Why Am I Afraid of Being Outdone?
By Rena, the Philippines
In June 2019, I accepted God’s new work, and then I started watering newcomers. Some newcomers were very grateful after getting my help, so I was very proud, and felt I was very suitable for this duty. Later, I took on a newcomer, and at the beginning, I watered her diligently, but later, I found out that she understood things well and progressed very quickly, and every time at gatherings, I felt the understanding she shared was good. I felt that she would quickly surpass me, and when that happened, the leader would ask her to water everyone, and I would no longer be needed. With this in mind, I didn’t want to water her properly, so I only discussed a few external matters with her. Once, the leader asked me about this newcomer, saying, “We need watering personnel now. Is she suitable for cultivation?” I didn’t want to cultivate her at all, because she understood things so well, and I feared that she would become a leader in the future and be above me. So I told the leader, “I lack discernment. Maybe you can investigate more elsewhere.” When I heard that the leader had gone to speak with her, I was very jealous and afraid, and I also frequently thought, “Maybe she will be cultivated and promoted, or even replace me.” Later, the church was divided, and she went to the other church. A few months later, I learned that she had become a church leader. I was shocked at the speed of her progress! I congratulated her and said I was happy for her, but deep down, I was jealous of her. Why did she become a leader so quickly, while I was still a watering staff? I was very dissatisfied, so I started working hard to follow up with the newcomers I watered, because I wanted to prove to the leader that I was fit to be a church leader too.
Later, I was also elected as a church leader, but I still got jealous when I saw who was better than me. Once, I discussed with the leaders and deacons how to support and help newcomers, and the gospel deacon shared her thoughts. The upper leader said her suggestions were good, and so did the group leaders. We tried to support and water the newcomers according to the gospel deacon’s suggestions. Indeed, they were very effective. The newcomers came to gatherings and took up duties. The gospel deacon also preached the gospel effectively. This made me a little jealous. I thought, “The gospel deacon preaches better than I do. I have to improve myself and learn more.” Later, I asked the gospel deacon how many years she had done her duty, and she told me, “Six months.” I was very surprised: Only six months? I was ashamed, because I had accepted’s work two years ago, the longest of everyone in the group, but I was like a beginner who lacked ideas. After that, I always compared myself to her. When I saw she was a skilled worker and always had good methods and ways to follow up on work, I envied her even more. I thought, “If she always has good ideas while discussing work, the upper leader will see that her caliber is good, and then train her to be a leader. Won’t that mean she will take my place?” Once, the gospel deacon didn’t come to a meeting because she was busy with other work. Afterward, she asked me what we learned at the meeting. I really didn’t want to tell her, so I just said I forgot. Later, I saw that the upper leader often fellowshiped with her, but rarely did so with me, and this made me very angry. I thought, “If you won’t talk to me, then I won’t do my duty.” At the time, all I wanted was to change to a duty where I could be looked up to by others. I thought that if I could preach the gospel effectively, my brothers and sisters might think highly of me, so I started preaching the gospel and put aside the work of watering newcomers. The upper leader sent me a reminder to understand and solve the difficulties of newcomers quickly, and I replied, “Sure, I’ll go see them soon.” But I only cared about preaching the gospel, and didn’t go see them at all. During that period, the problems of newcomers weren’t resolved in time, and gatherings became irregular. Soon, the upper leader sent a message to ask me why the newcomers weren’t coming and if I was having any difficulties, and I told the leader about my state. The leader fellowshiped with me, “You are the leader, and you are responsible for all the work of the church, especially watering newcomers, which is very important. You can’t be perfunctory about things or muddle through.” I cried after hearing what the leader said. I found her words very harsh. She didn’t notice my efforts to preach the gospel at all.
Later, I began to think about my attitude toward my duty. For so long, I worried that the newcomers would be better than me, and I didn’t want to let them surpass me. To maintain my position and gain the respect of my brothers and sisters, I didn’t water them well, and especially for newcomers with good caliber, I also didn’t encourage them to do their duty. I wasn’t fulfilling my responsibility at all. I thought of, “There are some who are always afraid that others are better than they and higher than they, that others will be esteemed while they are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only about one’s own interests, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for others or the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them” (“Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “Now, all of you are full-time performers of your duties. You are not constrained or tied down by family, marriage, or wealth. You have already emerged from that. However, the notions, imaginings, knowledge, and personal intent and desires that fill your heads remain unchanged from their original form. So, in anything that involves reputation, status, or which can give them exposure—when people hear that the house of God plans to nurture various kinds of talent, for example—everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and each of you always wants to make a name for yourself and be recognized. Everyone wants to fight for status and reputation; and they are ashamed of this, but they feel bad if they don’t. They feel jealousy and hatred when they see someone stand out, and become resentful, and feel that this is unfair, thinking, ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why do other people always get the glory? Why is it never my turn?’ And after they feel resentment, they try to repress it, but they cannot. They pray to God and feel better for a while, but when they encounter this sort of situation again, they still cannot overcome it. Does this not display an immature stature? When people are plunged into such states, have they not fallen into Satan’s trap? These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans” (“Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word precisely revealed my state. I hated when others were better than me or surpassed me. When I met newcomers who understood things well and had good caliber, I feared they would surpass me and take my place, so I didn’t want to water them well, and I didn’t want the leader to cultivate them. Especially when I worked with the gospel deacon, when I saw that her preaching was effective, that she could always make good suggestions. and that the upper leader always went to her to discuss work, I envied her, and compared myself to her, and wanted to make the upper leader notice me through preaching the gospel. All I could think about was my own status and the high opinion of others. I wasn’t fulfilling my responsibility as a leader at all. I felt very ashamed. God’s intention was for me to water these newcomers so that they could lay foundations in the true way, yet I wasn’t considerate of God’s will. I only considered my own reputation and status, and I didn’t diligently water and support the newcomers, which made them attend gatherings irregularly. I was doing evil! I began to reflect on my goals in my duty. Was I doing it for God’s sake or for my own interests? If I was trying to satisfy God and consider the interests of God’s house, I would want to train more people to do their duties in God’s house. But I didn’t do that. Instead, I envied and suppressed talent, hoping the leader wouldn’t notice these people. I saw that I did my duty entirely for my own position and interests. I was so selfish!
Later, after a sister learned about my state, she sent me a passage of God’s word. “Some people believe in God but do not pursue the truth. They always live by the flesh, clinging always to carnal pleasures, always sating their own selfish desires. No matter how many years such people believe in God, they will never enter the reality of the truth. This is the mark of having brought dishonor to God. You say, ‘I haven’t done anything to resist God; how have I brought God dishonor?’ All your ideas and thoughts are evil. In the intentions, goals, and motives behind your actions, and in the consequences of what you do—in every way you are satisfying Satan, being its laughingstock, and letting it get something on you. You have borne none of the witness that a Christian should. You are someone who belongs to Satan. You dishonor God’s name in all things and do not possess genuine testimony. Will God remember the things you have done? In the end, what conclusion will God draw about your acts and the duty you performed? Does something not have to come of that, some sort of statement? In the Bible, thesays, ‘Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity’ (Mat 7:22–23). Why did the Lord Jesus say this? Why did so many of those who preached, cast out demons, and performed many miracles in the name of the Lord become evildoers? It was because they did not accept the truth expressed by the Lord Jesus, did not keep the commandments of the Lord Jesus, and had no love for the truth in their hearts. They only wanted to exchange their work, suffering, and sacrifices for the Lord for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. This is transacting with God, and it is using God and deceiving God, so the Lord Jesus loathed them, hated them, and condemned them as evildoers. Today, people are accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, but some still pursue reputation and status, always want to stand out, always want to be leaders and workers and gain reputation and status. Although they all say they believe in God and follow God, and they forsake and expend for God, they perform their duties to gain fame, interests, and status, and they always have personal schemes. They are not obedient or loyal to God, they act arbitrarily without reflecting on themselves at all, and so they have become evildoers. God hates such evildoers, and God does not save them” (“Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Reading this passage of God’s word stirred my heart. The ones who do evil God speaks of aren’t unbelievers, they are people who believe in God. They follow God, expend for God, go to preach the gospel and work in various places, and suffer hardship, but they do their duty for the sake of their own prestige and status, to be looked up to by others, or to gain rewards and crowns. They cannot be loyal to God, and cannot practice the truth and obey God, so the Lord Jesus said, “Depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). I was just like those who preached and worked for the Lord. I had believed in God for two years, given up my studies to do my duty in God’s house, and suffered and paid a price, but my intention was not to satisfy God. I wanted to be the best in the church, so that my brothers, sisters and the leader would think highly of me, which is why I tried so hard to make myself seen. All I did was to satisfy Satan. My deeds weren’t good deeds, they were evil deeds. I did my duty with this wrong intention, which God could only despise, and if I continued like this, I could only be punished, because God doesn’t approve of such faith. God would say, “Depart from Me, I don’t know you!” When I recognized this, I felt afraid. I wanted to repent, and not to be jealous of my brothers and sisters anymore, so I prayed to God to ask for His guidance.
Later, I found the courage to open up about my corruption to the upper leader. Instead of accusing me, the leader shared her experience to help me. At that time, she also sent me a passage of God’s words. “To be a church leader is not merely to learn to use the truth to resolve problems, but also to discover and cultivate people of talent, whom you absolutely must not envy or suppress. Practicing in this way is beneficial to the work of the church. If you can cultivate a few pursuers of the truth to cooperate well with you in all the work you do, and in the end, all of you have experiential testimonies, then you will be a qualified leader. If you grow able to act in all things according to the principles, you will then be living up to your loyalty. … If you are truly capable of being considerate of God’s will, then you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you recommend a good person and let them undergo training and perform a duty, thereby adding a person of talent to God’s house, will your work not then be easier to do? Will you not then have lived up to your loyalty in this duty? This is a good deed before God; it is the minimum of conscience and sense of which one who is a leader should be possessed. Those who are capable of putting the truth into practice can accept God’s scrutiny when doing things. When you accept God’s scrutiny, your heart is set straight. If you only ever do things for others to see, always want to gain others’ praise and admiration, yet you do not accept God’s scrutiny, then is God still in your heart? Such people have no reverence for God. Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; do not consider the interests of man, and give no thought to your own pride, reputation, or status. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have been loyal, fulfilled your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of the church. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently and figure them out, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, if your experience is shallow, or if you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and the results may not be very good—but you will have put forth your best effort. In everything you do, you do not satisfy your own selfish desires or preferences. Instead, you give constant consideration to the work of the church and the interests of the house of God. Although you may not perform your duty well, your heart has been rectified; if, on top of this, you can seek the truth to solve the problems in your duty, then your duty will be up to standard and you will be able to enter into the reality of the truth. This is bearing testimony” (“Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word clearly states the principles of practice. What matters most is to consider the interests of God’s house first and put God’s work first. When you have the right attitude, it is easier to do your duty well. I also realized that we believe in God and follow God, not follow any one person. So we must consider God’s will in everything, not what other people think. If I wanted to satisfy God and be a qualified leader, I had to give up status and interests and find talented newcomers worth cultivating, so that they could start their duties and accrue good deeds. Only in this way was I fulfilling my duty. God is fair to each of us. God does not look at our caliber or status, He looks at whether we can practice the truth. If I did my duty according to God’s requirements and the principles of truth, and always considered how to do my work so that it benefited church work, even if my caliber was poor, God would enlighten and guide me to perform my duty well. After I understood God’s will, I prayed to God to repent and said I was willing to forsake the flesh and perform my duty to satisfy God.
Later, as we accepted more and more newcomers, the leader asked me to train more watering staff. I started to worry again that the newcomers I cultivated would take my place, and then, the leader would no longer cultivate me. When I thought this way, I realized that I should no longer consider my image and status, and that I had to consider the interests of God’s house. I prayed to God and recalled God’s words, “To be a church leader is not merely to learn to use the truth to resolve problems, but also to discover and cultivate people of talent, whom you absolutely must not envy or suppress. Practicing in this way is beneficial to the work of the church. If you can cultivate a few pursuers of the truth to cooperate well with you in all the work you do, and in the end, all of you have experiential testimonies, then you will be a qualified leader. If you grow able to act in all things according to the principles, you will then be living up to your loyalty” (“Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). As a church leader, my responsibility is to train newcomers to perform their duties. Moreover, fulfilling our duty is the responsibility of every believer in God. If too few people cooperate, it’s like a car without tires, and the work of the church is delayed. If I didn’t train people, with so many people accepting God’s work now, they couldn’t be watered in time, their life entry would suffer, and the work of God’s house would also be affected. Afterward, I chose four newcomers who understood things well, trained them to be group leaders, and let them take turns hosting gatherings. I also reminded and helped them to water other newcomers. By cooperating with them, I had more time to focus on the overall work, and the effectiveness of our work gradually improved. I was very happy to see the newcomers make progress and perform their duties. I felt at ease, and I gained a little more understanding of God’s words. God’s words say, “If you recommend a good person and let them undergo training and perform a duty, thereby adding a person of talent to God’s house, will your work not then be easier to do? Will you not then have lived up to your loyalty in this duty? This is a good deed before God; it is the minimum of conscience and sense of which one who is a leader should be possessed” (“Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). That I have this understanding, and that I have some entry in my duty, is entirely the effect achieved by God’s word.