Those Days of Fighting for Name and Gain
By Xiao Dan, China
I took on responsibility for the church’s watering work last June, and our work was being impacted by a lack of waterers. I was really anxious about it. I thought that if I didn’t make up for the lack, the leaders might think I didn’t do practical work. Just as I was fretting over it, a leader gave me a candidate, saying Sister Xiaodan, who’d just been transferred over, could do watering. I was thrilled to see that and it really put my mind at ease. I set up a meeting with Sister Xiaodan right away. To get her trained and improve our watering work quickly, I found some people to familiarize her with the principles and I kept on top of her progress. Before long, the leader sent a message that Sister Zhou needed Sister Xiaodan to go help out with making videos, and Sister Xiaodan was on board. I was stunned to see that. I had personally taken care of everything, from contacting her to arranging her duties, and I’d wanted to get her up to speed right away to improve our work, but Sister Zhou barged in partway. I’d need to find someone else to help out, and newcomers wouldn’t be watered if I couldn’t get anyone. What would the leaders think of me? Besides, if Sister Xiaodan was trained up, everyone would think Sister Zhou was capable, and my efforts would be in vain. I wanted to find a way to hold on to her. So I responded to the leader, saying we were in dire need of waterers, and we should be assessing people’s strengths. Sister Xiaodan had done watering work before, so I wanted them to talk to Sister Zhou about keeping her in that duty. I got a response two days later that Sister Xiaodan had image editing experience from college, so she had a foundation for video production. She was interested in it too, so overall, she was better suited to video production. I was really disappointed and thought that Sister Xiaodan never would have thought of doing that if Sister Zhou hadn’t asked her to. But it was a done deal, so I had to find someone else, and fast, or else our work would suffer and the leader would certainly say I wasn’t doing practical work. I reviewed the other church members and found a few sisters of good caliber who were good seekers, and would fit the bill. Among them, Sister Yang was warm and easy to talk to, and newcomers liked gathering with her. She was a good fit for the position. I was really happy, and started training those sisters with a special focus on Sister Yang. I thought I had to really stay on top of this and get her cultivated as soon as possible so everyone would see me as capable.
In a gathering one day, another leader asked about Sister Xiaodan and I felt secretly aggrieved. I wanted to tell her about Sister Zhou taking Sister Xiaodan for video production so she would deal with Sister Zhou and help me get Sister Xiaodan back. Then I’d have another pair of hands for watering and we’d be doing better. So I told this leader all about Sister Zhou having Sister Xiaodan learn video production and emphasized that I’d been training her first, but Sister Zhou snatched her away from me. She said, “God’s house is a single unit and can’t be divided. Wherever she’s sent, it’s for our work and video production needs more people, so we shouldn’t be fighting. Since Sister Xiaodan has been assigned to that, we need to submit.” I knew that was true, but I was disappointed to see the leader wasn’t taking my side. A couple of the sisters we’d cultivated did end up taking on watering work, so I felt like my effort hadn’t been wasted and I’d look good in the eyes of the leaders. But to my surprise, one day a watering team leader, Sister Li, told me that Sister Zhou wanted Sister Yang for video production. I felt a wave of annoyance in me. I’d already trained Sister Yang, so why was Sister Zhou taking her? She’d taken Sister Xiaodan first, and now Sister Yang. She was taking everything I’d worked for and leaving me with nothing. Wasn’t my effort all for nothing? I was in total turmoil, and snapped back at Sister Li, “Can’t you fellowship with Sister Zhou? Sister Yang is already doing watering, so let her find someone else.” She didn’t know what to do, and she said, “Both watering and video production are really important. We should further discuss what would most benefit the work of God’s house.” I thought: “Further discuss what? Sister Zhou is taking the people I wanted, I can’t hold onto any of my trainees, so what will everyone think of me? No matter what, this time I have to talk to leadership about it and get them to weigh in, or it will be really humiliating.”
I was going to write them a letter as soon as I got home, but I just didn’t know what to write. I figured, forget it. I should set up a time to chat directly with Sister Yang and ask her to keep working in watering, so I could hang on to her. Just as I was about to write to Sister Yang, I drew a complete blank and didn’t know what to say. I felt really uneasy and thought back over everything that had happened. Why was I so angry when my trainees were transferred to Sister Zhou and even wanted to complain to leadership? Why was I so set on getting Sister Yang back? So I said a prayer to God and started to calm myself down, and read this in: “In the house of God, as long as people pursue the truth, then they are united before God, and not divided, and share a common goal: fulfilling their duty, doing their work, acting according to the principles of the truth, and satisfying the will of God. If your aims are not to this end, but for the sake of yourself, for the sake of satisfying your own selfish desires, then this is the outpouring of a corrupt satanic disposition. In the house of God, the performance of one’s duty is according to the principles of the truth. The actions of the unbelievers are governed by their satanic dispositions. These are two very different paths. Among the unbelievers, each person keeps their own counsel, each has their own aims and plans, each lives for their own interests. Thus are they compelled to fight for any advantage they can. They are disparate, divided, disunited, because they do not share a common goal. Yet the nature of their aims is the same—they all act for themselves. In this, the truth does not reign, the corrupt disposition of Satan holds total power and mastery, control of themselves has been wrested from them by their corrupt satanic dispositions—with the result that they are plunged ever deeper into sin. In the house of God, if the principle, method, motivation, and starting point of your actions were no different from those of the unbelievers, if your actions, too, were subject to the manipulation, control, and maneuverings of a corrupt satanic disposition, and the starting point was your own interests, pride, status and reputation, then your performance of your duty would be no different from the actions of the unbelievers” (“How to Experience God’s Words in One’s Duties” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “Cruel mankind! The connivance and intrigue, the snatching and grabbing one from another, the scramble for fame and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end? Despite the hundreds of thousands of words God has spoken, no one has come to their senses. People act for the sake of their families, sons and daughters, for their careers, future prospects, position, vainglory, and money, for the sake of food, clothing, and the flesh. But is there anyone whose actions are truly for the sake of God? Even among those who act for the sake of God, there are but few who know God. How many people do not act out of their own interests? How many do not oppress or ostracize others in order to protect their own position?” (“The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished” in ). Then I reflected on how I’d been acting recently. Wasn’t I in a state of fighting with others for my own face and status? A leader told me to cultivate Sister Xiaodan and my first thought was that that could improve our watering team’s results and show off my skills, gaining the leaders’ approval. So I spared no effort in her training. When I found out she was being transferred to video production, I was afraid of our work suffering if I couldn’t find another good candidate, then I’d look bad in front of leadership and lose my position. I became biased against Sister Zhou and tried to get leadership to stand on my side, and deal with her. Then I snapped at Sister Li when I heard that Sister Yang was going to be transferred, blaming her for not talking to Sister Zhou to keep Sister Yang, and even wanted to complain to leadership and get her back, all to maintain my status and image with brothers and sisters. I was acting just like an unbeliever, fighting for my name and status, living out a satanic likeness. God’s house cultivates people so brothers and sisters can make use of their strengths and do their part in spreading the gospel. But I was treating doing my duty to cultivate people as an outlet for my personal interests, vying with others to protect my own face and status. That’s not normal humanity! I had to ask myself why I was always fighting for my face and status with other people.
In my seeking, I read this in God’s words: “When antichrists compete for church leadership positions and fame among God’s chosen people, they do not consider how badly they may harm the work of God’s house and the life entry of God’s chosen people. They only consider whether their ambitions and desires can be satisfied, and whether there are any dangers to their own status and reputation. Their role in churches everywhere and among God’s chosen people is none other than lackeys of Satan. They are not people who genuinely believe in God, nor are they followers of God, let alone are they people who love and accept the truth. Therefore, when their intentions and goals are not achieved, their first approach is not to seek the truth or treat it with obedience. Instead, it is to rack their brains to think of how to fight church leaders of every level, how to fight God’s house and Christ for God’s chosen people, how to ensure they have a firm footing in the church, and how to gain status. They will not allow themselves to fail in their fight to gain status, and their goal is to achieve control over God’s chosen. These are the things with which they concern themselves, day and night” (“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 Three)” in Exposing Antichrists). “Antichrists give serious consideration to how to treat the principles of the truth, God’s commissions, and the work of God’s house, or how to deal with something they are faced with. They do not consider how to fulfill God’s will, how to keep from damaging the interests of God’s house, how to satisfy God, or how to benefit the brothers and sisters; these are not the things they consider. What antichrists consider is whether or not their own status and reputation will be affected and whether or not their prestige could be lowered. If doing something according to the principles of the truth would benefit the work of the church and bring benefit to the brothers and sisters, but would cause their own reputation to take a hit and make a lot of people realize their true stature and know what sort of nature and essence they have, then they will definitely not act in accordance with the principles of the truth. If doing something a certain way will enable them to gain higher prestige within God’s house, causing more people to think highly of them, look up to them, and admire them, and enable their words to carry authority and make more people submit to them, then they will choose to do it that way; otherwise, they absolutely will not give any consideration to the interests of God’s house or of the brothers and sisters and then choose to discard their own interests. This is the nature and essence of antichrists. Isn’t it selfish and vile? In any given situation, antichrists see their status and reputation as of utmost importance; no one can compete with them” (“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 Three)” in Exposing Antichrists). God exposes antichrists as incredibly selfish, putting their own interests above all else. If anyone impacts their name and status, they’ll rack their brains to fight with them, without any thought to what would benefit God’s house. I reflected on myself and realized I was acting just like an antichrist. I wanted to get Sisters Xiaodan and Yang back to get them trained for my own use, to improve my work performance and gain the leaders’ approval. When Sister Zhou transferred them, impacting my reputation, I wanted to go head-to-head with her, without thinking about whether my behavior might harm brothers and sisters and the interests of God’s house. I was only thinking of my own interests. It was so selfish, totally lacking humanity and reason. Brothers and sisters belong to God—they’re no one’s private property. Their caliber and strengths were all determined by God, and given to them for His own work. There’s no, “This one is mine, that one is yours” or “First come, first served.” People should go wherever they’re needed in God’s house. That’s clearly right. It was reasonable and proper that Sister Zhou was following the principles and training people for God’s house based on their strengths. But I’d set my sights on those two sisters first, so I thought no one should touch them and even waved the flag of training people for God’s house, treating them like my personal property, like my personal assistants, using them to fulfill my own ambitions and desires. When Sister Zhou’s actions impacted my name and status, I tried tactics to stand in her way, and vented my frustration. Isn’t that just like church clergy claiming “These are my sheep, and no one can steal them”? Pastors and elders judge and condemn God’s work to maintain their status with believers and keep their living. They keep them from investigating the true way, keeping congregants firmly controlled within their grasp. I wanted to keep those I’d trained firmly within my grasp for the leaders’ approval and church members’ esteem, not letting them be transferred. How was I any different from those hypocritical, cunning clergy members? Wasn’t I on an antichrist’s path against God? I broke out in a cold sweat when I realized this. I saw how selfish and despicable I was, that I wasn’t upholding the work of God’s house at all, but just my own interests. I was blinded by my desire for name and status—how dangerous. I thought of the antichrists that have been kicked out of the church. They were expelled because they unrepentantly pursued name and status and ended up doing too much evil. If I kept on that path, I knew I’d end up the same way.
I read this passage of God’s words: “You should be aware of when you have the constant urge to compete. Left unresolved, the desire to compete can only lead to bad things, so waste no time in searching for the truth, nip your competitiveness in the bud, and replace this competitive behavior with practicing the truth. When you practice the truth, your competitiveness, wild aspirations, and desires will be thoroughly diminished, and will no longer interfere with the work of God’s house. In this way, your actions will be remembered and praised by 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 Three)” in Exposing Antichrists). This gave me a path of practice. When I was fighting for my personal interests, I had to pray to God right away and forsake myself, to let go of my own desires, seek principles of the truth, and follow them. No matter where Sisters Xiaodan and Yang were assigned, it was for God’s house to cultivate people, and the end goal was to do our duty and bear witness to God. I should be happy, not fight for my own name and status. And cultivation in God’s house is principled. It’s done based on the needs of the church’s work, and according to people’s own strengths. People’s suitability for any duty should be weighed based on their strengths. If someone has multiple talents, then he should go where he is most needed. If a duty needs more people, they’re hard to come by, and there’s no one to fill the post, plus that person is ready and willing, he should be put into that duty. There aren’t many people with the caliber and strengths for video production. But for watering, people with pure understanding and who fellowship well, who are loving and patient, can do well in that duty. We have more candidates for watering duty than video production. Sister Xiaodan did image editing in college, so she had some skills for video production. She was also interested in learning about it, so it was reasonable of Sister Zhou to put her in that duty. Even though I lost Sister Xiaodan as a trainee, I could still find other brothers and sisters to cultivate. It just needed a little more time and effort. I prayed to God after understanding all that, ready to correct my motives and follow principles in my duty. If Sister Yang had strengths in video production, I was ready to submit and stop my struggle with Sister Zhou for my own face and status.
Sister Zhou sent out a message a couple days later saying another church had transferred a couple people for her, so she didn’t need Sisters Xiaodan and Yang anymore. She said they could be reassigned appropriately. I was certain this was what God had orchestrated. When I genuinely let go of my own ambitions and desires, things changed. I realized I was acting like a buffoon throughout that whole thing. It was really embarrassing. After that, I arranged for those sisters to come back to watering duty. Not long after, I heard another church leader was going to have Sister Yang take on writing duty. I thought, Sister Yang was so good at watering, so why would she be sent off for that duty? I wanted to talk with her and ask her to stay in watering. Wouldn’t all my effort be wasted if she took on writing duty? When these thoughts surfaced, I realized I was fighting for name and status again, so I quickly said a prayer, asking God to guide me to forsake myself and put the interests of God’s house first. Wherever Sister Yang was sent, it would certainly be for what the church needed. I couldn’t work for name and status, but I had to submit. I felt much more at ease when I thought about it that way. I saw that leader later and she said she’d read some of Sister Yang’s testimonials recently, that they were practical and well-written. Sister Yang also liked writing, and her essays were well-organized and insightful. She seemed like a great fit for that duty. I wasn’t angry or disappointed to hear that, but I smiled and said, “Thank God! Before, I know I would have fought for my name and status, but through what’s revealed in God’s words, I’ve realized how selfish I’ve been, how it disgusted God, and I know that no matter what arrangements are made, it’s done based on the principles. Sister Yang is a good writer, so putting her in writing duty is God’s will, and I don’t mind.” The leader smiled to hear me say that.
This experience really showed me that considering the interests of God’s house and brothers and sisters instead of fighting for my name and status leaves me feeling at ease, and at peace in my heart. Thank God!