Why Don’t I Share Everything When Teaching Others?

February 7, 2023

By Aiden, Italy

In July 2021, I was doing video production in the church. I knew this was a really important duty, so I spent lots of time every day watching tutorials and searching for information. I listened carefully whenever others discussed a technical skill, and afterwards would analyze and research it in detail, then actually make use of it. I also sought help from God when I encountered difficulties. After fumbling around for a time, my technical skills improved quite a bit. I was coming up with some novel production styles and working more efficiently. Everyone really looked up to me and would come ask me about technical issues. I had a real sense of accomplishment. I felt like all my hard work hadn’t been in vain, that I was finally seeing the fruit of it.

Seeing how well I was doing in video production, the supervisor asked me to share my technical skills and production experience with other brothers and sisters. Some of them even specially requested to listen to me talk. I felt like I’d really done well for myself. But I started to worry when I considered sharing the keys to my success. If I revealed the essence of these skills and everyone learned them, they’d gradually become more effective in their work. Then would anyone come ask me for help anymore? Would they still look up to me? I shouldn’t tell them everything. So, I explained some things, but kept some to myself. I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do, but I’d swallow what was on the tip of my tongue, for my own benefit. Later, a sister said to me: “The videos made based on your instructions are a lot better than before, but we’re still inefficient. Is there anything you haven’t taught us yet?” I responded nonchalantly, “That’s the way I do it. Maybe you need more practice to become more efficient?” She didn’t say anything further. At the time I felt kind of bad and I realized this was being deceitful, but when I thought about how I was being more effective in my work than the others, I smothered that little shred of guilt.

When we did our monthly summaries, I was the one who produced the most videos, and with the best quality. I was very pleased with myself to see those figures, and felt happy that I hadn’t decided to teach the others the full extent of my skills. Then I wouldn’t have had the best figures. Just when I was feeling very self-satisfied, the supervisor found out that I hadn’t shared all my skills with the others, and dealt with me: “You’re so selfish! You’re not thinking of the church’s work, only your own productivity. You just want to show off. How much can you accomplish on your own? If everyone knew these skills, we could improve our overall work progress.” I was aware that it would benefit the church’s work, but when I thought of everyone else becoming more competent and no longer admiring me, I felt really conflicted. I prayed, “Oh God! Recently I couldn’t help acting deceitful for my own personal gain. I don’t want to live in this corruption anymore. Please guide me to understand my problem and cast off this corrupt disposition.”

Then in my devotionals, I read this in God’s words. “Unbelievers have a certain kind of corrupt disposition. When they teach other people a piece of professional knowledge or a skill, they think, ‘Once a student knows everything the master knows, the master will lose his livelihood. If I teach everything I know to others, then no one will look up to me or admire me anymore and I will have lost all status as a teacher. This will not do. I can’t teach them everything I know, I must hold something back. I’ll teach them only eighty percent of what I know and keep the rest up my sleeve; this is the only way to show my skill is superior to others.’ What sort of disposition is this? It is deceitfulness. When teaching others, assisting them, or sharing with them something you studied, what attitude should you take? (We should spare no effort, and hold nothing back.) … If you contribute your gifts and specialties in their entirety, they will be beneficial to all those fulfilling the duty, as well as to the work of the church. Do not think it’s alright or that you have not withheld knowledge to tell everyone the most basic of things; this will not do. You only teach a few theories or things that people can understand literally, but the essence and important points are beyond the grasp of a novice. You only give an overview, without elaborating or going into detail, all the while still thinking to yourself, ‘Well, anyway, I’ve told you, and I haven’t intentionally held anything back. If you don’t understand, it’s because your caliber is too poor, so don’t blame me. We’ll just have to see how God leads you now.’ Such deliberation contains deceit, does it not? Is it not selfish and ignoble? Why can’t you teach people everything in your heart and everything you understand? Why do you withhold knowledge instead? This is a problem with your intentions and your disposition. … It is tiresome for those who do not seek the truth and live by satanic dispositions like the unbelievers. Among the unbelievers, competition is rife. Mastering the essence of a skill or a profession is no simple matter, and once someone else finds out about it, and masters it themselves, one’s livelihood is at risk. To protect that livelihood, people are driven to act this way. They must be cautious at all times—what they’ve mastered is their most valuable currency. It’s their livelihood, their capital, their lifeblood, and they mustn’t let anyone else in on it. But you believe in God—if you think this way and act this way in God’s house, there is nothing to distinguish you from an unbeliever(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). Reading this passage felt like God was directly judging and exposing me. I saw that after years of faith, my life disposition hadn’t changed at all. I was just like an unbeliever, living by satanic rules for survival, like “Every man for himself” and “Once a student masters the knowledge, the master loses his job.” When I had some skills or special techniques, I wanted to keep them to myself. I wouldn’t agree to teach everything to someone else that easily and risk losing my position and livelihood. During that time, when I had more technical skills than the others and was more productive in my duty, I was quite self-contented and reveled in being looked up to. The supervisor asked me to teach the others, but I didn’t tell them everything so I could keep my position. I was afraid that the others would surpass me if they learned everything, then no one would admire me anymore. Even when some people came and asked me things individually, I would hide the truth, not telling them everything. I was practicing the satanic philosophy of “Once a student masters the knowledge, the master loses his job.” For reputation and status, I was devious and played games, afraid that if others fully mastered my skills, I wouldn’t have a chance to show off anymore. I didn’t consider the church’s work at all, and I wasn’t considerate of God’s will. I treated these skills like my own personal tools to maintain my reputation and status. I was so selfish, vile, and lacking in humanity! I prayed to God, ready to put the truth into practice and forsake the flesh. I thought of something God said: “When most people are first introduced to some specific aspect of professional knowledge, they can only comprehend its literal meaning; it takes a period of practice before the main points and essence can be grasped. If you have already mastered these finer points, you should tell them directly; do not make them take such a roundabout path and spend so much time groping around. This is your responsibility; it is what you should do. Only if you tell them what you believe to be the main points and essence will you not be withholding anything, and only then will you not be selfish(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). God’s words gave me a path of practice: I should share all my techniques and knowledge related to our work with the brothers and sisters, so no one would need to waste more time on roundabout approaches. Then they could have more inspirations based on that foundation and keep getting better at their duty. That would benefit the church’s work. Besides, I had some professional skills and was reasonably successful in my duty not because I was smarter or more driven than the others, but because of God’s grace, granting me this bit of inspiration. I couldn’t only think of myself, but had to fulfill my responsibilities, and share all of my knowledge with the others. Then our work as a whole would improve. And so, I taught all the professional skills I knew to the brothers and sisters, and told them of my own accord when I discovered another good technique. After a little while, our team’s productivity just skyrocketed, and some of us came up with innovations based on the skills I had taught them.

A month later, because of staff changes, the supervisor had team leader Colin take over a new team and had me take on his role. I was really grateful to God and wanted to do the job well. Since the brothers and sisters in Colin’s team were all new to video editing and inexperienced, he had a few of them with good caliber come to learn from us. They were all quick learners, and it wasn’t long before they had a good handle on the skills and were getting better at their duty. I felt out of sorts. They came to learn some skills and we’d shared everything with them. If that went on and their team’s productivity continued to improve, our team might be outdone by theirs. To maintain our team’s high productivity, I removed the ones who had come to learn from the online group. I also began studying the productive techniques and skills of other churches. My thinking was that they already learned all the skills we had known before, so if we learned some new ones and didn’t tell them, they wouldn’t be able to outdo us. But to my surprise, after I removed them from the group, not only did our team’s productivity not increase, it actually fell. The team members experienced more negative states and issues, and I myself was in a fog. I didn’t have any ideas for making videos and I couldn’t resolve the team’s problems. I realized that if I didn’t change my state, that was sure to impact the team’s performance. I prayed to God, “God, in my duty lately, no matter how hard I try, I’m just directionless. Please enlighten and guide me to know myself and come out from this mess.”

One day in my devotionals, I read this passage of God’s words: “When people live in an incorrect state, and do not pray to God or seek the truth, the Holy Spirit will abandon them, and God will not be present. How can those who do not seek the truth possess the work of the Holy Spirit? God is disgusted with them, His face is hidden from them, and likewise the Holy Spirit is concealed from them. When God is no longer at work, you can do as you please. Once He has cast you aside, aren’t you finished? You’ll accomplish nothing. Why is it that the unbelievers have such a hard time doing things? Isn’t it that they each keep their own counsel? They keep their own counsel, and are unable to accomplish anything—everything is highly strenuous, even the simplest of matters. This is life under the dominion of Satan. If you do as the unbelievers do, then how are you any different from them? There is no difference between you whatsoever. If power is wielded by those who live by satanic dispositions, if it is wielded by those who do not possess the truth, then isn’t it in fact Satan who wields power? If a person’s actions, in the main, are contrary to the truth, the work of the Holy Spirit ceases, and God hands them over to Satan. Once in Satan’s hands, all forms of ugliness—jealousies and disputes, for example—emerge between people. What is illustrated by these phenomena? That the work of the Holy Spirit has ceased, He has taken His leave, and God is no longer at work. Without the work of God, of what use are the mere letters and doctrines that man understands? They are of no use. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, people are empty inside—nothing is fathomable to them. They are like the dead, and when the time comes, they will be dumbfounded. All inspiration, wisdom, intelligence, insight, and enlightenment in mankind comes from God; it is all God’s work(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). I could feel God’s righteous disposition from His words. God has a different attitude toward people depending on their behavior. If someone has the right motive in their duty, seeks the truth, and bands together with the others to uphold the church’s work, they gain the Holy Spirit’s work. But if they don’t practice the truth and live in their satanic dispositions, God abandons them in disgust. I thought of those brothers and sisters from the other team trying to learn from us. I saw they were quick learners and were more effective than us, so I was jealous. I removed them from the group so that we could surpass them, not letting them continue to participate in our trainings. Then we wouldn’t fall behind them. I was acting just like an unbeliever—it was all for my own gain. I was always afraid others would outdo me, and that would impact my reputation and status. I didn’t uphold the church’s work at all—I was incredibly selfish and despicable. I read in God’s words: “Without the work of God, of what use are the mere letters and doctrines that man understands? They are of no use. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, people are empty inside—nothing is fathomable to them. They are like the dead, and when the time comes, they will be dumbfounded.” When I started that job, I wanted to learn the skills and do my duty well. I prayed and sought help when I ran into problems, I learned quickly, and I never felt tired. But since I began living in a state of competitiveness, not seeking the truth, and acting out of corruption at every turn, God was disgusted and abandoned me. I lacked direction and purpose in my duty and felt inept in everything. I saw that when God wasn’t working on me, what little professional knowledge I had became useless. This was the consequence of not having the right motives in my duty, always protecting my own interests, and not practicing the truth.

Then I thought of a passage of God’s words. God exposes antichrists for only considering their own interests, not thinking of the interests of God’s house. God’s words say, “Regardless of what work they undertake, the kind of person who is an antichrist never gives any thought to the interests of the house of God. They only consider whether their own interests will be affected, only think about the little bit of work in front of them that benefits them. For them, the primary work of the church is just something they do in their spare time. They don’t take it seriously at all. They simply make a perfunctory effort, only do what they like to do, and only do the work of maintaining their own position and power. In their eyes, any work arranged by God’s house, the work of spreading the gospel, and the life entry of God’s chosen people are not important. No matter what difficulties other people have in their work, what issues they have identified and reported to them, how sincere their words are, the antichrists pay no heed, they do not get involved, it’s as if this has nothing to do with them. They are utterly indifferent to the affairs of the church, no matter how major these affairs are. Even when the problem is right in front of them, they only address it perfunctorily. Only when they are directly dealt with by the Above and ordered to sort out a problem will they grudgingly do a little real work and give the Above something to see; soon after, they will continue with their own business. Toward the work of the church, toward the important things of the wider context, they are disinterested, oblivious. They even ignore the problems they discover, and they give perfunctory answers or use their words to brush you off when asked about problems, only addressing them with great reluctance. This is the manifestation of selfishness and vileness, is it not? What’s more, no matter what duty antichrists are performing, all they think about is whether it will raise their profile; as long as it will boost their reputation, they rack their brains to come up with a way to learn how to do it, to carry it out; all they care about is whether it will set them apart. No matter what they do or think, they are only concerned with their own fame and status. No matter what duty they are performing, they only compete over who is higher or lower, who wins and who loses, who has the bigger reputation. They only care about how many people look up to them, how many people obey them, and how many followers they have. They never fellowship the truth or solve real problems. They never consider how to do things according to principle when performing one’s duty, whether they have been faithful, have fulfilled their responsibilities, have been deviant, or if any problems exist, nor do they give thought to what God asks, and what the will of God is. They pay not the slightest attention to all these things. They only put their head down and do things for the sake of status and prestige, to satisfy their own ambitions and wants. This is the manifestation of selfishness and vileness, is it not? This fully exposes how their hearts brim with their own ambitions, wants, and senseless demands; everything they do is governed by their ambitions and wants. No matter what they do, the motivation and starting point is their own ambitions, wants, and senseless demands. This is the archetypal manifestation of selfishness and vileness(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Four (Part One)). God’s words reveal that antichrists only do things for their own reputation and status without a thought for the church’s work. The church’s arrangements and the problems others are having in their duty don’t matter to them at all. They turn a blind eye to any struggles the brothers and sisters are facing, they’re really selfish and vile, and they lack all humanity. I looked at antichrists’ behavior and reflected on how I appeared to suffer and sacrifice, and did my best to learn skills for my duty, but I wasn’t considering God’s will. I was treating my duty like a tool with which I could gain status and a good reputation. My only consideration was whether I had status among people, and whether the others would admire and value me. I never thought about what God required or how I should satisfy Him. When I had some success in my duty and everyone was coming to me with questions, my desire for reputation and status was totally satisfied. When sharing my professional knowledge with others, I was devious, played games, and held back some of what I knew. I didn’t share the full extent of my skills and removed the people who came to learn out of our group so they couldn’t learn from us, as I was afraid they’d become capable and steal my thunder. But we make videos to spread God’s words, so I should have worked alongside the others to do our duties well, so that more of those who long for God’s appearance can come before Him sooner, pursue the truth, and be saved. But for the sake of maintaining my own reputation and status, I wasn’t willing to share my skills with anyone. I treated my professional skills and learning resources like my own personal property to enjoy by myself. I just wanted to show off and satisfy my wild ambition to be admired by others. I didn’t remotely consider the church’s work or the will of God. How was my behavior any different from an antichrist’s? This seemed like a really dangerous state, so I prayed in my heart: “Oh God! I don’t want to keep ignoring my conscience and only thinking of my interests. I’m ready to repent, to teach everyone the skills I have, and to do my duty well.”

Then I read this in God’s words: “If people don’t understand the truth, then nothing is harder to give up than their own interests. That’s because their life philosophies are ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’ and ‘Get rich or die trying.’ Clearly, they only live for their own interests. People think that without their own interests—if they lose their interests—they won’t be able to survive, it’s as if their survival is inseparable from their own interests, and so most people are blind to all but their own interests. They see them as higher than anything else, they live only for their own interests, and getting them to give up their own interests is like asking them to give up their own lives. So what should be done in such circumstances? They must accept the truth. Only when people understand the truth can they see through to the essence of their own interests; only then can they learn to relinquish, forsake, and be able to endure the pain of letting go of that which they love so much. And when you can do so, and forsake your own interests, you will feel more at ease and more at peace in your heart, and in so doing you will prevail over the flesh. If you cling to your interests and are not in the least bit accepting of the truth—if, in your heart, you say, ‘What’s wrong with seeking my own interests and refusing to suffer any loss? God hasn’t punished me, and what can people do to me?’—then no one will do anything to you. But if this is your faith in God, you will ultimately fail to gain the truth and the life, which will be a huge loss for you: You cannot be saved. Is there any greater regret? This is what ultimately comes from pursuing your own interests. If people only pursue status and prestige—if they only pursue their own interests—then they will never gain the truth and the life, and ultimately they will be the ones who suffer loss. God saves those who pursue the truth. If you do not accept the truth, and if you are incapable of reflecting upon and knowing your own corrupt disposition, then you will not truly repent, and will have no entry into life. Accepting the truth and knowing yourself is the path to your life’s growth and to salvation, it is the chance for you to come before God to accept God’s scrutiny and to accept the judgment and chastisement of God and gain the life and the truth. If you give up on pursuing the truth for the sake of pursuing status and prestige and your own interests, this is tantamount to giving up on the opportunity of receiving God’s judgment and chastisement and attaining salvation. You choose status and prestige and your own interests, but what you give up is the truth, and what you lose is life, and the chance to be saved. Which means more? If you choose your own interests and forsake the truth, are you not stupid? To put it bluntly, this is a great loss for a small advantage. Prestige, status, money, and interest are all temporary, they are all ephemeral, whereas the truth and the life are eternal and immutable. If people resolve their corrupt disposition that causes them to pursue status and prestige, then they have hope of attaining salvation(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Knowing One’s Disposition Is the Foundation of Changing It). I saw from God’s words that if I always clung to my own interests and totally neglected practicing the truth, I’d be the one suffering a loss, not other people. I would lose my chance to gain the truth, making me incredibly foolish. Before, I lived by satanic philosophies. I believed that “Once a student masters the knowledge, the master loses his job,” thinking that by teaching the others what I knew, I’d lose out. If they were good learners, and ended up accomplishing more than me, then I wouldn’t have any special status among people. Only then did I see that’s a satanic fallacy and a deceitful approach to things. Living that way could only make me increasingly selfish, deceitful, and devoid of humanity. I’d end up exposed and cast out by God. I had to set my own interests aside and teach the others what I knew. Only that was in line with God’s will and would be fulfilling my responsibilities. That was the way to feel at peace in my heart. Also, when the brothers and sisters had new ideas that built upon what I had taught them, it could raise my own skills a notch. That wasn’t a loss at all. I didn’t want to keep living so selfishly, and whenever I had a good approach or skill, I’d be happy to tell everyone.

One day, a sister asked me how to improve work efficiency. It occurred to me that if I shared our team’s methods with her and her team did better, we’d look worse. Then what would people think of me? Just then, I remembered God’s words: “You should be able to fulfill your responsibilities, perform your obligations and duties, set aside your selfish desires, set aside your own intents and motives, have consideration for God’s will, and put first the interests of God’s house, the work of the church, and the duty you should perform. After experiencing this for a while, you will feel that this is a good way to conduct yourself. It is living straightforwardly and honestly, without being a base person or a good-for-nothing, and living justly and honorably rather than being despicable and mean. You will feel that this is how a person should live and act. Gradually, the desire within your heart to gratify your own interests will lessen(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). That sister came to ask how to improve her efficiency because she was thinking of the church’s work. I had to stop thinking of my own reputation and status, consider the church’s interests, let go of my selfish desires and motives, and help the others. So, I told the sister everything I knew. I felt a sense of peace when I did that. To my surprise, she gave me some good learning materials too, which helped me improve my skills. I was so moved I didn’t know what to say. I just thanked God over and over in my heart. Learning bit by bit how to let go of my personal interests allowed me to taste the sweetness of practicing the truth. After that, I sent all the learning materials and useful skills and techniques I’d collected to the others as a reference.

This experience showed me how deeply corrupted by Satan I was. My personal interests were paramount in everything, and I didn’t think of the church’s work. I showed a disposition just like an antichrist’s, but God didn’t treat me according to my transgressions. He set up situation after situation to cleanse and transform me. This was God’s love. I also experienced God’s righteous disposition. When I was on the wrong path, God hid His face from me and I ran up against a wall in all I did. When I practiced God’s words, corrected my motives, upheld the church’s work, and shared the knowledge I possessed with everyone, everyone else started exchanging skills and techniques, and our team’s video work improved. I’ve truly experienced that peace that comes from acting according to God’s words. Sometimes I still consider my own interests in the face of problems, but I know to lean on God and forsake myself. Thank God for His salvation!

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