Keeping Your Place in Your Duty Brings Peace
By Jiang Ling, Spain
As the gospel of the kingdom spreads, more and more people investigate and accept God’s work of the last days, and our brothers and sisters are busy spreading the gospel and watering newcomers. When I saw that some brothers and sisters around me were transferred to preach the gospel, I was very excited. God has appeared and worked in the flesh for thirty years. His work is drawing to a close, the great disaster has begun, and today is the critical moment for the spread of the kingdom gospel. Spreading the gospel is the greatest good deed, so if I could also preach the gospel and bring more people to God, that would be perfect. It would surely be remembered and blessed by God. I looked forward to the day this could be my duty. Although I knew I had been in the team the longest, and I was the team leader, so a transfer wasn’t likely, I still looked forward to the day when I could preach the gospel.
At one meeting, I heard fellowship from brothers and sisters who preached the gospel on how they relied on God to bring gospel targets before God step by step, and how as they did so, they saw God’s guidance, and gained more confidence in God. I was very envious when I heard this. They preached the gospel to gain people and contributed to the work of the church, but what about me? I spent my days making images, and I didn’t know how much of a role it played in spreading the gospel. I couldn’t help but worry that I didn’t contribute much to God’s house. If this continued, when God’s work concluded, it was hard to say if I would survive. But I was always busy making images, so I never had time to preach the gospel. I thought, “Since I can’t preach the gospel, I can make more images for my brothers and sisters to use when they do. That way, I would also have a share in the effects of gospel work.” Actually, some images only needed one version to achieve the desired effect, but I always wanted to create an extra version, which meant it always took me longer to finish, which delayed the progress of work. And during that time, I didn’t have much interest in leading my team to study professional skills. I vaguely understood that this was inappropriate, and I felt a little guilty, but I didn’t reflect on myself. I was completely taken by surprise when many of the images I made for preaching were accidentally deleted and lost. During that time, I was very upset. This is when I realized something was wrong with my state, so I prayed to God to seek, “God, I don’t know why this happened. Did I do something that went against Your will? Please guide me in reflecting and knowing myself.”
At one meeting, I read this passage of God’s word: “As My day draws near, their desire steadily grows stronger. And the greater the disaster, the more it renders them helpless, not knowing where to start so as to make Me rejoice and to avoid losing the blessings that they have long yearned for. Such people are eager to take action to serve as the vanguard as soon as My hand begins its work. They think only of surging to the very front line of the troops, deeply afraid that I will not see them. They do and say that which they think to be right, never knowing that their deeds and actions have never been relevant to the truth, and that their deeds merely disrupt and interfere with My plan. They may have put in great effort, and may be true in their will and intention to endure hardships, but nothing they do relates to Me, for I have never seen that their deeds come from good intentions, much less have I seen them place anything upon My altar. Such are the deeds which they have done before Me over these many years” (“You Ought to Consider Your Deeds” in). I contemplated and reflected on my recent state. I saw that when the brothers and sisters around me went to preach the gospel, I started to get excited because I thought preaching and bringing people to God is what God appreciates most, and that this duty is the most valuable. But now, I was merely making images in obscurity, and it was hard to know exactly how useful these images were in preaching, so I worried I wouldn’t get much credit or a good destination if I continued to perform this duty. I set different values on duties, thinking gospel work was worth more and offered a better chance to be blessed, while my current duty was worthless, and offered little hope of blessings. When I saw how enthusiastically everyone spread the gospel and watered newcomers, I became envious and anxious. I wanted to insert myself into the gospel team, squeeze to the front, and make major contributions because I thought, this way, God was sure to bless me. When I saw little hope of doing gospel work, I wanted to make more images for the brothers and sisters doing gospel work to increase the value of my duty, without a care that it delayed the progress of work. Only then did I see that all I did was driven by my desire for blessings. I didn’t do it to be considerate of God’s will or to expend for God. I also realized that the deleted images were God using the environment to remind me to reflect and repent before it was too late. Once I realized this, my heart felt brightened, so I prayed to God to say I wanted to obey and contentedly perform my duty.
Not long after, more brothers and sisters on our team went to preach the gospel, and only a few of us were left. I instantly became discouraged. I started to think my duty was entirely irrelevant and useless. I thought, “What’s the use spending so much time and effort making images and studying these skills? One day I might not even need them anymore. Others get to preach the gospel, testify God’s work, and bring people before God. That is meaningful work. When will I finally get to stop making images?” After that, I felt dispirited and downtrodden. I was sluggish in my duty every day, and I had no interest in anything. When I urged my team to learn the skills, I was going through the motions. When the alarm rang in the morning, I felt lazy and didn’t want to get up. At this point, I realized my state was wrong, and I asked myself, “I’ve always enjoyed this duty, so why am I so tired of it now? Why do I always want to preach the gospel?” I came before God to reflect on myself.
One day, I read this passage of God’s word: “The purpose of believing in God is to obtain blessings. Doesn’t this exist in everyone’s heart? It is a fact that it does. Although people don’t often talk about it, and even cover up their motive and desire to obtain blessings, this desire and motive deep in people’s hearts has always been unshakeable. No matter how much spiritual theory people understand, what experience or knowledge they have, what duty they can perform, how much suffering they endure, or how much of a price they pay, they never let go of the motivation for blessings hidden deep in their hearts, and always silently labor in its service. Isn’t this the thing buried deepest inside people? Without this motivation to receive blessings, how would you feel? With what attitude would you perform your duty? What would happen if this motivation to receive blessings that is hidden in people’s hearts was gotten rid of? Perhaps many people would become negative, while some might become demotivated in their duties. They would lose interest in their belief in God, as if their soul has vanished. They would appear as if their soul was snatched away. This is why I say the motivation for blessings is the deepest thing in people. Perhaps, as they performed their duty or lived the life of the church, they would feel themselves able to forsake their families and gladly expend themselves for God, and that they now had knowledge of their motivation to receive blessings, and had put this motivation aside, and were no longer governed or constrained by it. Then, they would think that they no longer had the motivation to be blessed, but God would believe otherwise. People only view matters superficially. Without trials, they feel good about themselves. As long as they don’t leave the church, deny God’s name, and persist in expending for God, they believe they have changed. They feel they are no longer driven by personal enthusiasm or momentary impulses in the performance of their duty. Instead, they believe they can pursue the truth, and that they can continuously seek and practice the truth while performing their duty, so that their corrupt dispositions can be purified and they can achieve some genuine change. However, when things happen that are directly related to someone’s destination and ending, their behavior completely reveals their truth in its entirety” (“Six Indicators of Life Growth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word revealed my true state. I recalled when I started to make images and learned the importance of professional work, I focused on studying it, wanting to perform my duty well. Later, I became the team leader. Although I knew I would have to work harder and suffer more, I never shirked from it. I believed making a contribution in important duties would be blessed by God, and that the higher a price I paid, the more I would receive. When I saw fewer and fewer people in our team, I supposed this sort of professional duty must be unimportant, and there must be no future development for me in making images, so I honestly didn’t want this duty anymore. Even if this duty could give full play to my strengths, I didn’t want it. I was much more interested in preaching the gospel. During that time, I gave almost no thought to my tasks, which made me much less effective in my work. Only then did I realize that my desire for blessings in my belief in God had never changed. I wanted to use my duty and make contributions in exchange for a beautiful destination. I had experienced many environments in my past few years as I believed in God, and I thought my pursuit in my belief in God had changed. Now, I thought, I had truly begun to expend for God, but the facts exposed the adulteration of my belief in God and my real stature. When my duty couldn’t satisfy my desire for blessings, I turned against it, resisted it, and disengaged from it. How could I claim to have a conscience? Or any humanity? As I thought of this, I felt so regretful and guilty. I prayed to God with tears in my eyes, “God! I am so rebellious! Thank You for using this environment to reveal me and let me see my mistaken pursuit in my belief in God. I no longer wish to pursue blessings in my belief. No matter what duty I perform, I only want to submit to Your orchestration and arrangements, so please guide me to know myself better.”
The next day, during my devotionals, I read a passage of God’s word. God says, “In the last days, God comes incarnate to work, expresses many truths, opens up to humankind all the mysteries of God’s management plan, and supplies all the truths that people must understand and enter into in order to be saved. These truths and these words of God are treasures to all who love positive things. The truths are required by corrupt humankind, and they are also priceless treasures for humankind. Every part of God’s word, requirements, and will are things people should understand and grasp, they are things people must abide by to achieve salvation, and they are truths that human beings must gain. But antichrists regard these words as theories and slogans, turn a deaf ear to them, or even despise and deny them. Antichrists regard the most precious things among humanity to be the lies of charlatans. Antichrists believe that there is no Savior, let alone truth or positive things in the world. They think anything beautiful or beneficial must be won by human hands and taken by human struggle. Antichrists think people without ambitions and dreams will never succeed, but their hearts are filled with a sickness and hatred for the truth expressed by God. They consider the truths expressed by God to be theories and slogans, but they consider power, interests, ambition, and desire as righteous things to be engaged in and pursued. They also use the service done with their gifts as means to transact with God in an attempt to enter the kingdom of heaven, obtain crowns, and enjoy greater blessings. Isn’t this evil? How do they interpret God’s will? They say, ‘God determines who is the boss by seeing who expends and suffers the most for Him and who pays the highest price. He determines who can enter the kingdom and who receives crowns by seeing who is able to run around, speak eloquently, and who has the spirit of a bandit and can seize things by force. As Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2Ti 4:7–8).’ They follow Paul’s words and believe that Paul’s words are true, but they ignore God’s requirements and statements for humankind, thinking, ‘These things are unimportant. All that matters is that once I have fought my fight and finished my course, there is a crown waiting for me at the end. This is true. Isn’t that what God means? God has spoken thousands upon thousands of words and delivered countless sermons. What He means to tell people is that if you want crowns and rewards, it’s up to you to fight, struggle, seize, and take it.’ Is this not the logic of antichrists? In the depths of their hearts, this is how antichrists view God’s work, and this is how they interpret God’s word and management plan. Their disposition is evil, isn’t it? They twist God’s will, the truth, and all positive things. They regard God’s management plan to save humankind as a naked transaction, and regard the duty the Creator requires humankind to perform as a naked expropriation, aggression, deception, and transaction. Isn’t this the evil disposition of antichrists? Antichrists believe that to obtain blessings and enter the kingdom of heaven, they must obtain it through a transaction, and that this is fair, reasonable, and most legitimate. Isn’t this the logic of evil? Isn’t this satanic logic? Antichrists always hold such views and attitudes in their hearts, which proves that the disposition of antichrists is evil” (“They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Seven)” in Exposing Antichrists). The revelation in God’s word stirred my heart. God expresses the truth to supply and save people. This is the great salvation God bestows upon humankind, and people should love and obey God’s words. But antichrists have evil dispositions and never take the truth expressed by God seriously. Instead, they put their interests above all else. They take positive things like God’s expression of the truth to save people and twist them into transactions between people and God, thinking that whoever does more work and suffers more receives greater blessings from God. They make sacrifice and expend for God as a means to ask God for remuneration, to achieve their goal of being blessed. When they perform their duties this way, they are deceiving and using God, as well as toying with the truth, and they are despised and condemned by God. I realized my motives and views on pursuit in my belief in God and my duty were the same as antichrists. I regarded God’s work of saving people as a transaction and thought my belief in God and my duty should be compensated like wages, as if whoever worked and contributed more deserved the greatest crowns and blessings, and whoever worked and contributed less had little hope of salvation. Therefore, I wanted to preach the gospel, even if it was exhausting or difficult, and when my desires weren’t satisfied, I slacked off. How were my pursuits, thoughts, and views any different from those of antichrists and nonbelievers? I believed in God, yet practiced “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “Never lift a finger without a reward,” and other such satanic philosophies. In everything, I used my own interests to evaluate my duty and my attitude toward it. I always wanted more important duties so I could show off more and so my efforts could be seen by all, because I thought this way, I could gain a good destination in my faith. My views on pursuit and all of my actions were so shameful and evil! How was this practicing the truth and performing my duty? All I was doing was denying the truth and resisting God. I thought of Paul, who wanted to exchange his effort for a crown. Although he preached the gospel all over Europe, suffered a lot, paid a high price, he didn’t sincerely expend for God, he wanted rewards and to enter God’s kingdom, which is why he said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2Ti 4:7–8). Paul’s words carried threats and demands to God. His implication was, if God didn’t crown and reward him, then God was not righteous. Paul believed in God for many years, and although he traveled far and suffered much, his deeds and actions went against God, so he was condemned and cursed by God. Only then did I realize pursuing blessings in my belief in God is a dead end. Such pursuit is hostile to God and will ultimately be punished by God. I also thanked God for this environment, which gave me the opportunity to reflect on myself. Otherwise, I would never have realized my belief in God was adulterated, nor would I have realized how evil my pursuits were and how much God hates it and finds it disgusting.
After that, I read two passages of God’s word, “As a created being, when you come before the Creator, you ought to perform your duty. This is the proper thing to do, and the responsibility on your shoulders. On the basis that created beings perform their duties, the Creator has done greater work among mankind. He has performed a further step of work on mankind. And what work is that? He provides mankind with the truth, allowing them to gain the truth from Him as they perform their duties and thereby to cast off their corrupt dispositions and be cleansed. Thus, they come to satisfy God’s will and embark on the right path in life, and, ultimately, they are able to fear God and shun evil, attain complete salvation, and be subject no longer to Satan’s afflictions. This is the effect that God would have mankind achieve in the end by performing their duty. Therefore, the process of performing your duty is not merely to make you see one thing clearly and understand a little truth, nor is it merely to enable you to enjoy the grace and blessings you receive by fulfilling your duty as a created being. Rather, it is to allow you to be cleansed and saved, and, ultimately, come to live in the light of the face of the Creator” (“They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Seven)” in Exposing Antichrists). “Created beings should perform their duty to receive the approval of the Creator. Created beings should live under the Creator’s dominion. They should accept all that is provided by God and everything that comes from God, and they should fulfill their responsibilities and obligations. This is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth; it’s God’s decree. From this it can be seen that, for people to perform the duty of a created being is more righteous, beautiful, and noble than anything else done while living in the world of man; nothing among mankind is more meaningful or worthy, and nothing brings greater meaning and worth to the life of a created being, than performing the duty of a created being. Isn’t it so? For a created being to be able to perform the duty of a created being, to be able to satisfy the Creator, is the most wonderful thing among mankind, and is something that should be celebrated among mankind. Anything entrusted by the Creator to created beings should be unconditionally accepted by them; for mankind, this is something blessed and glorious, and for all of mankind who perform the duty of a created being, nothing is more wonderful or worthy of commemoration—it is something positive. And as for how the Creator treats those who perform the duty of a created being, and what He promises them, this is a matter for the Creator, and no business of created mankind. To put it plainly and bluntly, this is up to God, and man has no right to interfere. You will get whatever God gives you, and if He gives you nothing, then there is nothing you can say about it. When a created being accepts God’s commission, and cooperates with the Creator to perform their duty and do what they can, this is not a transaction or a trade; people must not try to use any attitude or thing to barter for blessings or promises from God” (“They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Seven)” in Exposing Antichrists). God’s word made me feel guilt and remorse. From the vast sea of people, God had chosen me and given me the truth and showed me how to live a meaningful life, how to conduct myself, and what path I should choose in life. As a created being, I had enjoyed the watering and supply of so much of God’s word, so I should be grateful, and completely give my heart to God, unconditionally fulfill my duty to expend for God, pursue changing my life disposition in my duty, and seek to be someone who truly fears God and obeys God. This is the conscience and reason one should have and the path in life one should take. In the time that followed, I gradually calmed myself and stopped thinking about gospel work all the time. I was able to focus on my present duty, as well as seeking the truth in what came every day. When I practiced this way, I felt much more at ease and secure.
During a meeting, I fellowshiped about my recent state and understanding, and a sister sent me one passage of God’s words. “Ultimately, whether people can attain salvation is not dependent on what duty they fulfill, but on whether they can understand and gain the truth, and on whether they can, in the end, entirely submit to God, put themselves at the mercy of His arrangement and become a qualified created being. God is righteous and holy, and this is the standard He uses to measure all mankind. This standard is immutable, and you must remember this. Inscribe this standard in your mind, and do not think of finding some other path to pursue some unreal thing. The requirements and standards God has for all who want to attain salvation are forever unchanging. They remain the same no matter who you are. You can achieve salvation only by believing in God according to God’s requirements and standards. If you find another path to pursue things that are vague, and imagine that you will succeed by luck, you are someone who resists and betrays God, and you will definitely be cursed and punished by God” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). As I pondered the words of God, my heart became even brighter. God doesn’t decide a person’s ending based on what duty they perform, how much work they do, or how much they contribute. Rather, it depends on what path they take in fulfilling their duty, whether they pursue and understand the truth, whether they can obey God, and whether they can change their life disposition. God treats everyone righteously. No matter what duty you perform, you must focus on pursuing the truth. If you do not, no matter how important your duty, it will be in vain.
Later, I read two more passages of God’s words, and my heart became even brighter. God says, “The work of spreading the gospel is a specific and complicated kind of work that includes many separate tasks. Each task must be done well and swiftly, and this is God’s commission. It must be done well, and it must become more and more effective to be in accordance with God’s will. All other professional work, such as film, text-based work, music, art, and translation exists to support and back up the gospel work. Gospel work is the front line of all work. Therefore, those who perform the various duties must do their own work well and achieve the results required by God. In this way, they will have a share in the work of spreading the gospel, because all of these tasks exist in service of spreading the gospel. All work must be centered on the work of spreading the gospel and provide a never-ending supply for it. Today, all of the materials, works, films, and videos needed for spreading the gospel are created through the effort of many of God’s chosen people behind the scenes. Everything these people do behind the scenes provides powerful support for the work of spreading the gospel” (Identifying False Leaders). “In the work of spreading the gospel of kingdom, all the work of God’s house is governed by well-defined rules and proceeds in an orderly manner. The work of spreading the gospel is a critical, long-term, and arduous task. Therefore, those who take on the gospel work, no matter whether they are supervisors or ordinary people who spread the gospel, should realize the importance of this work in their hearts. Although you are working on the front line of the gospel and fulfilling your duties, in your rear, which is to say, behind the scenes, there are many brothers and sisters doing various kinds of work to back you up, and they are the force which supports the work of spreading the gospel. What do I mean by this? All of the work of God’s house is centered on spreading the gospel, and the duties performed by all of God’s chosen people serve the purpose of spreading the gospel. No matter what duty each of God’s chosen people performs, it is all related to the spreading of the gospel. Every brother and sister who performs a duty has a share in gospel work, and every kind of work is closely and intimately related to gospel work. In short, every type of job, including gospel work itself, is done to testify God’s work. There is no job unrelated to testifying God’s work, and every type of work is closely related to the most important job, which is testifying about God. This is the fact of the matter” (Identifying False Leaders). I understood from God’s word that what duty people perform, at what time, and in what aspect, is orchestrated and arranged by God. Our duties are God’s commission for us, and the mission given to us by God. Every duty, no matter in what aspect, is required to spread God’s kingdom gospel, and is closely related to gospel work. In God’s eyes, there is no distinction between noble and lowly duties. Because the work has different needs and people have different strengths, different duties are arranged for people, so that everyone has a role. I should perform my duty well in a down-to-earth manner and do my part for the spread of the kingdom gospel. Next, I devoted myself to learning professional skills, shared what I learned with my brothers and sisters, and urged everyone to study together. After a while, I could feel that I had made progress, and I was very grateful to God!
Through this experience, I gained some knowledge of my own motivation to seek blessings in my faith. Now I understand that pursuing the truth matters most in belief in God, and that I need to stand in the place of a created being, perform my duty well, and not do things in exchange for blessings. I only wish to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, perform my duty well, and repay God’s love with an honest heart.