Only by Putting Aside Fame and Fortune Can We Live a Truly Meaningful Life
By Zihan, United States
Sitting before my father’s sickbed and watching him with tubes all over his body, I felt heartbroken: Yesterday he could still walk, but now he just lies in the bed awaiting death. At the moment, every scene during the time I spent with my father came into my mind with great clarity.
In my childhood, my father seldom had meals with us, much less did he play with me. To give us a better life, rise above others and bring honor to our ancestors, my father had always been bustling around day and night, participating in various social events and negotiating business. Due to his hard work, we bought an apartment over 100 square meters in the city, and a car worth more than 300,000 yuan, and also had our own store. However, my father was not content with this. He desired to make more money and become a wealthy man admired by others. So he worked even harder. Later, because of great stress and irregular diet, coupled with frequent drinking with his clients, he got hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia as well as severe diabetes. My mother and I had extorted him not to exert himself to the utmost for money, yet he just ignored our words, and continued to rush around making investments as before.
Later on, my father made the acquaintance of a soldier who offered to open up oil fields with him. For the sake of making big money, my father used our house as collateral to borrow 500,000 yuan from the bank. Unexpectedly, not long after, the soldier was arrested and sentenced to prison for some reason. The 500,000 yuan that my father had invested was just thrown away. But my father was unwilling to admit defeat, and he went to Sichuan Province to invest in the market gardening business. Later, however, a sudden storm destroyed all the vegetables in the greenhouses and my father lost everything he had built up. Even so, my father still refused to give up and he then cooperated with others to invest in strawberry gardening, ending up being tricked out of over 1,000,000 yuan. These failures cost my father all the money he had earned and he was even heavily in debt. Undergoing long-term pressure, my father, who was weary in body and mind, looked much older, and his health was even worse, yet he was still unwilling to turn back.
The day before the Spring Festival, my father had an accident on his way home from collecting debts, which left his three ribs broken. The doctor said that having a surgery would weaken his vitality and advised him to stay at home and recuperate for three months before his ribs completely healed. But my father thought it would impede him making money, and thus insisted on having a surgery. However, the surgery ended in failure and my father was pushed into the intensive care unit. Although he was finally saved from the verge of death, he became a human vegetable.
In my memory, my father, in order to make big money and live a better life than others, had been rushing about madly all day. However, after undergoing many ups and downs for most of his life, now all he could do was lie in the sickbed waiting for death. My father’s experience made me feel a burst of desolation. Thinking that my friends, my husband, and even I myself were all walking on the same path as my father, I could not help but ask myself: What exactly do we live for?
Later, I told God about my confusion, and also opened up to my brothers and sisters at the meeting. They fellowshiped with me a passage of God’s words which says, “Any great or famous person, all people in fact, anything they follow in life relates only to these two words: ‘fame’ and ‘gain.’ Is this not so? (Yes.) People think that once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them to enjoy high status and great wealth, and to enjoy life. Once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them in their pleasure-seeking and unscrupulous enjoyment of the flesh. People willingly, albeit unknowingly, take their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies and hand them all over to Satan in order to attain the fame and gain they desire. People do this without ever a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover it all. Can people still have any control over themselves once they go over to the side of Satan in this way and become loyal to it? Certainly not. They are completely and utterly controlled by Satan. They are also completely and utterly unable to free themselves from the quagmire they have sunk down into. Once someone is mired in fame and gain, they no longer seek that which is bright, that which is righteous or those things that are beautiful and good. This is because the seductive power that fame and gain have over people is too great, and they become things for people to pursue throughout their lives and even for all eternity without end. Is this not true?”
After reading God’s words, I suddenly awakened to the truth. In fact, all people, including the famous and great ones, are all chasing after fame and gain, and live for them throughout their lives. We all believe: If we have fame and gain, we will obtain the high regard of others, win others’ respect, and become the focus of public attention; if we have fame and gain, we will be able to lead a happy life; if we have fame and gain, we will have everything, and our life will be meaningful and valuable. Therefore, we see fame and gain as our goal of pursuit in life, pour our lifelong efforts into pursuing them, and even sacrifice our lives for them. Little do we know that they are actually the invisible shackles that Satan uses to bind us as well as the means by which Satan harms us. Satan instills in us these rules of survival such as “Stand out and stand above others,” and “No pain, no gain,” making us consider fame and gain as something we should pursue in our lives. In this way, our hearts are possessed and controlled by Satan, and we unknowingly become the slaves of fame and gain.
Look at my father: For the sake of fame and gain, he racked his brains to make money. To get support from those high officials, he often entertained them, sent gifts to them and flattered them. As a consequence, not only did he lose his personality and dignity, but he also broke down from overwork and came down with diabetes. My father hoped that he could rely on those high officials to become rich, only to be cheated out of a lot of money. He struggled against with his fate time and again, and failed time and again, yet he was still unwilling to stop. Even after he had an accident, he still didn’t care about his health. Fearing that it might impede his making money, he refused to recuperate at home and insisted on having a surgery. In the end, the surgery failed and he became a human vegetable who could do nothing but lie in bed awaiting death. The misery my father encountered made me see clearly how sinister Satan was in using money and fame to afflict man, and how pathetic our ends would be if we desperately pursued fame and gain. Even if we own these things, they cannot bring us real peace and happiness, even less change our destiny. Just as God’s words say, “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.”
My mother and I had preached theto my father many times, asking him to and worship God, but he just didn’t take our advice. He thought belief in God would take up his time and interfere with his making money, and he desired to make a go of a career when he was still young. As my father did not believe in God or come before God, he missed the opportunity of being saved by God. So what should I do to avoid walking the wrong path walked by my father? How could I throw off the shackles of fame and gain to live a more meaningful life? I saw God’s words saying, “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 with and 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.”
From these words of God I understood: If we want to escape from the affliction and bondage of fame and gain, we must lay aside our previous incorrect view of life, and no longer live by those satanic viewpoints such as “Stand out and stand above others,” and “No pain, no gain.” We should come before God and accept the leadership of God’s words, pursue the truth, entrust everything we have to God’s hands, and submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. When we have a correct view of life, live for pursuing the truth and obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, we will be able to live in the care and keeping of God and pass this life happily and peacefully. Take Job for an example: He possessed great wealth and was the greatest of all the men of the east, but he did not value fame and gain or covet the pleasure of flesh; he had a proper pursuit in his heart—fearing God and shunning evil. Knowing that how much wealth one had in life was predestined by God, he put his whole life in God’s hands, obeying His leadership and His orchestrations and arrangements. Job did not worry about gaining or losing money and fame, so Satan failed to use them to make him stray from God and betray God. He pursued the truth and pursued to know God, and walked the way of fearing God and shunning evil. Therefore, he received God’s approval and blessings.
After understanding God’s will and seeing through the evil and baseness of Satan’s corrupting man, I felt the pain in my heart gradually lessened, and I also came to know how to walk the path in the future, feeling liberated in my heart.
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