The Hidden Reasons for Fearing Responsibility
By George, Japan
I was in charge of watering work in the church. As more people accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, our church split into three different churches, and I was put in charge of one of them. After the division, I found that lots of newcomers who weren’t gathering regularly were assigned to my church. I thought, since we were lacking watering staff, supporting all those people who weren’t gathering properly would require lots of time and energy. If they dropped out because they weren’t watered well, the brothers and sisters might say I was incapable and of poor caliber. That would be so embarrassing. Then I might be pruned and dealt with, or held responsible for their departure. If I wasn’t in charge, but was just one of the watering staff, I wouldn’t have to shoulder that responsibility. I felt like it was a lot of pressure, as if I were saddled with a large burden, and I felt weighed down in my heart. The leader wanted us to cultivate more people to address the shortage of waterers. But seeing how many new believers weren’t gathering properly, I was consumed by the difficulty. I thought I wouldn’t be able to train people soon enough, and felt discouraged. After that, I became too passive in my work. I wasn’t training or watering those I should have been training and watering, which hurt our work. Feeling really upset and kind of guilty, I prayed to God, “God, I’m lacking stature. Seeing how many difficulties and issues are in this new church, I’ve wanted to walk away. I know that’s not Your will. Please guide me in self-reflection, and in changing my incorrect state so that I can take on this work.”
I read a passage of God’s words in my devotionals. Almighty God says, “Some people are afraid of shouldering responsibility while performing their duty. If the church gives them a job to do, they will first consider whether the job requires them to shoulder responsibility, and if it does, they will not accept the job. Their conditions for performing a duty are, first, that it must be a slack job; second, that it is not busy or tiring; and third, that no matter what they do, they do not shoulder any responsibility. This is the only kind of duty they take on. What sort of a person is this? Is this not a slippery, deceitful person? They do not want to shoulder even the smallest amount of responsibility. When the leaves fall from the trees, they are afraid the sky is falling. What duty can a person like this perform? What use could they have in the house of God? The work of the house of God has to do with the work of battling Satan, as well as disseminating the kingdom gospel. What duty does not entail responsibilities? Would you say that being a leader carries responsibility? Are their responsibilities not all the greater, and must they not bear responsibility all the more? You spread the gospel, testify, make videos, and the like. In actuality, the work you do, no matter what it is, carries responsibilities so long as it pertains to the principles of the truth. If the performance of your duty is unprincipled, it will affect the work of God’s house, and if you are afraid of shouldering responsibility, then you cannot perform any duty. Is someone who fears taking on responsibility in performing their duty cowardly, or is there a problem with their disposition? You must be able to tell the difference. The fact is that this is not an issue of cowardice. If that person were after wealth, or they were doing something in their own interest, how could they be so brave? They would take on any risk. But when they do things for the church, for God’s house, they take on no risk at all. Such people are selfish and vile, the most treacherous of all. Anyone who does not take on responsibility in performing a duty is not the least bit sincere to God, to say nothing of their loyalty. What sort of person dares to take on responsibility? What sort of person has the courage to bear a heavy burden? Someone who takes the lead and goes bravely forth at the crucial moment in the work of God’s house, who is not afraid to bear a heavy responsibility and endure great hardship when they see the work that is most important and crucial. That is someone loyal to God, a good soldier of Christ. Is it the case that everyone who fears taking on responsibility in their duty does so because they do not understand the truth? No; it is a problem in their humanity. They have no sense of justice or responsibility. They are selfish and vile people, not true-hearted believers in God. They do not accept the truth in the least, and for these reasons, they cannot be saved. To believe in God and gain the truth, one must pay many costs, and to put the truth into practice, one must also undergo some hardship, and must forsake and abandon some things. So, can one who fears taking on responsibility put the truth into practice? They certainly cannot, and less still is there to say about their gaining the truth. They are afraid of practicing the truth, of incurring a loss to their interests; they are afraid of being humiliated, of disparagement, and of judgment. They do not dare to practice the truth, so they cannot gain it, and no matter how many years they believe in God, they cannot attain His salvation” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Eight (Part One)). Seeing what was revealed in God’s words was uncomfortable for me. God says those afraid of taking on responsibility in their duty are the most selfish, vile, and deceitful. They can’t practice the truth and can’t possibly achieve salvation. I was acting that way. When I saw there were lots of newcomers gathering irregularly and few candidates for training, I wasn’t thinking of how to be considerate of God’s will, cultivating viable candidates and getting new believers watered well so they could establish roots on the true way sooner. I was treating them like a burden. I thought about how much time and energy it would take to support them, and that the others would look down on me if I didn’t do it well. I’d be pruned and dealt with, and held responsible if it was serious. It seemed like taxing work that might produce no results and I felt resistant. Though I forced myself to do it, I was passive about it. Since I was irresponsible, people who should have been trained weren’t, while some stopped coming regularly. God’s gospel of the last days is expanding rapidly now, and more people are turning to God. Watering and supporting new believers well is God’s urgent wish, but I only thought of my own interests, not God’s will. I didn’t consider the newcomers’ life entry, either. I was so selfish and so disappointing to God! And in the other new churches, I noticed that others could uphold the church’s work with no thought for their personal gains or losses. They did their utmost to water new believers no matter how hard it was. They were true believers who were devoted to their duties. I was ashamed and humiliated. I had to stop considering my own interests and holding up church work. I needed to shoulder this responsibility and give my all to getting newcomers watered well. I started cooperating proactively after that and put effort into watering some people who could be cultivated. Once they understood God’s will they became active in their duty, too. We worked together to do our jobs and support new believers together. After a bit of time, quite a few newcomers were gathering regularly. I was really happy and grateful to God.
But before long, I ran into the same situation again. One day, the leader said to me, “The Shuiyuan Church was just established. A number of new believers aren’t gathering properly and they’re short on good waterers. Work is progressing slowly. Let’s put that church into your hands.” When the leader said this, I realized that God’s will was behind this situation. The last time a church was split up, I was afraid of taking on responsibility, which delayed the church’s work. This time I had to submit and do my duty properly. But I wavered when I took another look at the Shuiyuan Church’s current state. The church I was in charge of was just starting to do better and there was lots of work left to do. Taking on another church would take a lot of time and energy. If I couldn’t adequately support Shuiyuan and couldn’t take care of the work at my current church, what would the others think of me? Just managing one church wouldn’t be so hectic, and I could focus my efforts on doing my work well. Then everyone would see me with new eyes, and I might even get a promotion. At this thought, I felt like the Shuiyuan Church would be too much to juggle. No matter what, it wouldn’t benefit me, and I didn’t want to accept it. But if I turned it down and no one took it on, that would impact the church’s work. I felt conflicted. The leader saw what sort of state I was in and shared a passage of God’s words with me: “If you are pretty good at a certain kind of professional work, and have been doing it for slightly longer than others, then harder tasks should be allocated to you. You should receive this from God and obey. Don’t be picky and complain, saying, ‘Why do people always make things difficult for me? They give all the easy tasks to other people, and give me the hard ones. Aren’t they just trying to make life difficult for me?’ What do you mean ‘trying to make life difficult for you’? Work arrangements are tailored to each individual—those who are able should do more work. You’ve learned a lot and God has given you a lot, so it is right for you to be given a heavier burden. Increasing your burden is not to make things hard for you, but exactly what is needed: This is your duty, so don’t try to pick and choose, or say no, or get out of it. Why do you think it difficult? In fact, if you put your heart into it, you would be wholly capable of accomplishing this. That you feel it difficult, and as if you are being treated unfairly, as if you are deliberately being given a hard time, is the outpouring of a corrupt disposition, this is refusing to do your duty, and not receiving from God; it is not practicing the truth. When you pick and choose your duty, doing the one that is cushy and easy, the one that makes you look good, then this is the corrupt disposition of Satan. If you are incapable of accepting your duty, and of submission, this proves that you are still rebellious toward God, that you are fighting back, rejecting, avoiding—which is a corrupt disposition” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). This passage was moving for me. The leader wasn’t trying to make things hard for me by having me take on another church. I’d been doing watering work for a while, so I should be able to manage it if I just sacrificed a little bit more. I was being too selfish, only thinking of my own interests and unwilling to sacrifice more. I was also afraid I’d look bad if I didn’t do a good job, so I didn’t want to take it on, but just rejected it—I wasn’t obedient at all. The church entrusting me with something as important as watering new believers was God’s grace and elevation. I should submit to it unconditionally and do my absolute best. That’s what someone with a conscience and reason would do. By leaning on God and truly cooperating with Him, I knew God would guide me to do the job well. Then I prayed to God in my heart, ready to let go of my concerns and take on that responsibility.
Later I did some reflection and seeking. Why did I always want to turn duties down and never shoulder a burden? I read something in God’s words. “No matter what they’re doing, the antichrists first consider their own interests, and they only act once they’ve thought it all out; they do not truly, sincerely, and absolutely obey the truth without compromise, but do so selectively and conditionally. What condition is this? It is that their status and reputation must be safeguarded, and must not suffer any loss. Only after this condition is satisfied will they decide and choose what to do. That is, antichrists give serious consideration to how to treat the principles of the truth, God’s commissions, and the work of God’s house, or how to deal with the things they face. They do not consider how to fulfill God’s will, how to keep from damaging the interests of God’s house, how to satisfy God, or how to benefit the brothers and sisters; these are not the things they consider. What do antichrists consider? Whether their own status and reputation will be affected, and whether their prestige will be lowered. If doing something according to the principles of the truth benefits the work of the church and the brothers and sisters, but would cause their own reputation to suffer and cause many people to realize their true stature and know what sort of nature and essence they have, then they will definitely not act in accordance with the principles of the truth. If doing practical work will cause more people to think highly of them, look up to them and admire them, or enable their words to carry authority and make more people submit to them, then they will choose to do it that way; otherwise, they will never choose to disregard their own interests out of consideration for the interests of God’s house or of the brothers and sisters. This is the nature and essence of antichrists. Isn’t it selfish and vile?” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). “Until people have experienced God’s work and understood the truth, it is Satan’s nature that takes charge and dominates them from within. What, specifically, does that nature entail? For example, why are you selfish? Why do you protect your own position? Why do you have such strong emotions? Why do you enjoy those unrighteous things? Why do you like those evils? What is the basis for your fondness for such things? Where do these things come from? Why are you so happy to accept them? By now, you have all come to understand that the main reason behind all these things is that Satan’s poison is within man. So what is Satan’s poison? How can it be expressed? For example, if you ask, ‘How should people live? What should people live for?’ people will answer, ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. Satan’s philosophy and logic has become people’s lives. No matter what people pursue after, they do it for themselves—and so they live only for themselves. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’—this is the life philosophy of man, and it also represents human nature. These words have already become the nature of corrupt mankind, the true portrait of corrupt mankind’s satanic nature, and this satanic nature has already become the basis for corrupt mankind’s existence; for several thousand years, corrupt mankind has lived by this venom of Satan, right up to the present day” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Walk the Path of Peter). I found the answer in God’s words. The main reason I didn’t want to shoulder a heavy burden was that I was living by an antichrist’s disposition, being selfish and deceitful. I linked every single thing I did to my own interests, with a precondition that it couldn’t compromise my personal interests. I wasn’t considering God’s will or upholding the work of the church. When I saw that many newcomers in my new church weren’t gathering regularly, I was afraid my success in my duty would be impacted, which would hurt my reputation. When the leader asked me to oversee Shuiyuan Church, I knew that if the new believers there weren’t watered soon, they could be disrupted by religious pastors and drop out. But I didn’t want to accept the watering work there. I was weighing the pros and cons for myself, just thinking about how to get the work I was already responsible for done. That way, it wouldn’t be so stressful and I wouldn’t need to suffer much. If I accomplished something in the end I’d get the others’ approval and leave a good impression. I was living by the satanic poison, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” Faced with anything, I first thought about whether it would be good for my reputation. If my interests would be harmed, even if it would be good for the church’s work, I wouldn’t want to do it. I’d resist and refuse, not being genuine or submissive to God at all. Those who had just accepted God’s work of the last days didn’t know the truth yet. They were susceptible to the pastors’ interference that could deceive them and drive them away, so the church assigned me to water and support them. Faced with such a key task, I didn’t take the responsibility on and fulfill my duty, but was afraid my reputation would suffer if I didn’t do a good job. That’s the same kind of disposition as an antichrist—selfish, despicable, and self-interested. I was filled with regret and guilt. I felt like I really owed God, and I wanted to repent to Him.
I read more of God’s words after that. “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). God’s words are very clear. God doesn’t look at how much we suffer, but at what’s in our hearts and what we reveal as we do our duty, and if we have testimony of practicing the truth. If a person’s motive in their duty isn’t to satisfy God, if they’re not practicing the truth, then no matter how much they give, God sees it as doing evil and going against Him. Thinking back on what my mindset over that period of time revealed, I was always thinking of and planning around my own interests, and wanting to evade my duty. Though I reluctantly accepted it, I wasn’t being responsible. I didn’t train those I should have trained, and some new believers weren’t gathering regularly because I didn’t water them in time. My motives and behaviors were disgusting to God. In God’s eyes, I was doing evil and resisting Him. I’d been a believer for years and had enjoyed so much sustenance of the truth from God, but never thought of repaying God’s love. When the church’s work most needed support, I didn’t want to shoulder a heavy burden. I wasn’t doing my duty and satisfying God. I really didn’t have any conscience or humanity. I silently prayed, “Oh God, in my duty I’ve been pursuing my own name and status without protecting the church’s work at all. I’m so selfish. I haven’t done my duty well, and I’m deeply indebted to You. God, thank You for giving me another chance. I want to repent, take on this burden, and do my utmost in my duty to make up for past transgressions.”
Later, I read a passage of God’s words that gave me a path of practice. God says, “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). From God’s words, I found a path of practice. It was to let go of my own interests and put the church’s interests first when something comes up. I wanted to do what God’s word says, stop considering whether my own interests would suffer or not, and stop considering what the others would think of me. I had to fulfill my responsibilities and take on the work. I also realized that I never wanted to do challenging work, afraid I’d be looked down on, or dealt with if I didn’t do it well. I didn’t understand God’s good intentions of saving man. Giving me more difficult work was God’s grace. God was using this challenge to help me learn to lean on Him and seek the truth to resolve problems. In the course of my duty, carrying a heavy burden, and being pruned and dealt with or exposed in the face of difficulties are all good things. They give me the chance to better see my faults and shortcomings so that I can be more focused in seeking and equipping myself with the truth to make up for my weak points. That’s beneficial for my understanding of the truth and progress in life. It’s God’s love.
Once I understood God’s will, my attitude toward my duty shifted. I saw that to manage the work of two churches, I couldn’t just rely on my own abilities. What I could do was limited, so I had to focus on training people. Once more brothers and sisters knew God’s will, they could take on duties and that would make the job easier. Then I could focus my energy on critical tasks. So, I discussed and confirmed people to train with the watering staff, then worked to hold gatherings and fellowship on God’s words to resolve their actual difficulties and issues. I was surprised when some brothers and sisters gained an understanding of God’s work, gained faith, and wanted to do a duty. When we worked together, I became much more efficient in my duty, and some projects were done in no time. They also gained some practice and had more energy for their duty. After some time being watered and supported, lots of new believers had gained some understanding of God’s work, had laid a foundation on the true way, and were actively attending gatherings. Seeing all this was really moving for me. After I let go of my own interests, took on a burden, and tried my best to do my duty, before I knew it I’d made some progress and was accomplishing a lot more in my duty. Now, I’m no longer afraid of taking on responsibility, and I want to practice the truth and do my duty to satisfy God.
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