By Su Meng, China
As the saying goes, “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing.” Countless people struggle hard for money and live according to this saying all their lives. They are just like a machine that operates at full speed and keeps running unceasingly until it breaks. From ancient times to the present, one generation after the other, wave upon wave of them have chased wealth in this way.
I couldn’t help but think about the life of my father-in-law. In his childhood, his family was very poor, so all his neighbors looked down on him and also spoke to him very sarcastically. In order to stand up for himself and not let others look down their noses at him, after getting married he became very hard-working and diligent. No matter how arduous and tiring the work was, he would do it, and he would also risk his life and accept dangerous work. Later, through his hard work, he earned some money and held a grand wedding for each of his three sons. From then on, everyone in the village gave him the thumbs-up. He said, “It’s great to have money. After having it, I can stand up for myself, and the neighbors also say hello to me. This is so wonderful.” Money had taken over his heart, and he accepted the maxims: “Money makes the world go round,” and “Without money one is unable to take a single step forward” even more. The three sons of my father-in-law all established their own households and started their own careers, and they were all very filial. My in-laws were thus not worried about food or clothing, and moreover, they had savings of more than 100,000 RMB. However, my father-in-law was not at all satisfied with his current circumstances. He was more than sixty years old but still worked as hard as he could to earn money, and he didn’t even take leave from work when he felt unwell. We all tried to persuade him to do so, but he said, “I must save more money. Then when I get older and fall ill, I won’t be afraid. As long as I have money, I will have something to rely on.”
Some time ago, he was in poor condition, so his sons and daughters all asked him to go to the hospital for an examination, but he was stubborn and kept putting off going to see the doctor. I couldn’t help trying to persuade him, “Is money more important than life?” He answered, “Money is a good thing. Money means everything. It isn’t okay to not have money.” A few days later, he really couldn’t stand the pain in his chest, and only then did he go to hospital for an examination. The results showed that he had terminal lung cancer. On hearing the news, I stood there for a long time and felt extremely sad and awful. I thought: “The day before, he firmly said that he would still carry on earning money. However, today, what does he feel like in his heart when he thinks about the diagnosis? Seeing that life is so fragile and that my father-in-law could die at any moment, my heart felt stirred, and I thought to myself, “My father-in-law has struggled to make money. However, no matter how much he has earned, it can’t save his life. Then, what is the point of his money? Money seems like nothing and utterly worthless when one is faced with a terminal disease.”
Seeing how he was stooped over and how gaunt his face was, I couldn’t help but think back to my past. I was just like my father-in-law. I struggled to make money for decades but eventually was left with many sicknesses …
When I had just gotten married, my family’s standard of living was alright but I was not satisfied with it. Every time I saw relatives and friends around me wearing famous brands and living well in the city, I couldn’t help but feel envious. I thought: “One day, I will live as luxurious a life as they do.” In order to realize this dream, my husband and I started to rush about for work. At that time I went to the town to work, and I needed to ride over twenty kilometers each round trip. Whether it was in the hot summer or the cold winter, I received the perfect attendance award every month. There was piece work system in my factory, and it meant that the more you worked, the more you earned. In order to earn more money, I even worked at meal times; I worked more than ten hours a day. Due to irregular meals over a long period of time, I lost more than 10kg of weight at that time. Later, after being examined, I found that I had gastroenteritis and thus I needed to go on an IV drip every day. However, in order to get the perfect attendance award, I still kept working in spite of the illness. Eventually, I realized my dream: I bought a house in the city. Every time when I returned to my village from the city, the villagers all looked at me with envy and praised me, saying, “The daughter-in-law of the Liu family is really capable. She and her husband have only been married a few years, but they have already bought a house in the city.” On hearing this, I felt elated and believed that having plenty of money is indeed a good thing; after getting it, I not only could eat well, dress well and enjoy myself, but also could earn other people’s admiration. Therefore, no matter how arduous or tiring the work was, it was worth it.
After buying the house, in order to earn more money to pay off our mortgage, my husband and I put down nearly 100,000 yuan to start a business. At first, I was afraid that we could not make more money by doing business, so I found a job in a supermarket. After work, I would help my husband in our store. I also needed to get up early in the morning to do odd jobs around the house before work, and stay up late to continue doing them. I worked continually, just like a robot, every day from morning to evening. Through our hard work, we had a good reputation and material enjoyments, but as a result of the excessive work for a long time, I got headaches, lower back pain and cervical spondylosis. Suffering the tortures of illness, I often couldn’t sleep at night.
Thinking of the road my father-in-law and I had walked, I realized that we all regarded such satanic viewpoints as, “Money is first,” “Money makes the world go round,” and “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” as our life goals and principles of survival. In order to earn money, whether the work was tiring or dangerous my father-in-law would do it. Even after he had gotten ill, he still didn’t go to the hospital for treatment. Eventually, he lost his life because of money. And in a way, so did I. For the sake of making more money, I even worked at meal times; when I was ill and went on an IV drip every day, I still kept working. Both my father-in-law and I treated ourselves like money-making machines that keep running unceasingly day and night. Even though we got material enjoyments, we endured the tortures of illness and my father-in-law even paid with his life. Only after experiencing these things did I understand: Living by Satan’s poisons, we can only become more and more degenerate, more and more miserable and more and more greedy. Eventually we will head toward destruction.
Later, I read some of God’s words that say, “Those who die take with them the stories of the living, and those who are living repeat the same tragic history of those who have died.” God’s words made me awaken to the truth: Weren’t my father-in-law and I in the same mold as many people? My father-in-law was of the older generation and sought fortune and fame all his life, but eventually he fell ill and died; I am of the younger generation and also sought fortune and fame, repeating the same story as the elder generation. Wasn’t everyone in this world, including my father-in-law and I fooled and afflicted by these satanic viewpoints, “Money is first,” “Money makes the world go round,” and “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing?” At that moment, I thought about how not to repeat the same tragedies of those who have died.
Later, I read another passage of God’s words, “There is a simplest way to free oneself from this state: to bid farewell to one’s former way of living, to say goodbye to one’s previous goals in life, to summarize and analyze one’s previous lifestyle, philosophy, pursuits, desires, and ideals, and then to compare them withand demands for man, and see whether any of them is consistent with God’s will and demands, whether any of them delivers the right values of life, leads one to a greater understanding of the truth, and allows one to live with humanity and human likeness. When you repeatedly investigate and carefully dissect the various goals of life that people pursue and their various different ways of living, you will find that not one of them fits the Creator’s original intention when He created humanity. All of them draw people away from the Creator’s sovereignty and care; they are all pits into which humanity falls, and which lead them to hell. After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God.”
God’s words made me understand: Only when we turn away from our own mistaken viewpoints of the past, and no longer regard the satanic viewpoints—such as “Happiness is having money,” “Money means everything,” and “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing”— as our own principles of survival, but instead, come before God, pursue the truth, accept and obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements and act in accordance with God’s words, can we escape from Satan’s harm and live under the care and protection of God. Thinking how my father-in-law sought after fortune and fame all his life but in the end obtained nothing, I was thankful that I’d accepted God’s work in the last days in my lifetime and found the correct path in life, thus avoiding the same tragedy as my father-in-law. In the past, I sought wealth, which made me exhausted mentally and physically and I had a very painful and tiring life; now, I am willing to entrust myself completely to God, let Him dominate and plan everything, and pursue to live out a meaningful life.