Reflections on Seeking Name and Gain
By Marcial, France
In May 2021, I took up duties as watering team leader. I was responsible for watering two groups of brothers and sisters, and before long, the leader arranged for me to water more brothers and sisters. I was really happy when I heard the news. I thought, by watering my brothers and sisters, I would gain a lot of enlightenment, richer experience, and understanding of more truth. If I could solve the problems they faced in life entry, my brothers and sisters would certainly say I was good and someone who understands the truth, and I could become a pillar of God’s house. So, I dedicated myself to my duty, often went to meetings to fellowship, and when my brothers and sisters had difficulties, I sought in God’s word to help them. After a while, my brothers and sisters come to me for fellowship if they had any questions, and I was very happy.
Later, as more people accepted God’s work in the last days, the number of people in the church gradually increased. At a meeting one day, I learned that a church leader would come to water newcomers and follow up on my work. If the brothers and sisters have problems to resolve, they could also ask her. When I heard a leader was coming to partner with me, I wasn’t very happy at all. This leader had watered me before, and had good caliber. She understood more than me, and also fellowshiped on God’s word well. For her solving the problems of our brothers and sisters was easy, and I thought, “Now, she’s coming to be my partner, so will the brothers and sisters come to me with questions like before? Will they push me aside and ask my leader? Who will look up to me in the future? My good image in the hearts of brothers and sisters will be gone.” Thinking of this, I didn’t want to cooperate with the leader at all. At the same time, I felt a sense of crisis. I said to myself, “I can’t allow this. I need to maintain my place in the hearts of the brothers and sisters. I have to tell the brothers and sisters that if they have any states or need to find a passage of God’s word, they can ask me and I can help them.” From then on, when I heard the brothers and sisters were in a bad state or had difficulties, I raced to fellowship with them, out of fear my leader would get there first. I also contacted the brothers and sisters individually to ask if they needed help, and told them if they had any questions or confusion, they could reach out to me for help. That way, I thought, when the leader contacted them, the brothers and sisters would say I helped them. But things didn’t go as smoothly as I planned. I lacked penetration into many of the problems they asked me and didn’t know how to solve them, but I didn’t want to ask the leader. I thought, “If I ask the leader, won’t she think I don’t understand the truth and don’t read much of God’s word? Won’t she think I can’t solve problems? If the leader resolves the brothers’ and sisters’ problems, won’t they think I’m incompetent and can’t help them? I don’t want to show them I can’t. I want my brothers and sisters to know I can do this duty, so that they will keep asking me when they have questions.” But it was hard for me to help my brothers and sisters on my own. There were some things I hadn’t experienced and didn’t know how to fellowship, and sometimes it took me several days to find parts of God’s word to resolve their problems, and when other brothers and sisters came to me with questions, I didn’t have time for them. Just like that, a month passed quickly, and because I couldn’t help my brothers and sisters in time, their problems remained unresolved and they continued to be in a bad state. If I had told the leader about these problems I didn’t understand, we could have looked up God’s word together to help them, and their problems could have been resolved quickly. But I didn’t do that, because I only wanted to maintain my image in their hearts. When I did this, I felt a little guilty. I knew if I continued to do this, I would seriously hinder the life entry of my brothers and sisters, and I wouldn’t do this duty properly.
One day, I saw a passage ofthat revealed people’s incorrect attitudes towards their duties. “Duties are tasks entrusted to people by God; they are missions for people to complete. However, a duty is certainly not your own personally managed business, nor is it a counterweight to your standing out from the crowd. Some people use their duties as opportunities to engage in their own management and form cliques; some to satisfy their desires; some to fill the voids they feel inside; and some to satisfy their trust-to-luck mentality, thinking that as long as they fulfill their duties, they will have a share in God’s house and in the wonderful destination God arranges for man. Such attitudes about duty are incorrect; they disgust God and must be urgently resolved” (“What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I understand through God’s word that our duties are a commission given to us by God, not a personal matter, and that we shouldn’t treat our duties as a means to make others admire us, nor should we pursue reputation and status to make others follow us. We should treat our duties as an obligation and perform them as required by God. But what was my attitude towards my duty? I performed my duty to pursue fame and gain, and to satisfy my desires. I wanted my brothers and sisters to admire and worship me, and come to me with their problems. I had no sincerity toward them, and I didn’t really want to help them, but I wanted them to have a good impression of me so that when they talked about me, they would say I helped them, and that I was very nice and kind. That way, I could be satisfied. I used my duty to pursue fame, gain, and status, so that I had a place in people’s hearts, and so that they would come to me with problems and put God aside. I was running a personal enterprise. This is when I realized my attitude towards duty was wrong. Even if I could help brothers and sisters, my intention was not to do my duty well, which would never satisfy God.
Later, I saw a passage where God exposed antichrists, and it fit my state well. “Regardless of the context, no matter where they are performing their duty, the antichrist will try and give the impression that they aren’t weak, that they are always strong, full of confidence, never negative. They never reveal their real point of view or real attitude toward God. In the depths of their heart, do they really believe there is nothing they cannot do? Do they genuinely believe that they are without weakness, negativity, or outpourings of corruption? Absolutely not. They are good at putting on an act, adept at hiding things. They like showing people their strong and honorable side; they don’t want them to see the side of them that is weak and dark. Their purpose is obvious: It is, quite simply, to keep face in front of others, to protect the place they have in these people’s hearts. They think that if they open up before others about their own negativity and weakness, if they reveal the side of them that is rebellious and corrupt, this will be a grievous threat to their status and reputation—more trouble than it’s worth. So they would rather keep their weakness and rebelliousness strictly to themselves. And if a day does come when everyone sees the side of them that is weak and rebellious, they must continue putting on an act; they think that if they admit to having a corrupt disposition, to being an ordinary person, someone who is small and insignificant, then they will lose their place in people’s hearts, and will have utterly failed. And so, whatever happens, they cannot simply open up to people; whatever happens, they cannot give their power and status to anyone else; instead, they try as hard as they can to compete, and will never give up” (“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 Ten)” in Exposing Antichrists). I understood after reading this passage that antichrists like status. To maintain their good image in other people’s hearts, they never tell people their difficulties, for fear that everyone will see their shortcomings. Even when they have difficulties in their duties, they pretend, so that others see them as omnipotent and as someone who understands the truth. This was my state. Even when I couldn’t solve my brothers’ and sisters’ problems, I didn’t ask anyone for help. I wanted to establish a good image in people’s hearts to make my brothers and sisters think I have no shortcomings or deficiencies, and I could help them solve their problems, so that they would never need to ask anyone else. I was also afraid our leader would help them, which would cause me to lose my position and image in their hearts. To maintain my position, I pretended to be able to solve problems I couldn’t. I chose to spend a lot of time looking things up rather than seeking from the leader. The result was that I was ineffective in my duty and hindered my brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. I saw that my corrupt disposition was serious, and that I was a hypocrite. I thought of how, in the Age of Grace, the Pharisees were outwardly humble and tolerant. They often prayed at the crossroads or explained the Scriptures to others. They had a good image in people’s hearts, but inside, they were hypocritical, arrogant, evil, they had no obedience or fear of God, and what they did was not to obey the word of God. Instead, they deceived people with good behaviors and created illusions to make others worship and admire them. I saw that I was just as hypocritical as the Pharisees and I was walking the antichrist’s path of resisting God.
Later, I saw a passage of God’s word. “The essence of the behavior of antichrists is to constantly use various means and methods to achieve their goal of having status, of winning people over and making them follow and venerate them. It is possible that in the depths of their hearts they are not deliberately vying over humanity with God, but one thing is certain: Even when they do not vie with God for humans, they still wish to have status and power among them. Even if the day comes when they realize that they are vying with God for status, and they rein themselves in, they still employ other methods to gain status in the church, believing that they will gain legitimacy by winning the approval and assent of others. In short, though everything antichrists do appears to comprise a faithful performance of their duties, and they seem to be true followers of God, their ambition to control people—and to gain status and power among them—will never change. No matter what God says or does, and no matter what He asks of people, they do not do what they should do or fulfill their duties in a way that befits His words and requirements, nor do they give up their pursuit of power and status as a result of understanding His utterances and the truth; throughout, their ambition consumes them, controls and directs their behavior and thoughts, and determines the path they walk. This is the epitome of an antichrist. What is emphasized here? Some people ask, ‘Are antichrists not those who vie with God to gain people, and who do not recognize Him?’ They may recognize God, they may genuinely recognize and believe in His existence, and they may be willing to follow Him and pursue the truth, but one thing will never change: They will never relinquish their ambition for power and status, nor will they give up their pursuit of those things due to their environments or God’s attitude toward them. These are the characteristics of antichrists” (“They Deceive, Draw In, Threaten, and Control People” in Exposing Antichrists). God says that antichrists pursue fame and status, to make people follow them and achieve their ambition to control and possess people. They compete with God to possess people. This was precisely the path I was walking. I believed in God and wanted to love Him, and I also knew God has sovereignty over all things and is above all. He is the Creator, and we should worship Him, not compete with Him for status and people. But I wanted to make people admire and worship me through my duty to gain a place for myself in people’s hearts. Wasn’t this vying with God for His chosen people? When people worship me, they don’t have a place for God in their hearts, and when they have problems, instead of praying and relying on God, they come to me. I had brought people before myself, and I was walking the path of the antichrist. I thought of the pastors and elders in the religious world, and how even though they preach the gospel, interpret the Bible, give blessings, and do some good deeds, their purpose in doing all this is to make believers look up to them and follow them. Whenever the believers have questions, they will go to the pastors and accept their guidance. Even when they hear of the Lord’s coming and want to seek and investigate, they seek their pastors’ consent. Isn’t this making people treat them as God? These religious leaders exercise firm control over people, they have no place for God in their hearts, and they are openly hostile to God. I was the same. I wanted my brothers and sisters to follow me, I didn’t want a partner, and to entice them and gain status among them, I told them they could come to me with any problem and I would help them. Didn’t this mean I also wanted to control them? Actually, I had believed for a short time and had little experience. I lacked penetration into my brothers’ and sisters’ states and problems. Alone, I couldn’t help them very well at all, but I still didn’t ask the leader for help. It was incredibly arrogant and unreasonable. Only then did I realize what I exposed and how I behaved were the same as an antichrist. In the past, when we talked about antichrists at meetings, it always made me nervous, because I feared becoming an antichrist, but I also felt only high-level leaders were likely to become antichrists, and that as a team leader, without high status, I wouldn’t walk that path. But I realized this view was mistaken. I never would have known without the judgment of God’s word, and I might have done more evil, and been rejected and eliminated by God like the Pharisees. I thanked God for enlightening and guiding me to realize this, and knew I had to repent, no longer pursue fame, gain, and status, and perform my duty according to God’s requirements.
Later, I read another passage of God’s words.says, “What God requires of people is not the ability to complete a certain number of tasks or accomplish any great undertakings, nor does He need them to pioneer any great undertakings. What God wants is for people to be able to do all they can in a down-to-earth way, and live in accordance with His words. God does not need you to be great or honorable, nor does He need you to bring about any miracles, nor does He want to see any pleasant surprises in you. He does not need such things. All God needs is for you to steadfastly practice according to His words. When you listen to God’s words, do what you have understood, carry out what you have comprehended, remember what you have seen, and then, when the time is right, practice as God says, so that God’s words may become what you live out, and become your life. Thus, God will be satisfied. You are always seeking greatness, nobility, and dignity; you always seek exaltation. How does God feel when He sees this? He loathes it, and does not want to look upon it. The more you pursue things like greatness; nobility; and being superior to others, distinguished, outstanding, and noteworthy, the more disgusting God finds you. If you do not reflect upon yourself and repent, then God will despise you and forsake you. Be sure not to be someone whom God finds disgusting; be a person that God loves. So, how can one attain God’s love? By receiving the truth in a down-to-earth way, by standing in the position of a created being, by firmly relying on the word of God to be an honest person and perform one’s duties, and by living out the likeness of a true human. This is enough. Be sure not to hold ambition or entertain idle dreams, do not seek fame, gains, and status or to stand out from the crowd. Moreover, do not try to be a person of greatness or superhuman, who is superior among men and makes others worship them. That is the desire of corrupt humanity, and it is the path of Satan; God does not save such created beings. If some people still pursue fame, gains, and status and refuse to repent, then there is no cure for them, and there is only one outcome for them: to be eliminated. Today, if you are quick to reverse course and practice repentance, there is still time; but when the day comes and the work of God ends, and the disasters rain down, those who pursue fame, gains, and status and refuse to repent shall all be eliminated. You should all be clear about what kind of people God’s work saves, and what the meaning of His salvation of man is; it is for man to come before God to listen to God’s words, to act and live as God says and commands, not to act and live according to one’s own intentions or the logic of Satan. If you do not accept God’s words, and still live by the philosophies of Satan, and by the dispositions of Satan, and refuse to repent, then you are not the kind of person saved by God. When you follow God, you have, of course, also been chosen by God—so what is the meaning of God choosing you? It is to change you into someone who trusts in God, who truly follows God, who can forsake everything for God, and who is able to follow the way of God, someone who has put aside the logic of Satan, who has shed their satanic disposition, and does not live beneath a corrupt disposition. If you follow God and perform a duty in the house of God, yet in every regard set yourself against God, and in every regard do not act or live according to His words, could you be approved by God? Absolutely not. What do I mean by this? Performing a duty isn’t actually difficult, nor is it hard to do so devotedly, and to an acceptable standard. You don’t have to sacrifice your life or do anything problematic, you merely have to follow the words and instructions of God honestly and steadfastly, without adding your own ideas or running your own operation, but walking the right path. If people can do this, they basically have a human semblance. When they have true obedience to God, and have become an honest person, they will possess the likeness of human being” (“The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words made me understand His will. Today, God has expressed many words to save people in the hope that we listen to and practice His words, take our place as created beings, perform our duties according to His words and will, get rid of our corrupt dispositions, and be saved. We should have the right intentions in our duties and not engage in personal enterprise to maintain our reputation and status. Instead, we should diligently pursue the truth and fulfill our duties as created beings. Thanks to the guidance of God’s word, I found a path of practice.
Several days later, a sister told me about her difficulties and said she needed help. The problem was a bit hard for me. I didn’t know how to solve it. But I also realized I couldn’t behave as I had and refuse to cooperate with my leader to prove my competence, so I asked my leader about this problem. I said, “I can’t resolve this problem. Can you help me?” The leader found suitable parts of God’s word and sent them to me, and together, we resolved the sister’s trouble. After that, whenever I had any problems, I would seek with my leader and cooperate with her, and no longer do things alone as I used to. I feel that my attitude when I help my brothers and sisters is different from before. In the past, I do it to protect my image and reputation, and never asked my leader. I feared she would solve the problem and no one would look up to me. Now, I no longer think about whether they look up to me. Instead, I think about how to better solve the problems of my brothers and sisters, and I actively cooperate with my leader. Practicing like this gives me a great sense of ease.