Finding Your Place Is Key
By Zhou Yuqi, China
Once, during a chat, I heard a church leader say, “Sister Gao has good caliber, comprehends things purely, and fellowships practically on the truth. I plan to train her to do church work.” After hearing the leader’s words, my heart couldn’t help but sink. In the past, Sister Gao and I both did general work, but now, she would be a leader, while I was still doing general work. Why was I so lacking? All morning I was depressed, and I was absent-minded in my duty. Later, Sister Gao was transferred away, and the leader asked if I wanted to take over Sister Gao’s old job, and at the same time, be the supervisor of the general work. At that time, I felt a little sad. Although I would have the title of supervisor, it was still just general work. No matter how well I did it, no one would know, unlike being a leader, someone the church focuses on cultivating and that the brothers and sisters all look up to and support. I felt that general work was inferior, so I didn’t really want to accept it. I thought, “If I take up this duty, what will my brothers and sisters think of me? Will they think I’ve believed in God for years without pursuing the truth or making progress, which is why I’ve always done general work? That would be so embarrassing!” But on second thought, this duty came to me with God’s permission. Even if it wasn’t in line with my desires, I had to submit and not act from personal preference, so I reluctantly replied to my leader that I was willing to accept this duty.
After a while, I heard the leader say, “Brother Wang has good caliber, and with a little effort into his life entry, he can be cultivated.” After hearing this, I felt even worse. I supervised Brother Wang’s work, and even he was someone the leader wanted to cultivate, so why hadn’t anyone mentioned my name? I supervised his work, but I wasn’t promoted, I was actually standing still. How would others see me? Was I really that bad? I had the ability to manage work, find out problems, and solve problems. Sometimes, when the leader discussed things, I was able to express some opinions and make suggestions. Why couldn’t the leader see my strengths? I would have been happy if the leader mentioned my name and said I was suitable for promotion, but I was needed to supervise general work. This would prove I wasn’t that bad, and it would make me feel better. In those days, when I thought about it, I felt very upset. I felt completely listless, I didn’t want to talk to my brothers and sisters, and I didn’t bear a burden in my duty. When others reported problems to me, I didn’t think about the issues as carefully as I used to.
Once, my supervisor sent me a letter asking me to handle some work, but I didn’t pay attention to the contents of the letter, which affected my work. One day, the leader asked me to deliver something to a gathering of Sister Gao’s group. When I heard this, I was hesitant to go, out of fear of what Sister Gao would think of me. We did the same duty before, but now, she had been promoted, but I was still doing general work. Would she look down on me and think I was useless? But I worried it would affect the work if I didn’t go, so I had to bite the bullet. When I got there, to stop Sister Gao from recognizing me, I bent my back and buried my head in my phone for over half an hour. During this period, some brothers and sisters talked to me, but I didn’t dare raise my head out of fear of being recognized by Sister Gao. At that moment, I felt useless. I felt so upset that I wanted to cry. I couldn’t help but run to another room, look at the night sky, and cry silently. I had believed in God for many years, but I felt I wasn’t valued by my leader. While others got to be leaders, I was stuck doing general work. What was the point of living like this? I was startled when I caught myself thinking like this. How could I have such thoughts? At that moment, I vaguely recalled, “For antichrists, status and prestige are their life. … You could put them in a primeval forest deep in the mountains, and still they would not put aside their pursuit of status and prestige” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). God’s word described my state, so I found this passage and read it. says, “For antichrists, status and prestige are their life. No matter how they live, no matter what environment they live in, no matter what work they do, no matter what they strive for, what their goals are, what their life’s direction is, it all revolves around having a good reputation and a high station. And this aim does not change; they can never put aside such things. This is the true face of the antichrists, and their essence. You could put them in a primeval forest deep in the mountains, and still they would not put aside their pursuit of status and prestige. You can put them among any group of people, and all they can think about is still status and prestige. Although antichrists also believe in God, they see the pursuit of status and prestige as equivalent to faith in God and give it equal weight. Which is to say, as they walk the path of faith in God, they also pursue their own status and prestige. It can be said that in the antichrists’ hearts, they believe that faith in God and the pursuit of the truth is the pursuit of status and prestige; the pursuit of status and prestige is also the pursuit of the truth, and to gain status and prestige is to gain the truth and life. If they feel that they have no prestige or status, that no one admires them, or venerates them, or follows them, then they are very frustrated, they believe there is no point in believing in God, no value to it, and they say to themselves, ‘Is such faith in God a failure? Is it hopeless?’ They often deliberate such things in their hearts, they deliberate how they can carve a place out for themselves in the house of God, how they can have a lofty reputation in the church, so that people listen when they talk, and support them when they act, and follow them wherever they go; so that they have a voice in the church, a reputation, so that they enjoy benefits, and have status—they often ponder such things. These are what such people pursue” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). From God’s word, I learned that in all they do, antichrists consider their own prestige and status first, they never give up the pursuit of fame and status, and to them, status is as important as their own lives. I reflected on myself: “Why do I never want to do general work? Why am I so concerned about being a leader?” I realized the main reason was that I felt leaders have status. Not only do the brothers and sisters admire and approve of them, the upper-level leaders highly value them, and the church focuses on cultivating them. I felt it was good to be a leader, to be able to show my face and have everyone’s approval, and that only being a leader meant I was a success. I also felt doing general work was doing external affairs, that only those who don’t pursue the truth do such duties, and that others look down on them. Because of these mistaken ideas, when I saw everyone around me being promoted, but not myself, I was very hurt, and I wanted the leader to mention my name. But when the leader promoted others instead of me, I became so miserable that I didn’t want to see anyone, and I no longer had any desire to do my duty. Spending every day tormented by prestige and status was horrible, to the point that I felt life wasn’t worth living. Wasn’t pursuing prestige and status like this walking the same path as an antichrist? When I realized this, I felt afraid, so I quickly prayed to God to repent, “God, my desire for prestige and status is too strong. I don’t want to live in this disobedient state. Please guide me in freeing myself from the shackles of fame and status.”
One day, as I read God’s word, my views changed a little. Almighty God says, “Do you always want to spread your wings and take flight, do you always wish to fly solo, to be the eagle rather than the little bird? What disposition is this? Is this the principle of human conduct? Your pursuit of human conduct should be based on God’s words; only God’s words are the truth. You have been too deeply corrupted by Satan, and always take traditional culture—the words of Satan—as the truth, as the object of your pursuit, which makes it easy for you to take the wrong path, to walk the path of resisting God. The thoughts and views of corrupt mankind, and the things they strive for are contrary to the will of God, to the truth, and to the laws of God’s rule over everything, His orchestration of everything, and His control over mankind’s fate. So no matter how proper and reasonable this kind of pursuit is according to human beliefs and notions, from God’s perspective they are not positive things, and they are not in line with His will. Nothing ever goes smoothly for you because you go against the fact of God’s rule over mankind’s fate, you want to go it alone, and shake off God’s rule and control without being obedient. Isn’t that the case? Why does nothing go smoothly for you? (We want to shake off God’s rule.) What is it that incites this desire in people, why do they always want to control their own fate, plan their own future, control their prospects, direction, and life goals? Where does this starting point come from? (A corrupt satanic disposition.) What then does a corrupt satanic disposition bring to people? (Opposition to God.) What comes of people opposing God? (Pain.) Pain? It is destruction! Pain isn’t the half of it. What you see right before your eyes is pain, negativity, and weakness, and it is resistance and grievances—what outcome will these things bring? Annihilation! This is no small matter and it is no game. People who do not have a heart that fears God can’t see this” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. A Corrupt Disposition Can Only Be Resolved by Accepting the Truth). I was the same as what God’s word revealed. I wanted to be an eagle, not a swallow, and I thought general work made me a swallow, someone not worth training and being looked down on. Leaders, to me, were like eagles. They had potential, and were valued and looked up to by others. I lived by “Man struggles upwards; water flows downwards,” “As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face,” “People should strive to achieve dignity,” and other such satanic toxins. I thought that to live a good life, people have to climb higher and higher, and the higher your status the better, or you are living a useless life. Under the control of these mistaken ideas, I couldn’t do my duty in a down-to-earth manner, and I always pursued being a leader to make people look up to me. When I saw the brothers and sisters around me being chosen as leaders, I was miserable, unable to accept it, and resistant. I thought, “I’m no worse than anyone else. Why can other people be leaders, but I’m stuck doing general work?” I started to make complaints against God and thought people who do general work don’t pursue the truth, so I lived in negativity and started to muddle through and become negligent in my duty, which affected my work. Where was my loyalty and obedience to God? My ambition was too great! I knew that each person’s caliber and what duties they perform are all preordained by God, including the duty I currently performed, so I should accept and obey. I always felt that no one valued me for doing general work, and I became miserable, but that was due to my wrong views of pursuit and my inability to obey God’s rule. I was unable to obey God’s rules and arrangements, passive, and complaining. In essence, I was opposing, resisting, and rebelling against God. If I continued like this, I could only end up in hell.
After that, I read two passages of God’s word. “If people have a sense of burden toward church work, and wish to be involved in it, this is good; but they must reflect on whether they understand the truth, on whether they are able to fellowship the truth to resolve issues, on whether they are able to truly submit to the work of God, and on whether they are able to carry out church work properly, according to work arrangements. If they meet these criteria, they may put themselves forward to be a leader or a worker. What I mean by saying this is that at the very least, people must possess self-awareness. First look at if you are able to distinguish between different types of people, whether you understand the truth and are able to do things according to principle. If you meet these requirements, you are suitable to be a leader or a worker. If you are not capable of self-appraisal, you can ask the people around you who are familiar with you or close to you. If they all say that you are of insufficient caliber to be a leader, and that you’re doing well just to be able to complete your work, then don’t waste any time in trying to know yourself. When you are of poor caliber, don’t spend all your time wanting to be a leader—just do what you can, perform your duty properly, with both feet firmly on the ground, so that you can have peace of mind. This, too, is good. And if you are capable of being a leader, if you are truly possessed of such caliber and aptitude, if you possess the work skills, and have a sense of burden, then you are precisely the kind of person the house of God lacks, and you are certain to be promoted and cultivated; but there is the time of God in all things. This wish—the wish to be promoted—is not ambition, but you must have the caliber, and meet the criteria, to be a leader. If you are of poor caliber yet still spend all your time wanting to be a leader, or to take on some important task, or to be responsible for overall work, or to do something that allows you to distinguish yourself, then I tell you: This is ambition, and you should be wary of ambition; ambition can bring disaster. People are self-motivated and willing to strive for the truth, which is not a problem; some people meet the criteria for being leaders, and some don’t. For those who meet the criteria to strive to be a leader is not, for them, something bad; but people who do not meet these criteria should stick to their duty, it is better for them to do the duty that is right in front of them properly, to do it according to principle, and according to the requirements of God’s house. For them, that’s better, safer, more realistic” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). “People must have the correct understanding and attitude toward promotion and cultivation; in these matters, they must seek the truth, and not follow their own will, or have ambitious desires. If you feel that you are of good caliber but the house of God has never promoted you, nor has any plans to cultivate you, then don’t get frustrated or start complaining, just focus on pursuing the truth and trying to be better; when you have some stature and are able to do real work, God’s chosen ones will naturally select you to be leader. And if you feel that you are of poor caliber, and that you don’t stand any chance of being promoted or cultivated, and that it is impossible for your ambitions to be achieved, is this not something good? This will protect you! When you are of poor caliber and you encounter a group of blind fools who choose you to be their leader, are you not put in the line of fire? You are incapable of doing any work and your eyes and heart are blind. Everything you do is a disruption; your every move is evildoing. You’d be better off doing the work of your own duty well; at least you won’t embarrass yourself, and it’s better than being a false leader and being the target of backbiting. As a person, you must have the measure of yourself, you must have a little self-awareness; if you do, you will be able to avoid taking the wrong path and making serious mistakes” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). After reading God’s words, I was stirred. I always felt I was better than the brothers and sisters around me, and I wanted to be a leader, but was I really suitable to be a leader? Did I really have the caliber to be a leader? Leaders must pursue the truth, have the ability to work, and have good humanity. Not just anyone can be a leader. If you don’t have the qualifications to be a leader and can’t do practical work, even if you become a leader, you won’t remain one for long, and some people are revealed to be false leaders. I had actually served as a church leader before, but because my caliber was low and my work ability was poor, I couldn’t do practical work, and I couldn’t solve others’ problems and difficulties, which harmed their life entry and damaged church work, so I was finally dismissed. In terms of caliber and work ability, I really wasn’t qualified to be a leader. In comparison, I was good at general work, I could do some practical work in that area, and it wasn’t that stressful. The church arranges work based on each person’s caliber and strength. This allows people to serve their function normally and benefits the work of the church. But I didn’t know my own measure. I clearly lacked the caliber and qualifications to be a leader, yet I still felt I was talented and superior to others, and I always wanted to be promoted. When I saw the leader promoting others but not me, I made complaints that the leader didn’t pay attention to me, I muddled through my duty, and I was hostile and negative toward God. I was so arrogant, and I didn’t have any sense at all! When I recognized this, I felt very guilty, and I was able to treat my current duty correctly, and I was willing to stand in my own place and properly do my duty in a down-to-earth manner.
Later, I heard aof God’s word, “I’m Just a Tiny Created Being.” “Oh God! Whether I have status or not, I now understand myself. If my status is high it is because of Your elevation, and if it is low it is because of Your ordination. Everything is in Your hands. I have neither any choices, nor any complaints. You ordained that I would be born in this country and among this people, and all that I should do is to be completely obedient under Your dominion because everything is within what You have ordained. I do not give thought to status; after all, I am but a creature. If You place me in the bottomless pit, in the lake of fire and brimstone, I am nothing but a creature. If You use me, I am a creature. If You perfect me, I am yet a creature. If You do not perfect me, I will still love You because I am no more than a creature. I am nothing more than a minuscule creature created by the Lord of creation, just one among all created humans. It was You who created me, and now You have once again placed me in Your hands to do with me as You will. I am willing to be Your tool and Your foil because everything is what You have ordained. No one can change it. All things and all events are in Your hands” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). As I contemplated the lyrics, my heart was brightened. My status, high or low, was preordained by God, and whether or not I had status, I was a created being. I was a created being if I had high status, and I was still a created being if I had low status. My essence would never change. The church arranged for me to do general work, so I should stand in my position, make full use of my strengths, and do my best to do general work well. This was my obligation as a created being. With this in mind, I felt released, and I silently prayed to God, “God! I don’t want to be negative and oppose You for the sake of my duty. Regardless of my status, I only want to earnestly fulfill the duty of a created being to satisfy You.” After that, I no longer resisted the environments arranged by God. I pondered how to do my current duty well, and did my work in a down-to-earth manner. Practicing like this, I felt very secure.
Later, I reflected and realized there was another reason I hated general work, which was that I had a ridiculous and absurd view of general work. I thought people who do general work don’t pursue the truth, that they are inferior and have no hope of salvation, and that only people who are promoted to important roles pursue the truth, and have a chance to be saved. I read two passages of God’s word that address this fallacious view. Almighty God says, “In the house of God, there is constant mention of God’s commission and performing one’s duty properly. How does duty come into being? To speak broadly, it comes into being as a result of God’s management work of bringing salvation to humanity; to speak specifically, as God’s management work unfolds among mankind, various work appears that requires people to cooperate and complete it. This has given rise to responsibilities and missions for people to fulfill, and these responsibilities and missions are the duties God bestows upon mankind. In God’s house, the various tasks that require people’s cooperation are the duties they should fulfill. So, are there differences between duties in terms of better and worse, lofty and lowly, or great and small? Such differences do not exist; as long as something has to do with God’s management work, is a requirement of the work of His house, and is required by spreading God’s gospel, then it is a person’s duty. This is the origin and definition of duty. … Regardless of what your duty is, it is a mission God has given you. Sometimes you may be required to look after or safeguard an important object. This might be a comparatively trivial matter that can only be said to be a responsibility of yours, but it is a task God has given you; you received it from Him. You accepted it from God’s hands, and this is your duty” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?). “It is not the case that people become someone who has realities of the truth as soon as they start doing their duty. Doing one’s duty is no more than one method and one channel to take. In the doing of their duties, people use the pursuit of the truth to experience the work of God, gradually understand and accept the truth, and then practice the truth. They then reach a state whereby they cast off their corrupt disposition, get rid of the bonds and control of the corrupt disposition of Satan, and so they become someone who has the reality of the truth and someone with a normal humanity. Only when you have normal humanity will your performance of your duty and your actions be edifying to people and satisfactory to God. And only when people are praised by God for their performance of their duty can they be an acceptable creature of God” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Gain the Truth, One Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Nearby). God’s word reversed my mistaken view of my duty. I learned that duties arise from God’s management work to save people, and there is no distinction between high and humble or great and small. No matter what the duty, it is an obligation and responsibility for people, and people must do their best to achieve it. If we want the work of the church to proceed smoothly, it takes the cooperation of people doing every duty. Every duty is indispensable. The work of leaders is important, but general work is just as much. If any link is missing, the work of the church is affected. A duty is a positive thing, and it is the path by which people pursue the truth and achieve salvation. It is the most glorious thing a created being can do. Doing my duty is an honor. But I didn’t know to cherish it and be grateful, I tried to divide duties into high and low ranks, and I assumed general work was inferior, useless, and shameful. Wasn’t I showing contempt for my duty? No matter what duty you have, you must pursue the truth, cast off your corrupt dispositions, and become a qualified created being. This is the only way to be saved by God. It is not the case that you will possess the truth and be saved by being a leader. Even if you are a leader for years, if you don’t pursue the truth, God won’t approve of you. Think about the antichrists and false leaders who are revealed. The church trains them for an important duty, but they don’t pursue the truth in their duty. They pursue prestige and status, engage in personal enterprise, are hostile to God, and in the end, they are cast out. God is righteous, and God determines people’s outcomes not based on whether they have an important role or high status. What matters most is whether their life disposition changes and whether they gain the truth. If you believe in God for years but don’t pursue truth, and your life disposition doesn’t change, no matter what duty you perform, you will be revealed and cast out in the end. God is righteous, and doesn’t treat people preferentially. It reminds me of God’s words, “Success or failure depends on the path that man walks” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks). Your success in belief in God depends on the path you take. Pursuing the truth and fulfilling the duty of a created being in a down-to-earth manner is the most important thing. My experience during this time showed me a little more clearly the nature of the pursuit of prestige and status. Pursuing fame and status is not the right path, it is resisting God. Nothing matters more than pursuing the truth. In addition, it also gave me a little self-awareness and the correct view of myself, and my ambition to pursue being a leader isn’t so strong anymore. When I hear about certain brothers and sisters being chosen as leaders, although it still affects me emotionally sometimes, through prayer and forsaking myself, I am no longer so constrained, and I can cooperate with my brothers and sisters in my duty normally. Thank God!