12. There Is No Special Treatment in the Church
Liu Xin Liaocheng City, Shandong Province
After following God over these years, I felt I had endured some suffering and paid a certain price, so I gradually started living off my past gains and flaunting my seniority. I thought: I’ve left home for so many years and my family hasn’t heard from me in a long time. Under these circumstances, the church will surely look after me. Even if I don’t perform my work well they won’t send me home. At most they’ll just dismiss me and get me to do some other work. Due to such thinking, I did not have any burden at all in my work. I turned a blind eye to everything, and I even viewed gospel work as an encumbrance, always living in difficulties and excuses. Even though I felt my heart accused and my conscience blamed because I was owing God too much through my perfunctory behavior, and that I would be eliminated sooner or later, I still just drifted along with the mentality of hoping to luck out, dawdling away my days in the church.
God is righteous and holy. In the end, after completely messing up my work through my long-term perfunctory dealings, I was dismissed and sent home for self-reflection. At the time, I was stunned: How could they not show me a little more consideration? After working for so many years, I now have to go home, just like that. But how can I face my family if I return home now? What prospects will I have in the future? … My heart grew extremely chaotic and I became full of misunderstanding and blame toward God. I fell into darkness, struggling in pain.
Amid extreme suffering, I came before God and called out to Him: Oh God, I always thought that after working away from home for all these years and enduring some suffering, the church would not treat me like this. Now I live in darkness, my heart full of misunderstanding and blame toward You. Please have mercy on me again so I can receive Your enlightenment and guidance in the darkness. … After repeatedly praying like this several times, the word of God enlightened me. One day, I saw these words of God: “I will have no sense of pity for those of you who suffer for many years and work hard with nothing to show for it. On the contrary, I treat those who have not met My demands with punishment, not rewards, still less any sympathy. Perhaps you imagine that for being a follower for many years you put in hard work no matter what, so in any case you can get a bowl of rice in God’s house for being a service-doer. I would say the majority of you think this way because you have always up to now pursued the principle of how to take advantage of something and not be taken advantage of. So I am telling you now in all seriousness: I do not care how meritorious your hard work is, how impressive your qualifications, how closely you follow Me, how renowned you are, or how improved your attitude; so long as you have not done what I have demanded, you will never be able to win My praise. … for I cannot bring My enemies and people reeking of evil on the model of Satan into My kingdom, into the next age” (“Transgressions Will Take Man to Hell” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Each word of God revealed His majesty and wrath, stabbing me directly in my fatal spot like a double-edged sword, and thoroughly shattering my dream of “being able to at least make a living in the church no matter what because of the work I put in, even if it’s not meritorious.” At this time, I had no choice but to self-reflect: Even though I left home and have been fulfilling my duty outside over these last few years, appearing on the surface to have paid a bit of a price and suffered a little, I did not feel God’s sorrow at all, and never thought about how to fulfill my duty properly to satisfy God. Instead, I acted perfunctorily in dealing with my work. Particularly during this period, I did not have any burden at all in my gospel work and I didn’t even take the church’s gospel quota seriously, not caring whether I completed it or not and not feeling like I owed God anything. I even treated gospel work as an encumbrance, thinking that if more new people have to come and I can’t find anyone to water them it will be even more troublesome. Consequently, I showed no interest in gospel work and caused it to suffer great loss. As I didn’t pay attention to the work of watering new people, it resulted in some new believers leaving because they had no one to water them. The church arranged for me to find host families and handle some other general affairs, but I was still living in difficulties and excuses, refusing to cooperate with God. Moreover, I was content with my current situation and did not seek progress, becoming depraved to a certain degree and seriously losing the work of the Holy Spirit, and causing various aspects of the church’s work to fall into a mess. … I thought about my behavior: How was this fulfilling my duty? It was simply doing evil! But I actually felt that, even had my work not been meritorious, I had at least put in hard work, and that no matter what, I should at least be able to earn a living in the church. When the church arranged for me to return home to self-reflect, I even felt I had been wronged. I even regarded myself as a contributor of the church, shamelessly making demands of God and flaunting my seniority. I really was too unreasonable, too lacking in common sense! This disposition of mine was too detestable and abhorrent to God! The church is different to society and the world in that God’s righteous disposition is merciless toward anyone. It doesn’t matter how qualified you are, how much suffering you have endured, or how long you have followed Him. If you offend God’s disposition, all that will descend upon you is the wrath and majesty of God. How could a parasite like me who didn’t do his actual job and only lived off the church possibly be the exception before the righteous God? It was only then that I realized that my dismissal and making me self-reflect was precisely God’s righteous judgment of me. It was also the greatest love and salvation God could give to this rebellious son of His. Otherwise, I would be still holding on to the wrong view of “being able to at least make a living in the church no matter what because of the work I put in, even if it’s not meritorious,” asleep in the beautiful dream I weaved for myself, and ultimately perishing in my own imagination.
Oh God! Thank You! Praise You! Even if Your method of saving does not match my conceptions, I now understand Your intentions and see Your care and thought. I am willing to accept Your chastisement and judgment, and through it properly self-reflect and know myself, know Your righteous disposition, and moreover be willing to repent and start afresh to become a new person!