A Trader’s Regret

By Xingwu

I once heard a thought-provoking story:

A trader walked through a vast desert with many gold coins, food and water. However, the blistering heat of the desert was unbearable for him. He must lighten the load so as to walk out of the desert as soon as possible. He was hesitant to make a choice among the coins, food and water. Because he was too loath to throw a single coin away, he discarded most of the food and water, and then he was on his way again.

He had not walked far when there was little food and water left. Just then, he saw a camel caravan was coming towards him. He hurriedly went forward seeking for help. Unexpectedly, the caravan asked him for a large sum of gold coins in exchange for food and water. The trader, hungry and thirsty, touched his money bag, and then he gritted his teeth and decided not to buy any food and water. The members of the caravan all advised him to think about what is the most important thing for him. Yet he ignored their advice and resumed his journey.

The following day, the trader trudged to the edge of the desert. Nevertheless, he had already been exhausted. Eventually, he toppled down. Before he died, he sighed: “If I had given up my gold coins earlier, I would not be dying now.”

At this point of the story, many of us may feel sorry for the trader’s greed and ignorance. However, we might as well put ourselves in his shoes and reflect upon ourselves, or pay attention to the people around us. Are we not the same as him most of the time? Being beguiled by Satan, so many people bustle about struggling for fame and fortune with every effort all their lives. Not content with living comfortably, some people try their best to obtain better material enjoyments throughout their lives and are unwilling to give up their pursuit even when they are full of illnesses. Not satisfied with being rich only, some fight for status to stand out and be distinguished. Some spend their lifetime striving for fame and profit, and when they fall ill lying in bed they still worry about their gains and losses. Tempted by fame and fortune, people expose various follies, which forces us to reflect: Does man live only for fame and fortune? What exactly is the value of our existence?

God says: “People spend their lives chasing after money and fame; they clutch at these straws, thinking they are their only means of support, as if by having them they could keep on living, could exempt themselves from death. But only when they are close to dying do they realize how distant these things are from them, how weak they are in the face of death, how easily they shatter, how lonely and helpless they are, with nowhere to turn. They realize that life cannot be bought with money or fame, that no matter how wealthy a person is, no matter how lofty his or her position is, all people are equally poor and inconsequential in the face of death. They realize that money cannot buy life, that fame cannot erase death, that neither money nor fame can lengthen a person’s life by a single minute, a single second.” “The Creator treats everyone fairly, giving everyone a lifetime’s worth of opportunities to experience and know His sovereignty, yet it is only when death draws near, when the specter of death hangs over one, that one begins to see the light—and then it is too late.

God’s words warn every one of us that fame and money cannot bring us life because they are the tools used by Satan to deceive and harm us. If we become obsessed with them, we will only stray further and further from God. Without God’s care and protection, we will be fooled by Satan like a plaything in its hands, blinded by fame and fortune and incapable of distinguishing between good and evil. We spend a lifetime’s worth of energy pursuing fame and gain. What’s more, when faced with the threats of disaster, disease, and death, we still think how to preserve our hard-earned money and fame, just like the trader in the desert. He does not awaken until the last minute of his lives. But it is too late to regret then. In fact, we are created by God personally, so our life and fate are controlled by God’s hands. God’s will is for us to worship Him, obey His sovereignty and arrangement, and commit everything to Him, so that God will protect us from Satan’s test. Only by living before God and obtaining the truth as life can we live out a most meaningful life.

During the last days, God bestows upon us all the truth of pursuing salvation and gaining eternal life. If we are able to not be restrained by fame, money and position and come before God to receive His salvation, we will obtain God’s guidance and blessings and live out the value a created being is supposed to. Because God says: “If one views life as an opportunity to experience the Creator’s sovereignty and come to know His authority, if one sees one’s life as a rare chance to perform one’s duty as a created human being and to fulfill one’s mission, then one will necessarily have the correct outlook on life, will live a life blessed and guided by the Creator, will walk in the light of the Creator, know the Creator’s sovereignty, come under His dominion, become a witness to His miraculous deeds and to His authority.

 

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