Do you know how to listen to God’s voice and welcome the Lord?
After a tempest blew over, the air was so pure. Lianxin was sitting by the window of the light spacious bedroom reading God’s word, with a happy smile on her lips. She knew it was due to God’s love and salvation for her that she, who once struggled to make money and fell ill from constant overwork, could rid herself of the life of working desperately hard for money and thus live healthily and in the light.
It was a gloomy and rainy day. From within a humble cottage emanated several cries of an infant. In the room, Lianxin was watching her cute son, and she felt an unspeakable pain in her heart when she thought that her son had to suffer with her and her husband from the time he was born. She also recalled how her parents-in-law despised her and her husband, saying they were capable, and kicked them out of the house. Thinking of this, she swore to strive to make good money and build their own house to show her parents-in-law that they were not without ability.
Since then, Lianxin and her husband looked for well-paid work here and there. However, in the 1980s, it was not an easy thing to find work, and they could only do some work others didn’t want to do. When the busy farming season came, Lianxin would go and transplant rice seedlings in the fields for others to make money. She worked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. Every night, she would be so tired that she couldn’t even keep her back straight. After a month’s work, her face was bloated. Even so, she never thought about stopping to have some rest, because she had to strive for the goal in her heart: making good money to live a better life and not being belittled by others. When the busy farming season passed, Lianxin found a job of loading stones onto ships at the dock near her home. Every time she had to carry stones weighing over 50 kilos, which kept her shoulders unable to square. After some time had passed, her shoulders were calloused and very stiff. Her husband worked as a laborer, mixing cement and moving bricks upstairs. He kept running back and forth all day and so the soles of his feet were covered with thick callouses. After two years of hard work, they finally built three brick houses of their own. At that time, there were not many people in their village who could own such houses, so their villagers all looked at them with envy and praised them for being competent. Lianxin was very happy when hearing their words of praise and she thought: Don’t think that we are useless. Now, we can finally hold our heads high.
The first taste of the sweetness of being rich immediately took Lianxin’s mind off how hard it was to earn money. She and her husband were not satisfied with their financial situation but desired to make more money. In 2003, her husband found a job of blasting rocks and carrying them. They knew the job was dangerous, but the high monthly salary made them ignore it, for they often heard people say: “One can have anything but illness, and one can be without anything but money,” and “Money is everything,” and they feared to live without money and be belittled by others. Nevertheless, a misfortune quietly befell their family. One day, two months later, when her husband was blasting rocks in the quarry, he was hit on his head by a flying rock and was killed instantly. This unexpected disaster made Lianxin extremely grieved and she wondered why her life was always so gloomy. She really wanted to enjoy a colorful life, yet who would have known that her husband would die just when their life began to be better off. With no anchor in the family, Lianxin did not know what she was going to do in the future. But for her son’s sake, she had to suppress her inner pain, steel herself, and support the family. After losing her husband, she viewed money as more important and made much more effort to get more money.
Later, Lianxin found a job in a firecracker factory where she had to contact combustibles and explosive goods every day. It was a dangerous job, but she would get a good pay as long as she worked hard and could endure hardships, for she was paid on a piecework basis. So, she buried herself in her work, making fireworks for 12 hours a day, and only took a break at lunchtime. Her continuously touching saltpeter and glue made her ten fingers cracked, and sometimes even the bones could be seen and the fingers kept bleeding. Even so, she was reluctant to take leave from work but continued her work despite the pain after simply binding her fingers up. She would not return home from work until dusk. Besides, she had two mu of land to farm; every day she had to get up before daylight and go to work in the fields. To save the expense, Lianxin did not hire anyone to assist her but did all the work on her own. Once, after Lianxin had harvested sixty bags of rice, with rain threatening and no one else at home to help her, she could only carry them home one by one all by herself. As a result of overtaxing herself, when she lay in bed that night, she was so tired that she felt like every bone had scattered apart. When she thought how weary she was every day, and that nobody loved and cared for her, she yelled in her heart: “Heavens, why do I live such a tiring life? If I die of exhaustion someday, nobody will know it.” She, who had always been strong, could no longer keep herself from shedding tears of sadness, and she didn’t know when she could stop living this bitter life.
One day in 2012, Lianxin’s elder sister preached God’s kingdom gospel to her. She read many of God’s words pertaining to Lianxin’s situation of working desperately hard to earn money and thus living in unbearable pain. She saw God’s words say: “Without the care, keeping, and provision of God, man cannot receive all that he was meant to receive, no matter how great the effort or struggle. Without the supply of life from God, man loses the sense of value in living and loses the sense of purpose in life. … Then again, do not forget that God is the source of your life.” Through God’s words and her sister’s fellowship, Lianxin realized: Our human fate is in fact in God’s hands and no one can change it. It’s like the saying goes, “Man’s destiny is determined by Heaven.” If we try to change our fate through our own abilities, we are undoubtedly opposing God’s sovereignty and bringing ourselves bitterness and suffering. Lianxin recalled that she and her husband, in order to live a better life, would take on any tiring, hard, or dangerous job as long as they could get a good pay. As a consequence, her husband lost his life in the quarry and she also collapsed from exhaustion. All this made her see that without God’s care and keeping, they could by no means lead a happy life regardless of the effort they put in. Lianxin faintly felt in her heart that it couldn’t be wrong to entrust everything to God. Later, Lianxin began to live the church life, and when getting together with brothers and sisters, she felt warmth that she had never felt before. In the past, no one was concerned about her or thought much of her in the world, while now, in God’s house, she received the care and support of brothers and sisters. Lianxin felt warm and happy in her heart.
At first, Lianxin thought that since her earnings were enough to support the family, she should spare more time to read God’s words and live the church life. However, as a person who saw money as life, her heart was still occupied by money. After some time passed, she even felt that reading God’s words and attending gatherings were totally a waste of time and that it would be better to spend this time making money. Later, she busied herself with making money and she went to gatherings and read God’s words less and less frequently. Brothers and sisters fellowshiped with her repeatedly about the importance of regularly attending gatherings and having a normal spiritual life, but she shook her head with a frown on her face, showing no interest in what they said. Lianxin’s wages were raised continuously owing to her hard work, but she was never satisfied with it and instead busied about all day for money. In addition, in her life, she was very careful with money, cooking only a dish of vegetables to go with rice every day. Eventually, due to her constant overwork and long-term malnutrition, she became swollen all over and suffered from stomach problems, cervical spondylosis. She was ill in bed and could not go to work anymore. When lying in bed, Lianxin thought of the Lord’s words that the brothers and sisters of the church once fellowshiped with her: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). She felt distressed and sad in her heart: Right. In order to make more money, I work desperately hard and don’t pursue the truth. Is that worth it?
When Lianxin was bedridden, the brothers and sisters of the church came to visit her. And in light of her situation of caring more about money than life itself, they fellowshiped aboutto save mankind and read her a passage of God’s words: “So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? (Yes.) People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly. What does this saying and trend bring to people? Don’t many people see getting money as being worth any cost? Don’t many people sacrifice their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Don’t many more people lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Isn’t this a loss for people? (Yes.) Isn’t Satan sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Isn’t this a malicious trick?”
God’s words showed Lianxin the root of her suffering. It turned out that these years she had been living by Satan’s views on life, such as “Money is first,” and “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” and was afflicted by these mistaken viewpoints, thus believing that having money, she would not be looked down upon by others, and could hold her head high and lead a happy life. She then recalled the past: When she and her husband had just got married, they were turned out of the house by her parents-in-law because her husband couldn’t make big money. This scene really impressed itself on her memory. Since then, in order to make more money, she and her husband worked like a money-making machine every day and were willing to do any dirty, tiring, or dangerous work. She believed that as long as they were willing to work hard, their life would surely get better. After much hard effort, it did get better, but at a heavy cost: Her husband, who found a dangerous job in order to make more money, finally lost his life. Nevertheless, she was not awakened by this, but instead attached more importance to money. For the sake of it, she worked her fingers to the bone, and after believing in God, she still was unable to overcome the enticement of money and was reluctant to spare any time to have gatherings or read God’s words. In the end, she not only did not receive any joys from money, but became disease-ridden. Only then did she appreciate that her desperate pursuit of money brought her nothing but endless suffering, emptiness and helplessness. Recalling her experiences, Lianxin could not but think of some things that had happened around her: The master of a household, who spared no effort to make money just like her, ended up burning himself out and getting stomach cancer, and all his hard-earned savings went on the treatment of his illness. Besides, a person in her village, who worked on a building site, always worked overtime and was unwilling to take even a day off, just in order to get more money. One night, after work, he collapsed in his bathroom and never got up again. These examples Lianxin heard and saw made her sigh involuntarily: “However much money I earn, what use will it be if I lose my life?” The revelation in God’s words and what Lianxin experienced, saw and heard allowed her to realize that Satan used such absurd viewpoints as “Money is first,” and “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing” to poison and corrupt people so that it could achieve its objective of afflicting and devouring them. Now, she had some discernment about the methods and tricks Satan used to corrupt people as well as its evil intentions. Thus, she resolved before God that from then on, she would do her best to seek the truth, live by God’s words, and rely on Him to extricate herself from the life of working desperately hard for money and thereby to stay away from the harm of Satan.
During the days Lianxin was recuperating at home, she would read God’s words once she was free. The sisters of the church frequently came to gather and fellowship about God’s words with her, and she understood many truths that she didn’t know before. Gradually her health improved, and from this she experienced the warmth of God’s love, thus becoming full of gratitude to God and more willing to read His words and attend gatherings. Once, her sister said to her: “There is a job with a good monthly salary but the working hours are a little long. You will have to work more than 10 hours a day….” When hearing that the salary was good, Lianxin became a little tempted. But she then had a second thought: If I need to work over 10 hours a day, then won’t I have no time to read God’s words? At this time, she recalled that in the past, due to her ignorance of the truth, she was always fooled by Satan, thus desperately pursuing money and being physically and mentally exhausted. She really had had enough of this suffering. Thinking of this, now she was willing to see things according to God’s words. She told herself: I should be content with having food and clothing. In my spare time, I can equip myself with more truth. Won’t this be more in accordance with God’s will?
Lianxin then remembered 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 with God’s will 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.”
God’s words made Lianxin feel very brightened. Mulling over God’s words, she felt God’s love for her was so practical. It was the guidance of God’s words that led her to know that the path she previously walked was wrong, and that Satan was actually using money and fame to bind her and harm her. Were it not for God’s salvation, she would have continued to live in the vortex of pursuing money and pursuing being admired by others, her life would have become ever darker, and she would have become ever more painful, ultimately killed by Satan’s affliction. Now, God’s words showed her the right road of life, which is saying goodbye to the lifestyle of living for fortune and fame, and no longer living by the viewpoints “Money is first,” and “Money isn’t everything, but without money, you can do nothing,” but submitting to God’s leadership, letting Him rule over and arrange the rest of her life, and pursuing to become a person obeying God and worshiping God. This was the choice she should make.
Understanding this, Lianxin resolved to cherish the chance God gave her, so she refused her sister’s offer. She then found an easy job. Although making less money than before, she was happy in her heart, for she could spare more time to read God’s words and was able to fulfill her duty to the best of her abilities in the church. Later, Lianxin saw that even though she hadn’t done anything special for God, God blessed her and made her gradually improve in health. She was really grateful to God. It was God’s words that helped her get rid of the life of working desperately hard to make money and live a bright life. Now, she felt extremely happy.