I’m No Longer Shirking My Duty

June 26, 2022

By Dong’en, Spain

One day in mid-August last year, a leader told me that she wanted me to take charge of several churches’ work and asked if I was willing to try. My heart thumped when I heard that. Taking on churches’ work means not only resolving brothers’ and sisters’ various issues and difficulties in life entry, but also guiding and helping them with work tasks. That’s a big responsibility. If that duty was done poorly and work was delayed, or it caused disruptions and really harmed the interests of God’s house, not only would I be dealt with, but I could even be dismissed or cast out. Then I’d lose my outcome and destination. I thought of how the last two people in that post had been dismissed. I didn’t know the work and my caliber didn’t match theirs, so I figured there would be lots of problems if I took it on. I’d rather just do a single duty so I wasn’t shouldering such a heavy responsibility. I wanted to decline it, but I also felt like this was an elevation from God and I should submit, so I reluctantly accepted it. I tossed and turned that night, unable to sleep. I was incredibly stressed out. I was thinking over and over that being in charge of churches’ work, I’d get to have more guidance and help, learn more truths, and enter into life faster. But that duty was such a big responsibility. If I did poorly I could be exposed and cast out faster, too. I felt that not taking it would be safer. So I made up my mind, and called the leader the next day to say, “My stature is small, so I’m not up to the task. I’m afraid of delaying work, so I think you should find someone else.” The leader told me I should do some more seeking and reflect on my motives for shirking that duty. After hanging up, I knelt down and prayed, “God, I’m afraid of taking charge of several churches’ work. I’m afraid I’ll be cast out if I don’t do well, so I’m in a state of guardedness and misunderstanding. God, please guide me to understand Your will.” Then I read some of God’s words in “Only by Practicing the Truth and Obeying God Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition.” “When performing their duty, some are often in a state of negativity and passivity, or resistance and misunderstanding. They are always afraid they will be exposed and cast out, and are constrained by their future and destiny. Is this not the expression of a childish stature? (Yes.) Some people always say they are afraid they will not perform their duty well, and without analyzing the details, one may think they are quite loyal. What are they really worried about in their hearts? They worry that if they do not do their duty well, they will be cast out and have no final destination. Some people say they are afraid to become service-doers. When other people hear that, they think those people do not want to become service-doers and just want to perform their duty well as one of God’s people. People think that they have resolve. Actually, in their hearts those people who are afraid to become service-doers are thinking, ‘If I become a service-doer, in the end I will still perish and have no final destination, and will not have a share in the kingdom of heaven.’ This is the implication of their words; they are still worried about their outcome and final destination. If God says they are service-doers, they put somewhat less effort into performing their duty. If God says they are one of His people and they have been praised by God, they devote somewhat more effort to doing their duty. What is the problem here? The problem is that when performing their duty in the house of God, they do not act according to the principle of truth. They always consider their own prospects and fate, and are always constrained by the designation ‘service-doer.’ As a result, they cannot do their duty well, and do not have the strength to practice the truth. They always live in a state of negativity, and look for the meaning behind God’s words to make sure whether they are people of God or service-doers. If they are people of God, they can perform their duty well. If they are service-doers, they are careless and perfunctory, they give rise to many negative things, and they are subject to control and can’t get out of it. They can never solve these negative thoughts by themselves; they trap them in a net, leaving them ensnared, and incapable of escape, but they always feel that what they think is right. Sometimes, after being dealt with, they say to themselves, ‘Those words were pretty severe. There’s no hope for me, this is just how I am. I’ll just do what I can.’ Their thoughts are passive, negative, degenerate, and such people are resistant and confrontational when they perform their duty. Could they perform their duty well?” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “All corrupt humans live for themselves. Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost—this is the summation of human nature. People believe in God for their own sakes; when they forsake things and expend themselves for God, it is in order to be blessed, and when they are faithful to Him, it is in order to be rewarded. In sum, it is all done for the purpose of being blessed, rewarded, and entering the kingdom of heaven. In society, people work for their own benefit, and in the house of God, they perform a duty in order to be blessed. It is for the sake of gaining blessings that people forsake everything and can withstand much suffering: There is no better evidence of man’s satanic nature” (“Part Three” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Every word of God was so poignant for me—it exposed precisely my state. Facing a duty, I said my stature was small and I was afraid of not doing well and holding up work, but I was actually considering my personal interests. Seeing others had been dismissed and cast out after doing this duty, I felt like there was a big risk in taking it on. If I did a bad job, disrupting things and delaying the work of God’s house, not only would that be a transgression and I’d be dismissed, but I’d be cast out if it was serious. Then I wouldn’t have an outcome or destination anymore. So, I found an excuse to decline the duty to protect my future and destination, saying in a high-sounding way I was afraid of delaying the work of God’s house. I just wanted a duty with less responsibility so I’d not only get to perform a duty, but in the end have a good destination. I was totally subject to Satan’s poisons “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” and “Seek only to avoid mistakes, not great merit” when living in that state. My starting point in everything was my self-interest, myself. I would do a duty that benefited me, but not one that didn’t, wanting to pay a small price and get God’s blessings in return. That’s being transactional with God, and it’s really selfish and despicable.

I read more of God’s words later on. “I take pleasure in those who are not suspicious of others, and I like those who readily accept the truth; toward these two kinds of people I show great care, for in My eyes they are honest people. If you are deceitful, then you will be guarded and suspicious toward all people and matters, and thus your faith in Me will be built upon a foundation of suspicion. I could never acknowledge such faith. Lacking true faith, you are even more devoid of true love. And if you are liable to doubt God and speculate about Him at will, then you are, without question, the most deceitful of all people. You speculate whether God can be like man: unpardonably sinful, of petty character, devoid of fairness and reason, lacking a sense of justice, given to vicious tactics, treacherous and cunning, pleased by evil and darkness, and so on. Is not the reason that people have such thoughts because they lack the slightest knowledge of God? Such faith is nothing short of sin! There are even some who believe that the ones who please Me are precisely those who flatter and bootlick, and that those lacking in such skills will be unwelcome in the house of God and will lose their place there. Is this the only knowledge you have acquired after all these years? Is this what you have gained? And your knowledge of Me does not stop at these misunderstandings; even worse is your blasphemy against God’s Spirit and vilification of Heaven. This is why I say that such faith as yours will only cause you to stray further from Me and be in greater opposition against Me” (“How to Know the God on Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Pondering God’s words and reflecting on myself, I saw that I was really cunning and evil by nature. I thought that the risk would be greater with an important duty with lots of responsibility, so I’d be exposed and cast out quickly if I slipped up, and even be expelled. I was thinking of God’s house like the world, and of God like a worldly king. I felt doing a duty was like walking on thin ice, that I could fall through with the slightest carelessness. It was as if God just arbitrarily toys with, messes with people, and having me do an important duty was to expose me and cast me out, to push me toward the pit of flames. I didn’t believe in God’s righteousness, but was just guarded against and misunderstanding Him. That was blasphemy against God! In fact, God’s house treats people in a principled way. I knew a church leader, Sister Cheng, who had been a believer for years, and though her caliber was a little lacking, she was responsible in her duty and God’s house was where her heart was. When she was pruned and dealt with, she was able to accept it and submit, and seek change. God’s house gave her responsibility for important work. Once, she promoted someone to team leader, then it turned out that person was really cunning and didn’t do practical work, and this was really disruptive to the church’s work. After finding out, her leader seriously dealt with her for appointing that person without principles and not supervising his work. That’s what a false leader does. But the leader didn’t dismiss her for that. Instead, she patiently fellowshiped with her using relevant principles of the truth and helped her see her mistakes and flaws. And there was a newly elected leader, Sister Wang, who didn’t have much experience, but had good caliber and a pure understanding, and could accomplish some things in her duty. But she didn’t know the principles and couldn’t discern others while she was a leader, so she nearly expelled someone as an antichrist who was just seriously arrogant. When her leader found out, she didn’t dismiss her, but exposed and dealt with her, got her to realize the gravity of the problem, fellowshiped on the relevant principles of the truth and helped Sister Wang learn discernment. I saw that leaders in God’s house aren’t dismissed and cast out once they’re found to reveal corruption or make mistakes in their work. Instead, they’re given help and fellowship, or dealt with, so they can understand the truth and grasp the principles. As long as they possess caliber, can accept the truth, and have a burden in their duty, even if there are failures and transgressions, God’s house gives them a chance to repent, and doesn’t write them off just for one single thing. They continue to be cultivated so they can be trained in their duty. Some people aren’t competent for a job because they’re lacking caliber, but God’s house doesn’t cast them out. They’re transferred to a suitable duty based on their caliber and stature. But for those who are wily in their duty, who don’t pursue the truth, even if they don’t have an important duty, they’ll end up exposed and cast out. And some people don’t repent at all after they’re dismissed, but complain and are judgmental, spreading notions and disrupting the church. Those sorts of people are purged and expelled. I could see that God’s disposition is righteous and God’s house is principled in its treatment of people. God’s love and salvation are within all of it. I believed in God without knowing Him, and was speculating about Him. I thought God gave me that commission to expose me and cast me out. My understanding was so absurd, and it was a total distortion of God’s will. That’s a misconception and blasphemy of God, and it’s denying His righteousness. Without the judgment of God’s words, I wouldn’t have seen what a serious issue that was, but would have kept living in a state against God.

Then one day, I read another passage of God’s words. “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 least that a person, a person who pursues God, should do. You should not do your duty only to be blessed, and you should not refuse to act for fear of being cursed. Let Me tell you this one thing: Man’s performance of his duty is what he ought to do, and if he is incapable of performing his duty, then this is his rebelliousness” (“The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I learned from pondering God’s words that being blessed or suffering disaster is totally unrelated to what duty someone does. A duty is God’s commission, and it’s right and natural for people to perform it. When someone is dismissed and cast out, it’s because they weren’t pursuing the truth in their faith or submitting to God, but running amok in their duty, doing evil and resisting God. The two people in charge who had been dismissed before were just like that. One of them was dismissed mainly for not having good humanity and not remotely accepting the truth. He also stirred up conflict, formed factions, and gave others a hard time, seriously disrupting the church’s work. The church handled this based on his nature and essence, and the facts of his evildoing. The other one had a really arrogant disposition and was always elevating herself and showing off. She also reveled in the benefits of status and didn’t do practical work. This seriously delayed the church’s work, so she was dismissed. Getting to that point wasn’t because their duties harmed them. It was entirely because they didn’t do practical work and were on the wrong path. I didn’t look at the reasons and backgrounds of their dismissals or understand the facts. I just imagined that they’d been exposed and cast out because their duties were so difficult, and even mistakenly thought that since my caliber wasn’t as good as theirs, I was certain to be cast out even faster if I took on that important duty. What an absurd perspective!

After that, I read more of God’s words. “You should each do your own duty to the best of your ability, with open and honest hearts, and be willing to pay whatever price is necessary. As you have said, when the day comes, God will not be remiss toward anyone who has suffered or paid a price for Him. This kind of conviction is worth holding on to, and it is right that you should never forget it. Only in this way can I put My mind at ease about you. Otherwise, you will forever be people about whom I cannot put My mind at ease, and you will forever be the objects of My distaste. If all of you can follow your conscience and give your all for Me, sparing no effort for My work, and devoting the energy of a lifetime to My gospel work, then will My heart not often leap for joy on your account? This way, I will be able to put My mind entirely at ease regarding you, won’t I? It is a shame that what you can do is but a pitifully tiny part of what I expect. This being the case, how can you have the gall to seek from Me what you hope for?” (“On Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I learned from God’s words that He perfects people through their duty, and whether or not it’s important, whether it requires taking on responsibility and risk, we have to submit and put our all into performing it. The more problems are exposed through a duty, the more beneficial it is for us to self-reflect and see our own corruption and flaws. Then we can use that to seek the truth, learn the principles, and gradually enter into the reality of the truth. All that’s achieved through a duty. If we don’t do a duty or we turn one down, afraid of taking on responsibility, our corrupt disposition and faults won’t come to light. It won’t be possible for us to gain much understanding of our incorrect perspectives and satanic nature, much less resolve them by seeking the truth. Then we may believe until the very end, but never gain the truth and achieve dispositional change, and we especially won’t be saved and perfected. Having me do such an important duty of being responsible for several church’s work was giving me a chance to train. Whether I made mistakes in my duty or I was pruned and dealt with, it was still all a good chance to know myself and enter into the reality of the truth. Realizing all of this was a relief for me, so I told the leader I was willing to accept the duty. In my duty after that, the leader came by to check up on my work a lot, and through her guidance and help, I gradually learned some principles and some truths and gained more clarity on my own shortcomings. Once when I was carrying out a task, I didn’t fellowship or supervise it properly, leading to problems in the work that caused some losses. I was afraid I’d be dealt with or the leader would hold me responsible if I told her about it, but I knew clearly that I couldn’t hide the facts. I needed to accurately report the problem with a heart of honesty, and accept however God’s house handled me. When the leader heard what I had to say, she didn’t deal with me, but fellowshiped with me on some principles of the truth so I could see where I’d gone wrong and grasp some principles and details of how to do that duty well. Though there were some mistakes and issues in my work after that and at times I was seriously pruned and dealt with by leadership, I wasn’t dismissed and cast out for making some mistakes, like I’d imagined. I truly experienced that doing that duty helped make up for my faults, and that was God’s love!

It wasn’t long before I was faced with a new test. One day, the leader assigned a task to me that had to do with how the offerings were spent. I felt really stressed out when I heard about it and I thought that if something went wrong that caused serious losses to God’s offerings, that would basically be bursting through the gates of hell, and I’d be done for! No, I figured I should tell the leader I couldn’t take it on. But I was the person best suited for the task, so if I shirked it, that would delay the work of God’s house. I didn’t know what to do. I was feeling really conflicted. I wanted to find an excuse not to do it, but I felt kind of guilty. I realized I was once again starting to consider my own future and fate, so I rushed to say a prayer: “God, I’m afraid of taking on responsibility again and I want to shirk this duty. Oh God, I can’t be so selfish and only consider my own interests. Please guide me to submit.” I read a passage of God’s words after that. “Today, what you are required to achieve are not additional demands, but the duty of man, and that which should be done by all people. If you are incapable of even doing your duty, or of doing it well, then are you not bringing trouble upon yourselves? Are you not courting death? How could you still expect to have a future and prospects? The work of God is done for the sake of mankind, and the cooperation of man is given for the sake of God’s management. After God has done all that He is supposed to do, man is required to be unstinting in his practice, and to cooperate with God. In the work of God, man should spare no effort, should offer up his loyalty, and should not indulge in numerous notions, or sit passively and await death. God can sacrifice Himself for man, so why can man not offer his loyalty to God? God is of one heart and mind toward man, so why can man not offer a little cooperation? God works for mankind, so why can man not perform some of his duty for the sake of God’s management? God’s work has come this far, yet still you see but do not act, you hear but do not move. Are not such people the objects of perdition? God has already devoted His all to man, so why, today, is man incapable of earnestly performing his duty? For God, His work is His first priority, and the work of His management is of the utmost importance. For man, putting God’s words into practice and fulfilling God’s requirements are his first priority. This you should all understand” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading this I understood that this duty was God’s requirement for me and a responsibility I should fulfill. It was my bounden duty to complete it. If I shirked and refused this duty to protect my own future and destination, that would be losing the value of life as a created being and that kind of faith can’t gain God’s approval. God had been consistently elevating me, giving me chances to train, but I wasn’t considerate of God’s will at all, and wanted to refuse the duty, against my conscience. It was unconscionable, and I didn’t deserve to live before God. I felt really guilty when I thought about it that way and felt ready to let go of my own interests and take it on. It was pretty difficult when I first started working on it. No one had found a good approach, and the work was dragging on without progress. I didn’t have a good solution either, and I was feeling pretty anxious, so I prayed to God, and fellowshiped and sought with the brothers and sisters. Through everyone’s harmonious cooperation and under God’s guidance, we found a path really quickly, and made some progress on the task. Seeing this, I thanked God over and over.

This experience strengthened my faith in God and I saw that no matter what duty I do in God’s house, it’s a responsibility and obligation I should take on. I shouldn’t refuse it out of fear of accountability. That’s really lacking humanity. I also experienced that God giving us a duty is His blessing, and as long as our motives are right, we take on a burden, and we focus on seeking the truth and following the principles, we’ll gain more of the Holy Spirit’s work and do our duty better and better.

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