By Kaoshen, Germany
When I was little, my father would often say to me, “My son, our family is not well-off, so if you want anything you have to earn money. When you have money, you have everything!” From then on, my dream was to have a career making big bucks so that my family could live a good life.
Once I’d grown up and left school, I worked as an apprentice in a restaurant and a warehouseman at a chemical plant. Although working tired me out, seeing the money I was earning gradually grow, I thought it was all worth it no matter how hard the work was.
Later on, a relative helped me get a job at a clothing company, and the boss said to me: “As long as you work hard, you will soon be able to buy a car and a house.” Hearing him say this, my morale for work soared and I poured all my thought into my job. But after some time had gone by, I still hadn’t managed to get even one contract. A manager warned me, saying, “It’s not enough in this society to be willing to work hard. You have to cultivate personal relationships!” Hearing such meaningful words from the manager, I fell into deep thought: I’m an introvert and I’m the worst at forming personal relationships. But if I don’t change the way I interact with people and conform to the trend, I won’t make any money. That way, my family and I won’t ever be able to live happily … I battled with this idea for a while, but then so as to make a lot of money, I began to learn from my co-workers about giving presents and cultivating relationships with managers from various companies. I would often take clients out eating and drinking as well, and go to karaoke bars with them. One time, I’d gone out of town to take a client out for dinner and, because I’d drunk so much alcohol, I ended up vomiting a lot when I got back to my hotel. My stomach really hurt, but my heart hurt even more. I thought about how I’d had to change myself in order to make money and that I kept attending all kinds of social activities, licking other people’s boots and having to play a role, and even having to drink alcohol every day which was causing my body harm. After every social function, I felt physically and mentally exhausted. Ah! I remember a work colleague once saying mockingly, “While we’re young, we sell our lives for money, but when we get old, we use the money to buy life!” Thinking of these words, I felt a little sad. But I felt I had to accept it in order to make money so that my family could live a good life!
Two years later, although I’d made some money and had managed to buy both a car and a house, the pressure on me at work was growing with each passing day. I felt more and more oppressed, and when anything unsatisfactory happened, I couldn’t stop myself from losing my temper at my family and venting my emotions on them. Gradually, my relationship with my family was becoming colder and colder, there was no longer any laughter heard in our home and my heart was feeling more and more empty. I felt very pained and confused, but I didn’t know what else I could do except earn money. And so, in this way, I continued bustling and busying myself for money’s sake.
One day in September 2009, it was raining, and my wife and I drove out of town to go to a public bid event. I was driving fast along the highway when suddenly the wheels started to skid. Instinctively, I slammed on the brakes, but because we were going so fast, the front of the car suddenly lifted up and we hit the road barrier. We then immediately swung from the overtaking lane across onto the hard shoulder. The front of the car was crushed flat, and the side of the car was in a ditch about 10 meters deep. Right then, I was so frightened, I didn’t know what to do. I turned and called my wife’s name. After calling to her several times, she finally made some answer. Luckily, we were both unharmed, and we managed to walk away from such a dangerous car accident!
Three days later, I was throwing myself back into my stressful, busy job, but from time to time I would recall that accident, and ask myself: “If I died, what use would it be no matter how much I earned? I now have everything I need, so by rights I should be happy. So why don’t I feel happy at all, but on the contrary I just feel more and more pained? In order to make money, I degrade myself by fawning on company managers all day long and I live without a shred of dignity, and these complicated personal relationships give me a lot of anxiety. I suffer from migraines and I often can’t sleep at night. The doctor says it’s very probable that I will suddenly develop high blood pressure, and to take care of myself I have to take Chinese medicine every day … Can this be the happy life I’ve always wanted? What should I do? Who can save me from this pain?”
In October 2010, my wife and I accepted God’s work of the last days, and I read these words of God: “Is the world really your place of rest? … Can you truly use your fleeting enjoyment to cover up the emptiness in your heart, the emptiness that cannot be concealed?” (“What It Means to Be a Real Person”). “When you are weary and when you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry., the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time. He is keeping watch by your side, waiting for you to turn back around. He is waiting for the day you suddenly recover your memory: when you realize that you came from God, that, at some unknown time you lost your direction, at some unknown time you lost consciousness on the road, and at some unknown time acquired a ‘father’; when you realize, furthermore, that the Almighty has always been keeping watch, waiting there a very, very long time for your return” (“The Sighing of the Almighty”). God’s words gave me a very warm feeling. I was like a tiny boat tossed about on the vast ocean that had finally found a safe harbor. Thinking of the past few years, although I’d made some money and had been living a great material life, yet I hadn’t been happy at all. Every day, I’d kept myself busy with all kinds of social events, flitting back and forth maintaining various complicated personal relationships until I was physically and mentally exhausted and I felt that my life had no goal or direction. Thanks be to God! Just as I was at the lowest point in my life, God showed me mercy and kindness and He brought me before Him. Through reading God’s words, I came to understand that God had always been by my side, watching over me and accompanying me, waiting for me to turn back to Him. Within God’s words, I experienced the warmth of His love and I saw hope for life. Afterward, whenever I had a break, I would quieten myself before God and read His words.
One day, I read these words of God: “Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at ‘institutes of higher learning.’ The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy for living, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God”). “Within these things that people worship—knowledge, status, fame and gain, wealth, power—which of them does God like? Which of them are positive things? Which of them conform to the truth? None of them! But these things exist in everyone and are liked by everyone. From interpersonal relationships and from their attitudes to others it can be seen that people attach great importance to status, power and wealth” (“The Elements of Faithlessness Within Man and Man’s Nature That Betrays God”). From God’s words, I understood that the reason I lived in such pain was all because of Satan’s corruption and because I had been poisoned by Satan. Since I was little, being influenced and nurtured by my family, I had taken the satanic life axioms of “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” “Money is first,” “You can only be happy with money,” and so on and accepted them into my heart. I had greatly advocated money and believed that I could only be happy if I had money, and I had hoped to one day become a rich man. Therefore, after I entered society, my heart had been filled with money and I had been willing to suffer anything so long as I could make money, so much so that I had followed evil trends and not stinted at abandoning my dignity and sucking up to clients. I had used means such as entertaining people and giving gifts to maintain personal relationships and had taken them out eating and drinking, and I had had to drink alcohol until I couldn’t stand up anymore. I had flitted back and forth from various places of entertainment and I hadn’t even had any time to spend with my family. Instead, I’d lost my temper with them because I was under so much pressure, until my relationship with my own family had become estranged. And yet I still always worried about not having properly maintained some relationship with clients and so would often lose sleep over it, and I developed all kinds of illnesses, and it got to the point where I had been in such a hurry to attend that public bid event that I had a car accident and almost lost my life. I had blindly advocated and pursued wealth and had ruined my body through exhaustion and lost all dignity for the sake of money. I had become a slave to money, and yet I never thought that all I’d get in return would be an exhausted body and a heart in such pain! Only then did I see clearly that the satanic life axioms I had always clung to were wrong and evil, and all they could do was to make me increasingly selfish and deceitful. I had been living with the face of Satan, and God hated and detested it.
Then I read these words of God: “The source of life comes from God, for all created beings…. Without the care, keeping, and provision of God, man cannot receive all that he was meant to receive, no matter how diligently he tries or how arduously he struggles. Without the supply of life from God, man loses the sense of value in living and the sense of the meaning of life” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). From God’s words, I understood that God is the Creator, and everything we need to live and everything we need in our lives is inextricably linked to God’s provision. Only when we come before God to worship Him, when we pursue in accordance with His requirements and we have His care and protection can our hearts be joyful, at ease and at peace, and only then can our lives have value. If we live by Satan’s philosophies and axioms and we have no place for God in our hearts, then even though we may gain money and material enjoyment through struggling and striving, we will still feel unbearable pain because our hearts are empty, and we have no direction in life. Like me who, although I made some money over these past few years and on the surface I looked to be living a very comfortable and happy life, yet because I was living by Satan’s poisons, I was physically and mentally exhausted every day, and no material enjoyment or physical comfort could replace the emptiness and pain in the deepest recesses of my heart. I was like a prisoner shackled with chains made of gold. Only now did I understand that my emptiness and pain were because I had no place for God in my heart, I had been without the guidance and provision of God’s words, I had blindly lived by Satan’s fallacious ideologies, and because I had advocated money and been controlled and manipulated by Satan. I then read these words spoken by the Lord Jesus: “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26). Yes indeed, the fowls of the air live freely by relying on what God prepares for them, and this is even more true for us humans. God prepares everything for us in such abundance, and I believed that God had arranged everything perfectly for how my life would be. How much I earned every day was ruled and predestined by God, and I realized that I must no longer live by Satan’s poisons like I had before. I wished to place my job and my life into God’s hands and submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. With this understanding, my heart felt much more relaxed.
Not long after, a company gave me a call and said they wanted to order a batch of clothes and they wanted to meet me to discuss it. When I heard this, I thought to myself: It used to be that I would only be able to get clients if I invited them out and gave them gifts and took them out drinking. Now, clients are taking the initiative to seek me out. I never thought this would happen! But then I thought: Although this client has sought me out to meet with me, they won’t necessarily sign a contract with me! Should I take them out drinking and give them gifts? This is a big order, and if I lose it, I’ll lose out on a lot of money! But then I thought about it again: God holds sovereignty over all things, and whether or not they will sign a contract for this order is up to God. I cannot be like I was, inviting people out and giving gifts in order to earn money. I can only have normal interaction with clients, and with everything else nature will take its course. As I thought this, my heart felt like it had a direction, and it felt much more at ease.
After I met with the client, I calmly introduced the client to my company’s situation and interacted with them very naturally. I did not act like I had in the past when it came time to sign the contract, always so obsequious and groveling. In the end, the client agreed to sign a contract with me and promised to pay 30 percent of the fee up front—this was much more than I’d expected! In this industry, it is very hard to get a contract without taking clients out drinking and giving gifts. I never expected that I’d be successful at getting this contract, and it really was God’s blessing! From this experience, I became even more convinced that God had the final say on how much people could earn, and I became even more determined to live by God’s words, and no longer follow evil trends, suck up to clients and be fettered and harmed by Satan for money’s sake.
Before, I used to busy myself with social engagements all day long, going in and out of places of entertainment such as bars, karaoke bars and dance clubs. Now, I don’t go to any of those places. The Bible says, “A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3). These places are filled with lust, temptation, bargaining and carnal desires, and they are places where Satan seduces and corrupts people; I was no longer willing to follow evil trends, sink into temptation and shun God for the sake of earning money. When I focused my attention on quietening my heart before God, reading His words and contemplating the truth, and I focused on seeking the truth and practicing the truth in the things I encountered, without being aware of it I was no longer losing sleep because of worry, my migraines improved a great deal and my mood lifted. My family and friends all said: “You’re like a different man now. There is such a marked difference in the way you speak and bear yourself to how you were before.” Hearing this, I gave sincere thanks to God. My changing in this way was the result achieved on me by the words of God!
Later on, I preached the gospel to my parents and, after a time of seeking and investigating, they happily accepted God’s work of the last days. Now, whenever we have time, we attend meetings together as a family and we discuss our understanding and knowledge of God’s words. When things happen to us, we are always able to be open about it and seek the truth to resolve our problems. My home is filled with the sound of laughter and happy voices, and we get along better and are happier than ever before.
This is my experience. Although it is filled with pain and sadness, in the end I obtained peace and joy. I have truly come to appreciate that having money is not real happiness. Money cannot solve the worry, pain and emptiness in our hearts, much less can it buy peace or joy. The most precious thing in life is not money or any material thing. Rather it is that we are able to come before God and accept His salvation, pursue the truth, and act in accordance with His words in all things, to experience the situations we encounter every day by relying on God’s words, to rely on God as we face all the various difficulties in our jobs and to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Only by living in this way can we obtain liberation and freedom, be at ease and at peace, and only this is a genuine blessing! That I was able to go from someone who rushed about all day to make money to a Christian who now feels indifferent to fame and fortune, my heart is filled with gratitude to God, and I know that this change was entirely due to God’s words. Thanks be to God!