Your Duty Is Not Your Career

January 17, 2022

By Cheng Nuo, France

Last year I was responsible for the work of two churches for newcomers. Sometimes people needed to be transferred from our churches to do a duty somewhere else. At first I was happy to cooperate and would recommend people promptly. But after a while I realized it was harder to get my work done when good people were being transferred out. I was worried my performance might suffer, and the leader would dismiss me for not getting results in my work, and my status would be in danger. So I wasn’t quite as ready and willing to provide people. Not long after that, I’d noticed that a new believer, Sister Ranna, had good caliber and was eager in her pursuit, reading God’s words and watching church videos, and always asking me questions about practicing the truth and entering its reality. I knew our church needed a watering team leader and I should foster her for that right away, so I provided her with lots of help so she’d understand more truths and be able to take that on. Not only was I watering new believers, but I thought it would look like I was getting results, and people would think I was really capable—it would be a win-win. Then one day a leader told me that another church needed someone for watering, and since Sister Ranna was doing well and was inspiring, she should go take on that duty in the other church. I was really upset when I heard this, thinking that I’d been fostering her to be the watering team leader, and that other church wasn’t the only one in need of people. I felt really resistant to it. A few days later the leader brought up the idea of transferring Sister Ranna again, saying she had good caliber and maybe could be trained for more responsibility. My resistance just grew, and I thought, “You want to take her just like that? If our church’s work continues to suffer, I’ll be dismissed.” So I said, “I was thinking she could stay here and be cultivated for a leadership position.” I knew there were more newcomers in the other church and they had more of a need for watering. I didn’t dare say outright I wouldn’t let her go, but I was full of pent-up anger and felt awful, and I just couldn’t accept it. The leader had transferred two team leaders out of our churches not long before that, so I was constantly filling vacancies and cultivating new people, and most importantly, good candidates were hard to find. If I didn’t get good results, I’d never get a chance to make myself look good. I felt like I just couldn’t do that duty, and I was getting more miserable. I felt so wronged, and I couldn’t hold my tears back. Seeing me like that, the leader fellowshiped with me on God’s will and requirements, but I wasn’t taking any of it in. Later, she said by acting like that, I was impeding the work of the church, but I couldn’t accept that at all. I thought, “But isn’t this out of consideration for our church’s work? If you think I’m standing in the way, you can do it. Just fire me and then I won’t cause any more problems.” I felt bad when I thought about it that way, so I prayed, “God, I just can’t submit to what’s happening now. I feel so wronged. Please guide me so I can understand what’s wrong with me.”

At the time, I reflected on why, when the leader needed to make normal changes, other people were fine with it, but I was the one that had a problem. I just had to fight it. I had so much internal resistance to it, and it wasn’t just once or twice that I acted that way. Why was it so hard for me to submit? Then I remembered this passage from God’s words: “A duty is not managed by you—it is not your own career or your own work; instead, it is God’s work. God’s work requires your cooperation, which gives rise to your duty. The part of God’s work with which man must cooperate is his duty. The duty is a portion of God’s work—it is not your career, not your domestic affairs nor your personal affairs in life. Whether your duty is to deal with external or internal affairs, it is the work of the house of God, it forms one part of God’s management plan, and it is the commission God has given to you. It is not your personal business. So then, how should you treat your duty? At the very least, you must not perform your duty whichever way you please, you must not act recklessly” (“Only by Seeking the Principles of the Truth Can One Perform Their Duty Well” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “Just what is duty? Is it a kind of endeavor? Is it fair to say that once you have been given a duty, this duty becomes your personal business? That is absolutely not the case. Some people say, ‘Once a duty has been given to me, is it not my own business? My duty is my charge, and is what I am charged with not my own business? If I handle my duty as my own business, doesn’t that mean I will do it properly? Would I do it well if I didn’t treat it like my own business?’ Are these words right or wrong? They are wrong; they are at odds with the truth. Duty is not your own personal business, it is part of God’s work, and you must do as God asks; only by performing your duty with a heart of obedience to God can you be up to standard. If you always perform your duty according to your own notions and imaginings, and according to your own inclinations, then you will never meet the standard. Only ever performing your duty as you wish is not performing your duty, because what you are doing is not within the scope of God’s management, it is not the work of the house of God; you are, instead, running your own operation, and this is not commemorated by God” (“Only by Seeking the Principles of the Truth Can One Perform Their Duty Well” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I realized that a duty isn’t a career. It’s not my job. It’s God’s commission, so it should be done according to the requirements of God and His house. I shouldn’t just do whatever I want, based on my personal wishes and plans. It may look like I’m doing a lot of work, but that’s not doing a duty. It’s running my own enterprise, and resisting God. Thinking back, whenever I was asked to provide someone, I was worried that if I let go of the church members of good caliber, our churches wouldn’t get good results, and I could lose my position. I didn’t want to provide people so I could protect my reputation and status. I knew in theory that my duty was given to me by God and it was my responsibility, but in practice, I treated it like my own business, my own job. Since I’d been given that job, I figured it was my business and I had final say. I was willing to help provide people only if it didn’t impact my work, but the moment it did, I absolutely dug my heels in. So when I knew Sister Ranna was going to be transferred, I was disappointed and didn’t want to let her go. I felt incredibly wronged, and even wanted to throw a fit, to stop doing my duty. How was that doing a duty? I was clearly disrupting and hindering the work of God’s house. I wasn’t upholding the interests of God’s house or trying to satisfy God, but was scheming for myself, using my duty as a chance to work for my own reputation and status. I was doing it all for myself. No matter how much work I might do, God would never commemorate that. God gave me that duty and the work was for God’s house. I should cooperate enthusiastically whenever a church needed someone. I couldn’t be so selfish, only thinking of myself.

A leader mentioned in a gathering the next day that it’s the job of church leaders to water brothers and sisters while also cultivating people so that everyone can do a duty that suits them. Hearing that was like waking up from a dream. She was right. Watering brothers and sisters and helping find them the right duty was part of my job. But when God’s house needed someone, though I didn’t dare refuse, I was fighting it in my heart, giving all sorts of excuses not to do it. That’s not doing my duty. I wasn’t even fulfilling my responsibilities in that role, but still felt complacent. I didn’t reflect on myself, instead just stood in the way of the church’s work. Wasn’t I impeding church work, just like that sister had said? I remembered when I first took on the duty, I just wanted to do my part for the gospel work of God’s house. But I’d become an obstacle, a stumbling block. At this I felt some regret and wanted to repent to God.

A few days later, the leader sent a message asking me to transfer a couple of gospel team members to another church. I was totally calm when I saw that message and saw that God was setting this up to give me a chance to practice the truth. But when I was evaluating team members, I did feel some reluctance to part with them, and wondered if I really had to let the two best sisters on the team go, or maybe I could transfer two who weren’t quite as good? At that thought, I realized I was being selfish and making the same mistake again. Then I read a passage of God’s, “The hearts of people who are deceitful and evil brim with their personal ambitions, plans, and schemes. Are these things easy to put aside? (No.) The knack to this is being able to perform your duty well even when you are not able to put them aside. It’s not actually hard: You just have to be able to make a distinction. If something concerns the house of God, and it is of especial importance, then you must not put it off, make mistakes, harm the interests of the house of God, or disturb the work of God’s house. This is the principle you should follow. If the interests of God’s house are not harmed, but your ambitions and desires are somewhat compromised, then you should accept their being compromised, and not offend God’s disposition, which would be a red line. If you foul up the work of God’s house in order to satisfy your pathetic ambitions and vanity, what will be the ultimate consequence for you? You will be replaced, and may be eliminated. You will have earned the wrath of God’s disposition, and may not have any more chances to be saved. There is a limit to the number of chances that God gives people. How many chances do people get to be tested by God? This is determined according to their essence. If you make the most of the opportunities you are given, and are able to put completion of the work of God’s house before your own pride and vanity, then you have the right mindset” (“Only by Seeking the Principles of the Truth Can One Perform Their Duty Well” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). The leader was arranging this because it was needed for the work of God’s house, and I couldn’t hold that up to protect my own name and status. I’d always been worried that if the best team members were transferred out, our churches’ work would suffer and I’d be dismissed. Who would be fired if they uphold the interests of God’s house and care for God’s will? No one. Someone who’s selfish and despicable, who refuses to let go of good team members, impacting the work of God’s house and its interests would be the one to be dismissed and eliminated. And even if I did hold on to those sisters, that doesn’t mean our churches would necessarily do well. My motives were wrong. If I were protecting my own name and position, I wouldn’t gain the work of the Holy Spirit, so how could I get good results in my duty without God’s blessings? These thoughts put my mind at ease and I said to God in my heart, “God, I want to practice the truth and satisfy You, and stop protecting my name and status.” After that, I offered the two gospel team members with the best performance. I felt really at peace once I put this into practice. It felt good to be that way.

After that experience I thought I’d changed a bit, but to my surprise, I was totally laid bare not too long after that. One day a leader said that she wanted me to provide a few more watering team members, because we had quite a few bilingual newcomers in our churches. When I went to screen them, I realized that I’d have to give up nearly everyone who was bilingual and had good caliber. I started to worry about my reputation and position again. If those people left, I was afraid that our churches’ gospel work could definitely be impacted, or maybe even be ineffective. That evening the leader sent me a message checking in on the situation. I felt a lot of resistance. For every name she brought up, I just gave one-word answers: “Yeah,” “Okay.” When she asked for details I didn’t want to say anything. I thought, “I didn’t want to give up these people in the first place, but you keep asking questions. You’re bleeding our churches dry of people who can do a duty. How am I supposed to do my job?” I was really resistant and couldn’t submit.

Then in a gathering later, I saw a video of a recital of God’s words that helped me understand my corruption. Almighty God says, “The essence of the antichrists’ selfishness and vileness is patently clear; this aspect is particularly pronounced. When you fellowship with them, anything that does not concern their status and reputation is of no interest to them, they do not care, and it is as if these things have no connection to them. They would never try to find the truth within and understand God’s will, much less would they look at things from the bigger picture and think about the work of God’s house. Within the scope of the work of God’s house, it is necessary to move around certain people as work demands. For example, a leader is in charge of a group’s work, and it is necessary to transfer a member of the group to another group to perform their duty, this being required by the work of God’s house. So according to normal human sense, how should this be handled? As befits the circumstances, the leader should find a replacement to fill the vacancy. Once a suitable person has been found, the original person should be released and allowed to go where they are needed by the work of God’s house. This is because people are not lone entities, but a part of the house of God. They should go to whichever project of the house of God needs them, unless they are transferred ad libitum, in violation of principle. If it is a normal transferal that is in accordance with principle, no leader has the right to stop it. Would you say there is any work that is not the work of the house of God? Is there any work that does not involve the expansion of God’s management plan? It is all the work of God’s house, each work is equal, and there is no ‘yours’ and ‘mine.’ … The house of God coordinates its personnel centrally, and according to principle. This has nothing to do with any leader, team head, or individual. Everyone must act according to principle; this is the rule of God’s house. And so those who do not follow the principles of the house of God, who always plot and scheme for their own interests and status, are they not selfish and vile? They use the brothers and sisters, they take advantage of these capable people, to work on their behalf, to help to bake in work efficiency, and consolidate their own status. This is what they’re aiming for. Viewed from the outside, if you don’t look closely, this person seems very responsible. The unbelievers would call them an elite, a hotshot, and would say they have great ability and a few tricks up their sleeve, when it comes to retaining talent. This is a source of envy among the unbelievers, it is something people aspire to, it is prized—but the house of God is precisely the opposite: In the house of God, this is condemned. Not thinking of the house of God’s wider work, thinking only of one’s own status, and guaranteeing—with no compunction for the cost to the interests of the house of God and the harm caused to the church’s work—one’s own status: is this not selfish and vile? When faced with such a situation, at the very least you must think with your conscience: ‘These people are all of the house of God, they are not my personal property. I, too, am a member of the house of God. What right do I have to stop the house of God from transferring people? I should consider the overall interests of the house of God, instead of just concentrating on the work of my own group.’ Such are the thoughts that should be found in people who are possessed of conscience and rationality, and the sense that should be possessed by those who believe in God; only then is it possible to obey the arrangements of the house of God. When the evil hold power, they do not possess such conscience and sense, and absolutely would not obey the arrangements of God’s house. What kind of ‘thing’ is this? In the house of God, they are even bold enough to be obstructive, and even dare to dig their heels in; these are the people most lacking in humanity, they are evil people. That is the kind of people the antichrists are. They always treat the work of God’s house, and the brothers and sisters, and even the assets of God’s house—everything under their authority—as their own private property; it is up to them how these things are distributed, transferred, and used. Once they are in their hands, it is as if they are in the possession of Satan, and the house of God is not allowed to interfere, no one is allowed to touch them. In their territory, they’re the big shot, the head honcho, and whoever goes there has to obey their orders and arrangements, and take their cue from them. This is the manifestation of the selfishness and vileness within the antichrist’s character” (“Excursus Four: Summarizing the Character of Antichrists and the Essence of Their Disposition (Part One)” in Exposing Antichrists). God’s words revealed my own state. Wanting to keep brothers and sisters under my control and not hand them over to God’s house was selfish and despicable, and I was showing an antichrist’s disposition. I felt really resistant and unwilling whenever the leader wanted to transfer someone from our churches. I acted out of anger and felt so wronged. I didn’t agree to it until the leader fellowshiped to help me change my thinking and said nice things to me. I was like the head honcho God laid bare, wanting to have say over transfers from the churches I was responsible for. When people were needed, they could go if I said so, otherwise they couldn’t. No one could go without my go-ahead. I was keeping the churches firmly within my control, keeping everything under my command. Christ wasn’t in charge of the churches—I was. It was as if the newcomers who were built up belonged to me. I wanted to use what they achieved in their duty to consolidate my own position. That was shameless! These are God’s churches, and it’s the work of God’s house, but I was acting like the king of the hill, setting up my own kingdom. Wasn’t I on an antichrist’s path opposed to God? It also made me think of clergy in the religious world. They know that The Church of Almighty God bears witness that the Lord has returned and expressed lots of truths, but they’re afraid their congregations will follow Almighty God once they see these truths, and they’ll lose their status, reputation, and living, so they try everything to keep them from the true way. They outright say that the sheep are theirs and won’t let them hear God’s voice and follow Him. They treat believers like their private property, tightly controlling them and fighting God for them. They are the evil servants, the antichrists exposed in the last days. How were my actions any different in their essence from those pastors and elders? I was controlling others to protect my reputation and position. I knew if I didn’t repent, I’d end up damned and punished by God along with the antichrists. God’s chosen people belong to God, not to any human being. Anyone who’s needed for a duty in God’s house can be transferred as needed. I had no right to keep anyone in the churches I was managing. Cultivating people for the work of God’s house was my duty and leaders transferring people is a very normal thing. Asking for my input was out of respect, and it was for smoother cooperation. Even directly transferring someone without my consent would be okay. I had no right, no call to keep people under my control. I knew I couldn’t keep living so selfishly, that God had given me my breath at that very moment, so what was I fighting for? I may not make a great contribution to God’s house, but I shouldn’t interfere, at the least. I had to do more to benefit the work of God’s house.

After that whenever necessary, I happily helped out with transfers and stopped thinking about my own interests. One time, a sister I’d transferred to another church sent me a message, saying they’d gotten so much out of their evangelism training there. I felt happy and ashamed. I was happy to know they’d grown, that they could do their part in spreading the kingdom gospel. I was ashamed because if I’d willingly provided people without standing in the way, they could have been trained earlier and prepare good deeds. I prayed to God, not wanting to live by my corrupt disposition anymore, but to provide good candidates, to do my part for the gospel work and do my duty.

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