By Ji En
I was born into an impoverished rural family in the remote mountain area. And the highway stretching across my village was not opened until I was over ten years old. At that moment, a villager bought a car, causing ripples throughout the entire village, which made me envious. When he drove back to the village, all the adults and children came early to the entrance to the village to welcome the famous man. Of course I was not an exception. After waiting for a long time, everyone cheered loudly as he appeared, which impressed me deeply. I thought: If it were me that was admired by everyone! And then wouldn’t I be able to gain family prestige? Hence, I developed a secret ambition: When I grow up, I will make a lot of money and drive home. Just at that time, I thought having money and fame was happiness.
Thereupon, with the dream of making a lot of money and standing out, I, 17 years old, came to the metropolis Shanghai. Everything came to me who waited. After struggling for over ten years, I had my own company, car and house, realizing my dream. Unexpectedly, instead of bringing joy and happiness, money added much more troubles and pain to me, which made my life extremely tiresome.
All bosses had difficulties in collecting bills and managing employees, and had to deal with various government departments, including administration departments for industry and commerce, the tax authorities, and so on. And so did I. For example, the so-called quality test conducted by the authorities on March 15th (every March 15, China celebrates Consumer Rights Day), was merely the following of procedure. As their true aim was to ask merchants for hush money. And those who couldn’t satisfy them would have no peace. In the first year, due to my not giving them money, I was still fined over 3,000 yuan though I bought off someone to beg me off. And it was light because their exact demand went far beyond this, which might be up to ten of thousands. In order to grease the wheels, I had to entertain them and give them gifts during Chinese New Year and other holidays; each time I even had to risk my life to drink more to accompany them. But my own capacity was pretty limited. So I had to take an opportunity to go to the rest room and force myself to vomit by sticking a finger down the throat, and then went back to continue drinking. In this way, I drank and then I spat it out; I spat it out and then I drank. Even if I drank so much that I needed to be given drips, I still had to drag myself to continue. This was my boss life. They having dined and wined to satiety, I also had to accompany them to KTV to pick up prostitutes for them, spending over several thousand or tens of thousands of yuan one night. Of course, drinking was unavoidable there. After that, there were late-night snacks and drinking again. As a result, I almost had no supper every day and my stomach was ruined by drinking in my early days. When I went to see a doctor, he said, “You can’t drink any more, or you will get cirrhosis of the liver.” Yet I had no choice but to risk my life. So I didn’t go to see the doctor any more for I didn’t wish to face his puzzled look.
Because I was very devoted to the business, only knowing to give my family money, while I paid no attention to them, not performing my duty as a husband and father, nor having communication with them, my family was not harmonious at all. My wife often complained about my ignoring family. And we often had arguments and complaints for trifles. Also my two children treated me like a stranger. Every time I tried to embrace my daughter, she would refuse me; even as I tried to hold her while sleeping, she would push me away on recognizing my hands. Sometimes, having no socializing so seldom, I wanted to accompany my children and take them on outings. Yet they all refused me no matter how good the food with which I coaxed them was. Even if we went to the park, I couldn’t be released and had no intention to have fun, with my two phones ringing incessantly. Looking at my state, my wife said to me resignedly, “Your heart isn’t here. Just go to the company!” Seeing that my family distanced me though I had a lot of money, I was really cut up, feeling as if I in my home was a fifth wheel on a wagon. I thought: Am I really wrong in risking my life to make money like this? Why is what I gain my family’s coolness toward me? I felt so sad and couldn’t help asking myself: Am I wrong in making money? Am I wrong in making my family live a better life? Is this the life I have longed for day and night? Especially when I found my friends still were unhappy and always cried to the sky, no matter how much money they had, I was puzzled: What exactly do we live for? What kind of life is happiness? Without the answer, I had to choice but to continue to live like the walking dead.
Later, my wife accepted God’s work in the last days. And then she invited brothers and sisters to fellowship with me. After understanding my situation, a sister read a passage ofto me, “So Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts until all they can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision to both maintain and obtain fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds man with invisible shackles. These shackles are borne on people’s bodies, and they have not the strength nor courage to throw them off. So people trudge ever onward in great difficulty, unknowingly bearing these shackles. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind becomes estranged from God and betrays Him. With each passing generation, mankind becomes more and more wicked, more and more darkened, and so in this way one generation after another is destroyed in the fame and gain of Satan. Looking now at Satan’s actions, what exactly are its sinister motives? It’s clear now, isn’t it? Is Satan not abominable? (Yes!) Maybe today you still cannot see through Satan’s sinister motives because you think that there is no life without fame and gain. You think that, if people leave fame and gain behind, then they will no longer be able to see the way ahead, no longer be able to see their goals, their future becomes dark, dim and gloomy. But, slowly, you will all one day recognize that fame and gain are monstrous shackles that Satan uses to bind man. Until the day you come to recognize this, you will thoroughly resist Satan’s control and thoroughly resist the shackles Satan brings to bind you. When the time comes for you to wish to throw off all the things Satan has instilled in you, you will then make a clean break with Satan and will also truly loathe all that Satan has brought to you. Only then will you have a real love and yearning for God; only then can you walk the right road of life in pursuit of the truth” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”). Listening to these words, I thought they were reasonable. Touched by them, I felt I was so miserable after having fame and gain, as if I really bore shackles. After reading these words, instead of fellowshiping directly with me, the sister asked me a question, “Brother, you are a boss having fame and gain. Could you talk about your thoughts and feelings now?” I sighed, “In order to be a boss and live a happy life of superiors, I went out to struggle when I was 17 years old. And I took the hard step one after another till now. It can be said that I have suffered terribly, paid a large price, and even flattered and fawned, losing my integrity and dignity. Now I have money, fame and position, while, to be honest, I struggle in my heart and I am in pain, and I can’t be comforted with these respectable appearances. What are esteemed by people, such as ‘Money makes the world go round,’ ‘Losers are always in the wrong,’ ‘The survival of the fittest,’ make me more and more degenerate. To receive the fame and gain, I make money by despicable means. Also I have to socialize against my will, and speak in fakery phrases. In fact, I am clear that the so-called friends in the business world are false. We call brothers each other against our will while we fight both openly and in secret each other like dogs. And When I collect bills from clients, I have to act just like their grandson, fearing that I would offend them, lose these customers and then be out of business if my words were too solemn. And I don’t mind telling you-you can laugh at me if you like-How many times I shed tears alone in secret. How many times I wanted to rush to the place to shout where there is no one, for I had too much misery but there is no one I could pour out to. I deeply feel that seeking money and status makes me so tired and oppressed. Before, I thought that my pursuit was very proper: Only seeking prominence and honor was the true human life. As a man, as long as I was successful, I would be happy. If I couldn’t make a lot of money, I would be looked down upon by others, then how suppressed I would be! Not until hearing the words you read just now do I understand that seeking fame and gain is the means Satan uses to harm and bind people; my previous pursuit is led by the thoughts Satan has instilled in me. No wonder I have never felt released but been living in such pain!” When I talked about my thoughts, brothers and sisters didn’t laugh at me at all, but even some of them appeared to be very close to tears, which moved me a lot. I felt that they were full of love. And speaking the inner words to them made me released so much. I eventually found the place that I could vent my feelings.
Hearing my talking, the sister said to me excitedly, “Thank God! Brother, what you said is true. All of these are the facts that we are fooled and harmed by Satan. Before I believed in God, I sought the fame and gain, and was bound by Satan too. That kind of life was too miserable! If we didn’t come before God, or read God’s revelatory word, we would continue to be fooled and harmed by it and wouldn’t wake up. Because we have no truth and can’t distinguish things, which can only lead us into the miserable life with Satan’s invisible shackles. God doesn’t want to see the man He created on His own harmed by Satan, so He brings us into His home. Through the judgment of God’s word, we can know the fact that we are corrupted, recognize our corrupted substance, and differentiate Satan’s harm to us. Only in this way, can we throw off Satan’s shackles and control, return to God, and realize that only God is the source of our life and only God can supply and lead us. When we experience God’s work and understand His kind intention to save us, we will determine to seek truth, be willing to walk on the right way of human life, and live out a meaningful life.” The gathering time went by in the blink of an eye. Before I had stopped enjoying the gathering, it was over. They had to leave for it was too late. After gathering, I was full of moving, peace and joy. It seemed as if I had come back to the home that belongs to me, as if my heart had had the haven to rest, and as if I had found the long-awaited happiness. I couldn’t describe the wonderful feelings in words. At the same time, I understood that my spiritual suffering couldn’t be relieved by money and status.
From then, I longed for reading and fellowshiping God’s word with brothers and sisters in gatherings. Because here was no falseness, only honesty. I felt we were one true household. Brothers and sisters were not concerned about eating and dressing, but their lives were free and liberated, which couldn’t be bought with money. I admired them so much. Through reading God’s word and fellowshiping in gathering, I was more and more certain about God and understood some truths gradually. Afterward, I knew that the reason why brothers and sisters lived so freely was that they practiced truth and lived by God’s word, not by Satan’s poison or corrupt disposition, and they knew how to live a meaningful life. So I established a resolution in my heart: I will pursue the truth and live a meaningful life. Just then, I felt that I was so lucky. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that I would follow the one true God who dominates all. Though I had believed in God for only four months, I was able to live like a man in this period of time, and my heart and spirit were gradually revived.
At present, I live with particular freedom and relief. As for the business, I just allow nature to take its course, not risking my life to struggle for it any more. Also, I consciously spend more time accompanying my family. Gradually I get along well with my wife and children, which is more than I could have hoped for. Once, my daughter hugged me and said, “My daddy now is so good!” Then I kidded her, “If daddy accompanies you every day, I will have no money to get goodies for you.” Hesitating for a moment, she said, “Then I also want daddy now. I don’t want goodies. The daddy was bad before.” The answer of 7-year-old daughter made me feel embarrassed and I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. I thought: If it weren’t for God’s salvation of me, I would still live under the domain of Satan, become more and more degenerate, and feel empty and painful, having no human likeness. Now, my family life is happy. We pray and gather together. When a problem comes along, we fellowship God’s word together. And I don’t force them with the status of father. We are joyous. I deeply understand that all my happiness is from God’s salvation. It is watering and feeding of His word that allows me to find my life direction, walk on the right path of life, so I can break away from the dark and painful life.
Thinking of these, I couldn’t help praying to God, “Almighty God, thanks for Your salvation to me sincerely. I can’t express my feelings in words at the time. I would like to preach theto testify You, like other brothers and sisters, and bring the good persons besides me before You and accept Your salvation. But I understand too little about truth. Later, I am going to read more of Your word and perform my duty soon to comfort You!”