I’ll No Longer Take a Hands-Off Approach
By Li Fei, Italy
In June of 2021, I supervised video work at my church. Due to the increased workload, I was asked to follow up on one more group. I thought, “I’m busy enough with the work I’m in charge of now. If I have to manage even more work, won’t I be even busier and more tired?” However, I knew the brothers and sisters in this group were familiar with the work. They were all good at it, and all effective in their duties. The follow-up work shouldn’t cause me too much worry or take too much time and effort, so I agreed. At first, I asked about the state of work in the group from time to time, whether progress was normal and whether anyone had any difficulties in their duties. Although I knew I should look into the details, I thought I also had other work to follow up on, and trying to understand the details of each group felt like too much work. The work in the group was progressing normally, so I didn’t need to take too much time to understand things. Also, the group leader was there, and the brothers and sisters were reliable and did their duties well. There hadn’t had any major problems in the past few years, so I didn’t have to worry. It was fine if I did a little less follow-up. And so, I hardly asked about the work of this group.
One day, more than two months later, a brother gave me feedback, saying there were problems with the two videos produced by this group recently, and if other sisters hadn’t found it in time, it would have delayed the work. I didn’t quite believe it at first, but later, my brother sent me screenshots of the problems in the video, and they really were problems with the group. The brothers and sisters in the group had serious problems in their duties. Why didn’t I know? I had held this job for several months, but I didn’t look into how it was going at all. I simply let it run on its own. I was completely ignorant of how the group members performed their duties. I realized these problems were caused by my lack of practical work. After I looked into it, I discovered because no one had been supervising work in this group during this period, they were performing their duty based on their experience, no one bore a burden, and sometimes, when there was too much work, they started to muddle through. Although two people cooperated to check the videos, they were just going through the motions, so they couldn’t discover problems. In the face of all this, I felt very upset. These issues weren’t difficult to discover, and if I had properly followed up on the work of this group, I wouldn’t be unaware of them. I was so irresponsible! I kept reflecting on myself, asking myself why, during the past three months, I ignored their work.
Later, in God’s word, I read, “False leaders never inform themselves about or keep track of the status of group supervisors’ work, nor do they inform themselves about, keep track of, or attempt to grasp the situation regarding life entry, as well as the attitude toward work and duty and the attitude toward belief in God, the truth, and God, of group supervisors and personnel responsible for important work; false leaders do not inform themselves about their transformations, their progress, or the various issues that emerge during their work, particularly when it comes to the effect, on the church’s work and on God’s chosen ones, of mistakes and deviations that occurred during various stages of work. False leaders know nothing about whether these mistakes and deviations have been addressed. Knowing nothing about these details, they become passive when problems appear. However, when false leaders work, they don’t care at all about these details. They simply arrange group supervisors, and then assume their task is finished after handing off the work. They believe that with this, their job is done, and any subsequent problems have nothing to do with them. Because the false leaders fail to supervise, guide, and follow up with the supervisors of each group, because they fail to fulfill their responsibilities in these areas, the work is ruined. This is what it means to be negligent as a leader or worker. God looks upon man’s innermost being; people lack this ability, so when they work, they have to be more diligent, and should pay more attention, and should often go to where the work is being carried out to check up on things, and supervise, and provide guidance, for only then can they ensure that church work is proceeding as normal. Obviously, false leaders are irresponsible in their work. They are irresponsible from the beginning, when they arrange the work. They never supervise, follow up, and offer guidance. As a result, certain supervisors who are unable to resolve various problems when they arise and simply unequipped to succeed in their work remain in their supervisory roles. In the end, work is repeatedly delayed, all kinds of problems remain unresolved, and the work is ruined. This is the result of the false leaders’ failure to understand, supervise, and follow up with the supervisors. It is entirely caused by the false leaders’ dereliction of duty” (The Word, Vol. 4. Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). In God’s word, I saw false leaders neglect their duties and don’t do practical work because they think each group has a supervisor, so they can take a hands-off approach, which results in problems appearing in church work. Outwardly, the false leaders aren’t doing any obvious evil, but because they are irresponsible with church work, they seriously affect the progress and effectiveness of various kinds of work, which indirectly disrupts church work. God requires leaders and workers to follow up on and supervise the work in a timely manner to ensure the regular and orderly progress of the work of God’s house. This is the responsibility and duty of leaders and workers. But ever since I took over this group’s work, I thought, with the group leader there, everything was proceeding as normal, so I naturally took a hands-off approach, never checked or followed up on their work, didn’t look into the details of loopholes in work processes, and didn’t notice when they became slack and muddled through in their duties. All the while, based on my own notions and thinking, I believed they did their duties practically and seriously, and that they were trustworthy. So, I felt I didn’t need to supervise and follow up on their work. The result was causing harm and disruption in my duty. Through God’s word, I saw I was neglectful in my duty, and that I was indeed a false leader. Although I didn’t mean to do evil, because I didn’t do practical work, deviations and problems that could have been discovered were never resolved, and now, problems in the video work had appeared, which was directly related to my muddling through and being irresponsible in my duty. Although others found the problems in time to avoid more serious harm and consequences, correcting these problems still required a lot of labor to redo the work. I saw that I muddled through and craved ease. Not supervising and following up on the work saved me a lot of time and energy, but it directly delayed the progress of the church’s work, and cost my brothers’ and sisters’ time to redo it. I was doing evil, as well as disrupting and disturbing the work of the church! Once I realized this, I was very afraid, and I couldn’t stop reflecting on myself. Why was I able to take a hands-off approach for so long without realizing it?
Later, by reading God’s word, I gained more knowledge of why I didn’t do practical work. (The Word, Vol. 4. Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). God’s word reveals that false leaders are lazy, ignorant, and foolish. They don’t look at people and things based on God’s word, but on their notions and ideas, yet they feel they can see people and things clearly. They can casually trust anyone and leave work entirely to them, while they take a hands-off approach and greedily enjoy the benefits of status. Through the revelations of God’s word, I finally saw that I was the lazy and stupid false leader God describes. Because of my lazy nature, I always felt I was responsible for too much work, and that it would be too tiring to follow up on the work of each group, so I followed up on the work of one group while trusting the group leader with the other, and thought if the work progressed normally, I didn’t need to spend time following up. I saw that I saved every bit of effort I could in my duty. I held the title of supervisor while taking a hands-off approach. I was really irresponsible! I was also very conceited. Based on my own notions and imagination, I thought everyone in the group did their duties well, so I didn’t have to worry, and that they would continue to do so even if I didn’t follow up on their work. So I didn’t ask about or monitor their work for several months, causing the problems to appear in the work. I didn’t understand the truth or see matters clearly, yet I especially believed in myself, thinking those I trusted couldn’t go wrong. I was too arrogant and too stupid. The thought made me feel remorse. I realized that treating people and my duty according to is critical. I began seeking the relevant parts of God’s word to find a way to do my duty.says, “False leaders will not look into supervisors who are not doing actual work, or who are neglecting their responsibilities. They think they just need to choose a supervisor and everything will be fine; afterward, the supervisor will handle all work matters, and all they need to do is hold assembly every so often, they won’t need to keep an eye on work or ask how it’s going, they can stay hands-off. … False leaders are incapable of doing real work, nor do they approach the work of group leaders and supervisors with any seriousness. Their view of people is only based on their own impressions and imaginings. Seeing someone acquitting themselves well for a time, they believe this person will be good forevermore, that they will not change; they do not believe anyone who says there is a problem with this person, they ignore it when someone points something out about the person. Do you think false leaders are stupid? They are stupid and foolish. What makes them stupid? They blithely put their trust in people, believing that because when they chose this person, this person swore an oath, and made a pledge, and prayed with tears streaming down their face, that means they are dependable, and there will never have any issues with them in the future. False leaders have no understanding of people’s natures; they are ignorant of the true situation of corrupt mankind. They say, ‘How could someone change once they have been chosen as a supervisor? How could someone who seems so intense and reliable shirk their work? They wouldn’t, would they? They have a lot of integrity.’ Because false leaders have such imaginings, and are too trusting of their own intuition, this ultimately renders them incapable of timely resolving the many problems that arise in church work, and stops them from promptly replacing and reallocating the supervisor involved. They are bona fide false leaders. And just what is the issue here? Does false leaders’ approach to their work have anything to do with carelessness and perfunctoriness? On the one hand, they see the great red dragon rabidly carrying out arrests, so to keep themselves safe, they randomly choose someone to be in charge, believing that this will solve the problem, and that they don’t need to pay it any more attention. What are they thinking in their hearts? ‘This is such a hostile environment, I should hide for a while.’ This is greediness for physical comforts, is it not? False leaders also have a major failing: They are quick to trust people based on their own imaginings. And this is caused by not understanding the truth, is it not? How does God’s word reveal the essence of corrupt humankind? Why should they trust in people when God doesn’t? Instead of judging people by appearances, God keeps a constant watch on their hearts—so why should false leaders be so casual when they judge others and place their trust in them? False leaders are too conceited, are they not? What they think is, ‘I wasn’t wrong when I spotted this person. Nothing could go awry; they are definitely not someone who messes around, who likes to have fun and hates hard work. They are absolutely dependable and trustworthy. They will not change; if they did, that would mean I was wrong about them, wouldn’t it?’ What kind of logic is this? Are you some kind of expert? Do you have x-ray vision? Is this your special skill? You could live with this person for one or two years, but would you be able to see who they really are without a suitable environment to lay their nature and essence utterly bare? If they were not exposed by God, you could live side-by-side with them for three, or even five, years, and would still struggle to see just what kind of nature and essence they have. And how much more is that true when you rarely see them, are rarely with them? You blithely trust them based on a fleeting impression or someone else’s positive appraisal of them, and dare to entrust the work of the church to such people. In this, are you not being extremely blind? Are you not being impetuous? And when they work like this, are the false leaders not being extremely irresponsible?”
Soon, I read a passage of God’s word. “Because false leaders do not understand the status of the work’s progress, they are incapable of promptly identifying—much less solving—problems that appear in work, which often leads to repeated delays. In certain work, because people have no grasp of the principles and there is no one suitable to preside over it, those who are carrying out the work frequently reside in a state of negativity, passivity, and waiting, which severely affects the progress of the work. If the leader had fulfilled their responsibilities—if they had taken charge, pushed the work forward, hurried them along, and found someone who understands the type of work involved to give guidance, then the work would have progressed more quickly rather than suffer repeated delays. For leaders, then, it is vital to understand and grasp the actual situation of the work. It is, of course, highly necessary for leaders to understand and grasp how work is progressing—for progress relates to the efficiency of the work and the results that this work is intended to achieve. If a leader lacks even a grasp of how the work is progressing, and does not check up on it or keep an eye on it, then most of the people performing a duty will have a negative and passive attitude, they will be severely apathetic and have no sense of burden, they will be careless and perfunctory, and thus the work is bound to progress slowly. If there is no one with a sense of burden, and who is work-savvy, to provide guidance and supervision—and to discipline and deal with people—then work efficiency and effectiveness will naturally be very low. If leaders and workers can’t even see this, they are stupid and blind. And so, it is of the utmost importance that leaders and workers are prompt in finding out more about, keeping check on, and familiarizing themselves with the progress of work. People are indolent, so without guidance, urging, and following-up by leaders and workers, who possess an up-to-date understanding of the work’s progress, people are liable to slack off, to be lazy, to be perfunctory—if this is their attitude toward their work, the progress of this work will be severely impacted, as will its effectiveness. Given these circumstances, qualified leaders and workers should promptly keep track of every item of work and stay informed about the situation regarding staff and the work; they should absolutely not be like false leaders” (The Word, Vol. 4. Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). God’s word pointed out a path of practice to be qualified in our duty. As a leader or supervisor, we have to bear a burden in our duty, not crave the comforts of the flesh, take responsibility for our work, and follow up on, look into, monitor, and check on things in a timely manner. For those involved in the work, we have to keep abreast of their states and the details of their duties to detect problems in time and reverse deviations. Because people haven’t been perfected yet, they all have corrupt dispositions, so when their states are good, they can do their duties conscientiously, responsibly, and effectively, but it doesn’t mean they are completely reliable. When their states are abnormal or they live by corrupt dispositions, they involuntarily muddle through and do things that disturb the work of the church. So, as people perform their duties, leaders, workers, and supervisors need to check and follow up on the work, and when they find problems, they need to reverse them in time. This is their responsibility. Once I understood these requirements, I began to follow up on and look into the work of this group, I regularly went to their work meetings, and when I found problems, I spoke about them to the group leader in a timely manner. Later, we also discussed the work plan and progress of the group together, and the work was completed within the planned time. We reduced the staff to those needed for the workload so that others could be arranged for duties where they were needed more. After practicing like this, I felt much more at ease. At the same time, I followed up on the work within my scope of responsibility more diligently than before. Now, I thought I was practicing the truth, and that I had achieved some change, but God knew I hadn’t fully entered into the realities of this aspect, so He set up another environment to reveal me.
Before long, my workload increased, and I had to spend a lot of time finishing one task in my duty. I thought I had followed up on the work of each group in detail before, and things were stable now. It would take a lot of time and effort to keep asking about the details of each group, which would make my schedule too tight and put me under too much pressure. I wondered if I could delegate some of the work in any group so I wouldn’t have to worry so much. I thought of one group where both group leaders were proactive in their duties and able to pay a price. If I handed off work in the group to them, and asked them to follow up in detail, I would only have to watch the direction of things and attend work meetings regularly. There shouldn’t be too much of a problem if I let them take care of the rest. And just like that, my old problem reared its head again. I buried myself in my new work and barely asked about the details of that group’s work. I felt that the group leaders could handle things, and that if there was a problem, I could wait for them to tell me. One day, one of the group leaders pointed out that I hadn’t properly followed up on things or asked about their work in detail. Some in the group were procrastinating and being lazy, but I didn’t follow up and resolve it, and it was affecting the progress of work. When I heard this, I was resistant. I thought, “Can’t you two group leaders take care of it? I have some other work going on right now. If I’m so meticulous and take so much time with every task, will I ever be able to finish? Aren’t you asking too much of me?” But my arguments made me feel a little uneasy. Then I thought back, and realized I rarely followed up on the details of their work. The states of the brothers and sisters, whether they were principled in their duty, and the quality of their work were all things I didn’t understand. At this point, I started thinking, before, I transgressed in my duty by taking a hands-off approach, so why was I doing the same thing again?
Later, I read this in God’s word. “Many people behind My back covet the benefits of status, they gorge themselves on food, they love to sleep and give every care to the flesh, always afraid that there is no way out for the flesh. They do not perform their proper function in the church, but freeload off the church, or else they admonish their brothers and sisters with My words, lording themselves over others from positions of authority. These people keep saying they are doing God’s will and always say they are God’s intimates—is this not absurd? If you have the right intentions, but are unable to serve in accordance with God’s will, then you are being foolish; but if your intentions are not right, and you still say you serve God, then you are someone who opposes God, and you ought to be punished by God! I have no sympathy for such people! In the house of God, they freeload, always coveting the comforts of the flesh, and give no consideration to the interests of God. They always seek what is good for them, and they pay no heed to God’s will. They do not accept the scrutiny of God’s Spirit in anything they do. They are always maneuvering and deceiving their brothers and sisters, and being two-faced, like a fox in a vineyard, always stealing grapes and trampling over the vineyard. Could such people be God’s intimates? Are you fit to receive God’s blessings? You take no burden for your life and the church, are you fit to receive God’s commission? Who would dare trust someone like you? When you serve like this, could God entrust you with a greater task? Would this not cause delays to the work?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will). “Forget how talented you are, how great your caliber is, or how well-educated you are; what matters is whether or not you do real work, and whether or not you fulfill the responsibilities of a leader. During your time as leader, did you take part in every specific piece of work within the scope of your responsibility, how many problems that arose during work did you effectively solve, how many people, because of your work, your leadership, your guidance, came to understand the principles of the truth, how much of the work of the church was advanced and pushed forward? These are what matter. Forget how many mantras you can repeat, how many words and doctrines you have mastered, forget how many hours you spend toiling each day, how exhausted you are, and forget how much time you have spent out on the road, how many churches you have visited, how many risks you have taken, how much you have suffered—forget all this. Just look at how effective the work within your scope of responsibilities has been, whether it has achieved any outcomes, how many of the arrangements of God’s house and the targets you are supposed to reach you have achieved, how many of them you have brought to fruition, how well you have brought them to fruition, how well they have been followed up, how many issues relating to problems of oversights, deviations, or violation of principle that appeared in the work you solved, rectified, made up for, and how many problems relating to HR, admin, or various specialist tasks you helped solve, and whether you solved them according to principle and the requirements of the house of God, and so on—these are all standards by which to test whether a leader or worker is fulfilling their responsibilities” (The Word, Vol. 4. Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). From God’s words, I saw that toward those who crave the benefits of status, who are cunning and play tricks, and who consider their own fleshly interests, God feels deep abhorrence and disgust. Such people can’t play any positive role in their duty, nor can they promptly discover and reverse deviations in their duties, and they can even cause harm in their duties due to their irresponsibility and disrupt and disturb the work of the church. Such people utterly lack sincerity in their duties and are unworthy of God’s commission. If they don’t repent, they will ultimately be hated and cast out by God. God’s standard for evaluating leaders and workers is not how many roads they walk or how much work they do, it is whether they do practical work or produce actual results through their duty. What God’s word revealed made me feel ashamed. The church arranged for me to handle the important job of making videos, asked me to carry more of a burden, and promoted and trained me, but I had no humanity, and I didn’t want to suffer at all in my duty. When the workload increased just a little, all I could think of was how to suffer less and worry less, and I feared the extra worry would exhaust my flesh. When my brothers and sisters pointed out that I did no practical work in my duty, I looked for all kinds of excuses in my heart to justify myself. I was just as God describes, “In the house of God, they freeload, always coveting the comforts of the flesh, and give no consideration to the interests of God. They always seek what is good for them.” As the supervisor, I should have followed up on and monitored all the work in my remit in a timely manner and solved deviations and loopholes promptly when I found them to ensure the normal progress of church work. This was my duty, But I was like a sly fox. I was tricky, cunning, and irresponsible in my duty, I occupied the position of supervisor without actually doing the work, and I didn’t follow up on work details. As a result, I didn’t find or solve the group’s problems in time, and work became inefficient, which affected the normal progress of church work. I wasn’t actually performing my duty at all. Obviously, I was just uselessly occupying my position. I blatantly deceived everyone and didn’t do practical work. I was too untrustworthy! The church arranged work for me, and asked me to take responsibility, but I took a hands-off approach. I really didn’t deserve such an important duty. If I always treated my duty with such an irresponsible attitude, and still didn’t do practical work, in the end, I could only be hated and cast out by God! I was a little frightened thinking of this, so I prayed to God to ask Him to guide me in changing my incorrect state, and to say I wished to be meticulous in work and fulfill my responsibilities.
Later, I found paths of practice in God’s words. “No matter whether you are someone who pursues the truth, you must always rely on your conscience and reason and really work hard when you perform your duty. What does it mean to really work hard? If you are merely satisfied with making some token effort, and suffering a little physical hardship, but you do not take your duty seriously at all or seek the principles of the truth, then this is nothing more than being careless and perfunctory—it is not truly making an effort. Key to making an effort is putting your heart into it, fearing God in your heart, being mindful of God’s will, being terrified of disobeying God and hurting God, and suffering any hardship in order to perform your duty well and satisfy God: If you have a heart that loves God in this way, you will be able to perform your duty properly. If there is no fear of God in your heart, you will have no burden when you perform your duty, will have no interest in it, and will inevitably be careless and perfunctory, and go through the motions, without producing any real effect—which is not performing a duty. If you truly have a sense of burden, and feel like performing your duty is your personal responsibility, and that if you don’t, you are not fit to live, and are a beast, that only if you perform your duty properly are you worthy of being called a human being, and can face your own conscience—if you have this sense of burden when you perform your duty—then you will be able to do everything conscientiously, and will be able to seek the truth and do things according to the principles, and so will be able to do your duty properly and satisfy God. If you are worthy of the mission that God has given you, and of all that God has sacrificed for you and His expectations of you, then this is truly trying hard” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Perform One’s Duty Well, One Must at Least Be Possessed of a Conscience and Reason). After reading God’s words, I was extremely ashamed. I had believed in God for many years, and read so much of God’s word, but I thought doing a little more work meant more fleshly exertion and worry, so I saw it as troublesome and tiring, and I took a hands-off approach. I saw how selfish and lazy my nature was, that I had no sincerity toward God, and that I bore no real burden for my duty. As the supervisor, I didn’t do the work that a supervisor should do. I was derelict in my duty. Even a family dog can guard the home and be loyal to its owner. I am a created being, but I didn’t fulfill the duty of a created being. How was I worthy of being called human? There were many brothers and sisters in the church responsible for more work than me, who did their duties sincerely, could suffer and pay a price, and spent more time on their duties, all without collapsing from exhaustion. On the contrary, the more they considered God’s will, the more God blessed them, and the more they grew in life. Thinking back, my workload was reasonable, not overwhelming, and as long as I forsook the flesh, suffered, and paid a price more, it was completely possible to follow up on the details of the work of each group. After that, I rearranged my work schedule, followed up on everything in my area of responsibility according to the new schedule, and nothing in my duty was delayed at all.
One day, I was reading group messages, and I found some deviations in a group’s work. I quickly analyzed the problem, went over it with the group leader, and found a solution. At this time, I was quite surprised. Doing practical work doesn’t mean spending all day watching people in the group. It’s something you can do by just being a little more diligent. In the past, I almost never read these group messages. The problems were laid out right there, but I never noticed them. When I used a little more effort, I could find problems and deviations and solve them in time to avoid them harming the work. After that, I talked with each member of the group to learn about their work, and I discovered more deviations through this process. The group leader and I fellowshiped on the principles with them, the deviations were quickly resolved, and the effectiveness of work improved. Although I was a little busier over those days, after practicing like this, I felt very at ease and at peace.
I was especially grateful to God for His guidance. Through these experiences, I gained a little awareness of my selfish, lazy nature. I also saw that being irresponsible and craving comfort can delay work, and if serious, it can disrupt and disturb church work. As a supervisor, I can no longer take a hands-off approach. I have to frequently supervise and follow up on the work, and identify and solve problems. Only by doing my duty this way can I achieve good results and satisfy God’s will.