“Ugh! I’ve finally got all the ice scraped off.” I straightened up and looked over at my two coworkers not too far away and saw they were just standing there chatting. Unable to suppress a fiery feeling that welled up within me, I thought, “I’m over here working like a mule but the two of you seem awfully relaxed. You even have the time for an idle chat….”
My job is to empty mining carts in a coal mine. There are three of us per shift: One pushes the carts, another overturns and empties the carts, and the third reconnects the empty carts to each other. I’m responsible for emptying them. We have more work to take care of in the winter. The bottoms of the carts get caked with a thick layer of rock dust and that needs to be cleared off; the wheels become covered with ice and will no longer turn, so that needs to be scraped off; the furnace in the unloading bay also needs to be fed. But I ended up doing most of these extra tasks, and not only did the person pushing the carts not help with these things, but he always had me scrape off the ice next to the cart wheels. This had me simmering with rage and I started to think poorly of him. I thought to myself that these extra tasks were a shared responsibility, but the two of them would only pitch in a little when the boss came around, generally leaving all of it to me. It really wasn’t fair. The more I thought about it the angrier I became—if they didn’t do it, then I wouldn’t either. From then on I didn’t work until my coworkers were working, and when they weren’t working, I didn’t either. But when I saw that no one had scraped the ice off the wheels and the wheels couldn’t roll I felt terrible. I thought about how I’m a Christian and I can’t be lazy and unreliable like them, so left with no choice, I went ahead and scraped the ice off the wheels so they could move as normal.
Just after starting work one morning, the cart pusher said to me, “The boss said that after your shift is over you need to scrape all the ice off the cart wheels.” I felt incredibly dissatisfied with him when I heard him say that and thought to myself, “This work belongs to all three of us. Why don’t you do any of it? All you do is pass on the message from the boss as if it has nothing to do with you.” From then on I developed a strong distaste for him.
I was in constant low spirits over this and didn’t want to speak to the cart pusher; I kept avoiding him. I always felt listless. I spent every day emptying cart after cart, scraping ice off the wheels, feeding the furnace, and clearing dust off the cart bottoms. Seeing my coworkers off to the side chatting and drinking tea while I was working on my own, I felt incredibly pent-up.
One day while on a break, I prayed to God about my difficulties. “Oh God, my coworkers are lazy and I have to do all the work myself. This is really difficult for me. I don’t know how I should experience what I’m facing now—please help and enlighten me so that I have a path of practice.” A passage ofthen occurred to me: “Loving God requires … that you probe deep within when anything happens to you, trying to grasp , and trying to see what God’s will is in this matter, what He wishes you to achieve, and how you should be mindful of His will.” I pondered God’s words, and understood that in whatever I encounter I should seek God’s will and requirements. I then quieted myself before God and seriously reflected on myself. When I was working with my coworkers and saw that they took every opportunity to have a chat, leaving all of the work to me, I felt really upset and irritated with them; I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. What kind of corruption was I revealing? Why would this cause me so much suffering?
When I got home I read some of God’s words. “In the past, when the words of God have not become people’s lives, it was Satan’s nature that took charge and dominated within them. What specific things were within that nature? … this is mainly because of Satan’s poison contained within. Satan’s poison can be fully expressed with words. For example, if you ask some evildoers why they do something, they will answer: ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This one phrase expresses the root of the problem: The logic of Satan has become people’s lives, and no matter what they do, whether it’s for some purpose or other, they are only doing it for themselves. People all think that ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This is the life and the philosophy of man, and it also represents man’s nature. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ this statement of Satan’s is precisely its poison, and when internalized by man it becomes man’s nature. Satan’s nature is exposed through this statement; it completely represents it. This poison becomes man’s life and becomes the foundation of his existence; corrupted humanity has been consistently dominated by this for thousands of years” (“Chapter 35 How to Take the Path of Peter”).
I realized through what was revealed in God’s words that with my coworkers, I had just been calculating losses and gains—who did more work and who did less work. I was narrow-minded and petty in my interactions with my coworkers, always acting on the principle of not wanting my own self-interest to suffer. All of this was brought about by living according to Satan’s logic of “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” I thought of how my coworkers and I were all on the same team and I was working alongside everyone else, but every time they were lazy and shirked work leaving me with everything, my heart was filled with discontent and complaints. I did more work but received the same pay, and so began to dislike and ignore them. I knew well that not scraping off the ice would damage the wheels and the tracks and would cause losses for the mine, but since I wasn’t willing to be at a disadvantage I wanted to wash my hands of it. That was entirely a selfish nature! I realized that being irritated with my coworkers and being unable to interact with them normally was because my own interests hadn’t been satisfied. Satan uses all sorts of logic and rules to corrupt us, getting us to quibble over our own interests and become unable to interact harmoniously. We’re all living within Satan’s trickery. Having understood this, I quietly resolved to no longer live according to Satan’s logic and rules.
I later saw something from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “In order for people to interact normally with one another, they must possess a few principles of practice. These principles should not only include not taking advantage of others, not harming others, but having some love. They further include having a conscience and rationality, helping one another, showing tolerance to one another, caring for others, letting others benefit in all situations, considering others, not just caring about yourself, showing compassion for others’ weaknesses, and forgiving the transgressions of others. If we have these few principles, we will be able to build a normal relationship with others and we will be able to live in harmony with each other.” This fellowship provided me with a path of practice. In my actions I couldn’t only care about my own interests, but I had to act with love for others and learn to consider other people; I should be forgiving of others and help them. That’s the only way people can get along in harmony and have normal interpersonal relationships. Those requirements and principles were what I needed to be putting into practice and entering into at that time. I realized that we were a team and our boss had arranged for us to do this work and so it was within my scope of responsibilities. I couldn’t make demands on others or only look at them. I felt much more at ease after realizing all of this.
That day I got to work first thing in the morning and saw that my coworkers hadn’t arrived yet. I figured I’d go start scraping off the ice and then the work would go faster once they’d come in. I had just started on it when I started to feel like I didn’t want to take it. I thought, “If I do all of this they’re not going to show any appreciation and the boss will never see it, either. He’s certainly not going to give me a raise. This work is exhausting and I don’t get anything in return—I won’t do it. I may as well wait for them to get here so we can all do it together.” I then realized that I was showing my selfishness again, so I quickly prayed to God, “Oh God, my selfishness and despicableness are showing themselves again. I don’t want to live this way anymore. I’m willing to forsake myself and be guided by You.” I felt much calmer after praying and resolved to act in accordance with God’s words, to no longer calculate losses and gains. I changed my frame of mind and then just felt that I’d done with the ice in no time.
On the job from then on, I took the initiative to scrape off the ice, clean up, and do all the other little tasks and took them as my own responsibilities. I no longer kept count of who had done more or who had done less. Once I put that into practice, I no longer felt irritated or angry with my coworkers, and since I wasn’t waiting on them or relying on them, my work efficiency increased by a lot. What really surprised me was that when I put myself aside, my two coworkers started working alongside me and now we all get along well. I really give heartfelt thanks to God!
One day as I was getting off of work, I went to the changing room to change out of my work clothing where I ran into a coworker from another team that said, “The inspector said that you’re a really hard worker, that you’re never lazy or unreliable. We’re short a person on our team—you should move over to ours.” I offered up thanks to God within my heart. “God, I’m corrupted by Satan and was being selfish, nitpicking about other people’s work, and I have nothing to brag about. Being able to live this out today has been entirely achieved because of Your words!” When I got my pay at the end of the month, I was surprised to see that I’d been given an extra 200 yuan. The boss said that it was a bonus.
This experience showed me on a deeper level that when I live relying on my corrupt disposition, my heart fills with frustration and worries, but when I forsake myself and practice according to God’s words, I gain the approval of my coworkers as well as peace and joy within my soul. I realized even more through this experience that God’s words really are the truth and they can resolve all difficulties and issues in our day-to-day lives. In my life from now on, I will put God’s words into practice more, cast off my corrupt disposition, and live out a true human likeness to satisfy God.
Read more on our Christian in the Workplace page, or in the recommended articles below.