Reflections on Losing My Duty
By Wang Lin, South Korea
Since I have some welding skills, in 2017 I was assigned to handle some church affairs. It was a physically demanding duty and there was some overtime involved. Sometimes I couldn’t have meals or attend gatherings on schedule. I didn’t care at first, thinking that having the chance to make use of that skill in my duty was an honor for me. I wanted to put everything I had into it. Later on, our team got busier and my duty got pretty hectic. I got kind of worn out after some time and I started to feel a bit resentful.
In a gathering one time, a sister suddenly told us we needed to go help unload some materials. I didn’t really want to do it. I wondered why it couldn’t wait until after the gathering, and if it was so urgent, someone else could do it! Why did it have to be us? Were we nothing more than hired hands? With this feeling of internal resistance, even though I did go, I was really dragging my feet. I didn’t put my all into it, but was just going through the motions. Everyone else was working overtime when things came up at the last minute, but I cut corners wherever I could. If I could get away with less, I shirked the hard work. Whenever I had to work a few extra hours I felt resentful and unwilling, as if I were being terribly wronged. I got the job done on the surface, but it was done grudgingly. I’d want to take it easy once I’d finished the task the team leader had assigned me and didn’t want to help out the others who weren’t done yet. I figured that was their business and had nothing to do with me. The team leader reprimanded me and dealt with me, seeing me dragging my feet, but I thought he was just nitpicking and I didn’t reflect on myself. I did my duty really passively this way, content with the bare minimum. The other brothers were all working really hard, and not only did I not envy them, but I even secretly laughed at them. One time, transporting some lumber, I was carrying just one bundle at a time, while another brother was taking two at a time. I thought, “Why are you killing yourself? You’re an idiot. There’s no need for that even if you have the strength. You’ll wear yourself out.” In fact, I was younger than him, so carrying two at a time would have been no problem for me, but shouldering that much would make me sore. I was having none of it. Seeing me dilly-dallying in my work, the other brothers reproached me and told me to be more attentive in my duty, but I didn’t care. I felt like I was getting it done, so there wasn’t any harm done. Since I refused to correct my attitude toward my duty, God’s judgment and chastisement came upon me.
On July 21 of this year, when I was in the middle of work, the team leader suddenly told me that my humanity was lacking and I’d been lazy in my duty, so I wasn’t fit for the position. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I got the news. Without a duty, wasn’t I done for? Did I have any hope of salvation? I got more and more upset and really sunk into a depression. I kneeled before God in prayer right away: “Oh God! I know that You’ve allowed this to happen to me, but I don’t understand Your will in this and I don’t know what lesson I’m supposed to learn. Please watch over my heart so that I can submit to Your work and not find fault.” I felt much calmer after my prayer. With my things packed, about to leave, I gazed at the other brothers off in the distance, all rushing to and fro, working enthusiastically while I was about to hit the road. I felt awful. I’d been a believer for over 10 years and always felt like I was someone who pursued the truth, who could make sacrifices. I never imagined I’d be dismissed from a duty. If I wasn’t even fit for performing a duty, what could I do? I didn’t understand why the team leader had said my humanity was lacking. I generally didn’t have any kind of conflict with the others and got along with everyone for the most part. I felt like there wasn’t anything wrong with my humanity. As for my duty, I felt like I’d put quite a bit of energy into it. But it occurred to me that God is righteous, so if I had been doing my duty well, I wouldn’t have been let go. After losing my duty, I didn’t have to be so busy or work so hard all the time, but I felt really disappointed, really downcast. I was coming before God in prayer all the time, asking Him to enlighten me to know myself. At one point I read this in: “Some people always boast that they possess good humanity, claiming never to have done anything bad, stolen others’ possessions, or coveted other people’s things. They even go so far as to allow others to benefit at their own expense when there is a dispute over interests, preferring to suffer loss, and they never say anything bad about anyone just so that everyone else thinks they are good people. However, when performing their duties in God’s house, they are wily and slippery, always scheming for themselves. Never do they think of the interests of God’s house, never do they treat as urgent the things God treats as urgent or think as God thinks, and never can they set aside their own interests so as to perform their duties. They never forsake their own interests. Even when they see evildoers committing evil, they do not expose them; they have no principles whatsoever. What kind of humanity is this? It is not good humanity. Pay no attention to what such a person says; you must see what he lives out, what he reveals, and what his attitude is when he performs his duties, as well as what his internal state is and what he loves” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Reflecting on this, I realized that I thought I had good humanity because I did some good things on the surface, but this wasn’t really in line with the truth. God judges a person’s humanity based on their performance and attitude toward their duty. It’s about whether they set their personal interests aside and uphold the interests of God’s house. Someone with truly good humanity is devoted to God in their duty. They can suffer and pay a price. At critical moments they can forsake their own flesh and uphold the work of God’s house. After that, I started to reflect on whether I really possessed humanity or not, and what kind of attitude I had in my duty in light of God’s words.
I read this passage: “All that stems from what God asks, the various aspects of labor and work that relate to God’s requirements—this all requires the cooperation of man, it is all the duty of man. The scope of duties is very broad. Duties are your responsibility, they are what you ought to do, and if you are always evasive about them, then there’s a problem. To put it mildly, you are too lazy, too deceitful, you are idle, you love leisure and loathe labor; to put it more seriously, you are unwilling to perform your duty, you have no commitment, no obedience. If you can’t even put the effort into this minor task, what can you do? What are you capable of doing properly? If a person is truly devoted, and has a sense of responsibility toward their duty, then as long as it is required by God, and as long as it is needed by the house of God, they will do anything they are asked, without selection; they will undertake and complete anything that they are able and ought to do. Is this what people should understand, and what they should achieve? (Yes.) Some people disagree, and say, ‘You spend all day doing your duty in your room, sheltered from the wind and sun. There is no hardship to this at all. You don’t know what you’re talking about—let’s see what happens when you have to stand a few hours in the sun and suffer a little hardship!’ These words are not wrong; everything is easier said than done. When people really do act, in one regard, you must look at their character, and in another regard, you must look at how much they love the truth. Let us first speak of people’s character. If a person is of good character, they see the positive side of everything, they embrace things, and try to perceive them from a positive and proactive perspective; that is, their heart, character, and temperament are righteous—this is from the perspective of character. The other aspect is how much they love the truth. What does this relate to? What it means is that no matter how much the opinions, thoughts, and views in your head about something correspond with the truth, no matter how much you understand, you are able to accept it from God; it is sufficient that you are obedient and sincere. When you are obedient and sincere, you don’t slack off when you work, you make a real effort. When you put your heart into your work, your hands follow suit. When you lose heart, when you stop trying, you start being deceitful, and your mind starts thinking: ‘When’s dinnertime? How is it still so early? When will I be done with this interminable work? It’s so annoying. I’m no fool; I’ll do the bare minimum, I won’t put all my effort into it.’ What of this person’s character? Are their intentions righteous? (No.) They have been exposed. Do such people love the truth? How much do they love the truth? They only have a slight willingness to do their duty; their conscience isn’t that bad, they are capable of a little work, but don’t put any great effort into it. They only ever do the superficial tasks. When it’s time to work, that’s when their wicked intentions appear, and they are always looking for ways to slack off; when they do work, their productivity is very low. Every time they use a piece of equipment, they break it. As time goes on, people start noticing there is a problem with them, and that they should be exposed. In fact, God has already seen all of this, and is just waiting for people to wake up, for them to expose and eliminate them. However, this person thinks, ‘Look how clever I am. We eat the same food, but after working they are completely exhausted—whereas look at me, I know how to enjoy myself. I’m the smart one; anyone who does real work is an idiot.’ Is it right for them to view honest people in this way? In fact, the people who do real work are the smart ones. What makes them smart? They say, ‘I don’t do anything that God doesn’t ask me to do, and I do everything He does ask me to. I do whatever He asks, and I put my heart into it, I put everything I can into it, I don’t play tricks at all. I’m not doing this for any person, I’m doing it for God, and I am doing it before God for God to see; I’m not doing it for any person to see.’ And the result? One group eliminates all the devious people, and only honest people remain. These honest people’s state goes from strength to strength, and they are protected by God in all that befalls them. And what earns them this protection? Because in their heart, they are honest. They don’t fear hardship or exhaustion, and are not picky about anything they are entrusted with; they do not ask why, they just do as they are told, they obey, without examining or analyzing, or taking anything else into consideration; they have no ulterior motives, but are capable of obedience in all things. Their inner state is always very normal; when faced with danger, God protects them; when illness or pestilence befalls them, God also protects them—they are greatly blessed” (“They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Four)” in Exposing Antichrists). After reading this I was thoroughly convinced. God’s words totally laid bare my perspective, attitude, and state in my duty, and I saw that God truly does see into our very souls. He observes our every action, our every move, our every passing thought. When I was just starting out in my duty, I was full of resolve to expend myself for God and repay His love. But some time passed, and once I’d expended more effort and suffered more, my true nature showed itself. I started cutting corners in my duty, trying to get away with doing less. I became resistant and felt like I was somehow being wronged when I had to do a little extra work and endure a little physical hardship. When we were working everyone else threw themselves into it, not afraid of wearing themselves out, but I was dragging my feet, cherry-picking the easier tasks. When I saw that brother working so hard I even silently laughed at him for being foolish, thinking I was the smart one, that I could get my duty done without wearing myself out and still enjoy God’s blessings, have my cake and eat it too. I was even calculating my personal gains and losses in my duty. It was so cunning, so despicable! God’s words showed me that when I laughed at others for making all that effort, I was the real fool. Out of all those other brothers, not a single one I’d thought was foolish had lost his duty, but I’d been sacked even though I’d thought I was so smart, losing my chance to serve. I was the victim of my own “cleverness.” I was the one who deserved to be called a fool and doing my duty that way was disgusting to God. Doing his duty well should be the calling, the life mission of a created being and it’s something the Creator entrusts to mankind. But I’d been acting like I was nothing more than a day laborer, just muddling through it, not taking any responsibility. I’d totally lost the conscience and reason that a created being should possess, worth less than a family watchdog. At least a dog can serve its owner, watching over his yard, and it will be loyal to him no matter how it’s treated. But as for me, I was eating and drinking of what God provided, enjoying the blessings of His grace, but I wasn’t completing the tasks He’d assigned to me. I was less than a beast, unworthy of being called human. Being removed from my duty was a manifestation of God’s righteous disposition. It was brought on entirely by my rebelliousness. I didn’t have the slightest doubt.
I later read this in God’s words: “If there is no real price and no loyalty when you perform your duty, then it is not up to standard. If you do not truly devote yourself to your faith in God and performance of your duty; if you always go through the motions and are perfunctory in your actions, like an unbeliever working for their boss; if you just make a token effort, muddling through each day as it comes, not reporting messes when you see them, seeing a spill and not cleaning it up, and indiscriminately dismissing everything that is not to your own benefit—then is this not trouble? How could someone like this be a member of God’s household? Such people are outsiders; they are not of the house of God. In your heart, you are clear about whether you are being true, whether you have devoted yourself when you perform your duty, and God keeps account, too. So, have you ever truly devoted yourself to performing your duty? Have you ever taken it seriously? Have you treated it as your responsibility, your obligation? Have you taken ownership of it? Have you ever spoken up when you have discovered a problem when performing your duty? If you have never spoken up after discovering a problem, nor even thought to, if you are disinclined to concern yourself with such things, and think the less trouble the better—if that is the principle you take toward them, then you are not performing your duty; you are living by the sweat of your brow, you are doing service. Service-doers do not belong to the house of God. They are employees; after finishing their work they take their money and leave, each goes their own way and becomes a stranger to the other. That is their relationship with the house of God. Members of the house of God are different: They take pains over everything in God’s house, they take responsibility, their eyes see what needs doing in God’s house and they keep those tasks in mind, they remember everything they think and see, they are emburdened, they have a sense of responsibility—these are members of God’s house. Have you reached this point? (No.) Then you still have a long way to go, so you must keep pursuing! If you do not consider yourself a member of God’s house and eliminate yourself, then how does God look upon you? God does not treat you as an outsider; it is you who put yourself beyond the door of His house. So, objectively speaking, what kind of person are you exactly? You are not in His house. Does this have anything to do with what God says or determines? It is you who have placed your end and position outside the house of God—who else is there to blame?” (“Performing Duty Well Requires a Conscience, at the Very Least” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). When I pondered God’s words, I realized that considering the interests of God’s house in all things and seeing God’s house as my own house was the only way to please God and bring Him comfort. That’s the only way to be a member of His household. I had been doing my duty in God’s house, but because of my attitude and my approach to my duty, I wasn’t truly a member of His family. I was like an employee of God’s house, just doing labor on the surface without putting my heart into it. I wasn’t personally invested in anything that didn’t directly affect me. I saw I really was totally devoid of humanity and had no integrity whatsoever. I wasn’t even worthy of being a service-doer—I was a nonbeliever. I was totally unworthy of doing any duty in the church.
After that I was appealing and praying to God nonstop, thinking over what had possessed me to have that kind of attitude in my duty. I read this in God’s words: “Until people have experienced God’s work and gained 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 you. 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 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 and the 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” (“How to Walk the Path of Peter” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). This helped me understand that I had been living by Satan’s laws of survival, like “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “Let things drift if they do not affect one personally.” There’s also “Always get the upper hand, never the short end of the stick.” These things were deeply rooted within me and had become my very nature. I lived by them and had become increasingly selfish and despicable. I only thought about my own interests in my duty, what would benefit me, and I did whatever was easiest for me. I wasn’t giving any thought to how to care for God’s will in my duty. I thought about how God became flesh and came to the earth, enduring immense humiliation and suffering to express the truths to cleanse and save mankind, but God has never asked for mankind to repay Him. His love for us is so immense. And I’d been enjoying the rich material provisions and watering of the words bestowed by God without any sense of gratitude, resenting the slightest hardship in my duty. I was totally devoid of conscience and reason. Lacking in caliber, I couldn’t do any kind of important duty, but God didn’t reject me. He arranged for me to have a fitting duty, giving me the chance to gain the truth and be saved. This was God’s love. At this thought I was filled with regret and hated myself for being so lazy and slipshod in my duty. I particularly hated myself for the depth of my satanic corruption and lack of humanity and I didn’t want to live that way anymore. I resolved that no matter what duty I was given after that, I would give it my whole heart, my full effort and I’d stop selling God short. I came before God in prayer: “God! Thank You for Your judgment and chastisement that allowed me to see that I was taking my duty too lightly, being selfish, despicable, and devoid of humanity. I admit my fault and repent. I will work hard to do my duty and repay my debt to You, to comfort Your heart.” After that I began putting all of my time and effort into sharing the gospel, wanting only to do that duty well to make up for my past wrongs.
After a little over a month, the leader saw that I was in a better state and had improved my attitude toward my duty and he called to let me know I could go back to take on my duty again. I was incredibly excited and said quietly, “I give thanks to God for giving me another chance to do my duty.” Tears welled up in the corners of my eyes when I hung up the phone. My heart was overcome with gratitude toward God as well as a great sense of indebtedness. Considering my attitude and rebelliousness in my duty in the past, I was filled with regret and shame. I kneeled down before God in prayer, just weeping without knowing what to say to Him. Anything I could say seemed utterly inadequate, so I just repeated over and over: “Oh God! I give thanks to You!” I was just thinking about how much work God had done in me, judging, chastising, cleansing, and saving me. All I could do was express my gratitude. I wanted nothing more than to offer up all of myself for God and put everything into my duty to repay God’s love. Regaining my duty after having lost it, I learned to really treasure it and finally understood what God meant by “All that stems from what God asks, the various aspects of labor and work that relate to God’s requirements—this all requires the cooperation of man, it is all the duty of man.” I no longer think that putting effort into my work is suffering, that it’s degrading, but that it’s an honor. That’s because it’s a commission from God. It’s what He requires, and even more so, it’s my duty. I used to be under the mistaken impression that there was no difference between doing work in God’s house and doing work out in the world, that it was nothing but toil. But this experience taught me that working out in the world is just to make a living, and any hardship is for personal gain. It’s meaningless. And though in God’s house it was also performing labor, it was doing my duty. Any hardship for my duty has value and gains God’s approval.
This adjustment of my duty allowed me to truly experience God’s love. I didn’t want to just be an employee in God’s house anymore, but to seek to be part of the family. Ever since then, I’ve just been bursting with energy in my duty. Sometimes things are a little difficult or tiring, but I don’t complain anymore. I can throw my whole heart, all my strength into doing a good job. I’m so grateful for God’s judgment and chastisement for transforming my attitude toward my duty and for resolving my absurd perspective on it. It has also changed my corrupt disposition a little bit.