisy’s situation. Soon after, she arranged for Daisy to go to another church elsewhere to water newcomers. I felt a great sense of relief in having practiced this way.
Through this experience I learned that when I assumed the right motives, prioritized the church’s work, and no longer considered my personal interests, my heart could take on a true burden. I started finding suitable people in the church to practice spreading the gospel, and relying on God to handle and resolve issues and deviations in work. When I paid an actual price this way, the work wasn’t compromised, but actually improved! Through Daisy’s transferal, I learned that when I put aside my selfish desires in my duty, heeded the will of God, and put the church’s work first, not only was I able to fulfill my duty and responsibilities, but I also achieved results in my duty, along with a sense of peace and ease. Thank God!