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Once, I read a story online: Years ago, there was a scholar who thought himself brilliant. Every time he heard someone praise others for their remarkable insights, he would turn up his nose. Once when he heard people keep praising a Buddhist monk’s great self-cultivation, he decided to visit the monk and see if he was as cultivated as they say. After he got to the temple, he was treated with the best tea by the monk. He declared his intention to the monk and began to talk at length about his intelligent opinions. At last he hit the monk with the question. However, the monk didn’t answer right away but pointed at the teapot on the table and ask him to taste the tea. And the monk picked up the teapot and kept pouring tea into the cup until it was full to overflowing, yet he still didn’t stop.
At the sight of this, unable to hold his silence, the scholar interrupted the monk. “The cup is full to the brim, but why do you still pour into it?”
The monk replied, “The teacup is just your mirror. Like the cup, you are full of your own views and can’t accept new things. Thus, how could others talk to you? You’d better first learn to empty your cup.” Listening to these words, the scholar was suddenly wide awake. From then on, he traveled all over to learn from others. Finally, he cultivated his mind successfully.
In fact, we are always like this arrogant scholar in the real life, considering ourselves wise and competent and everyone our intellectual inferior. So we have no regard for anyone else, let alone empty ourselves and be a modest learner.says, “For whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Only when learning to put ourselves aside, humble ourselves and empty ourselves can we have an inflow of new life and make progress. If we blindly hold on ourselves and are complacent, we can never progress and our life shall become a pool of stagnant water and drain away in the end.
Here, I am reminded of a recent incident.
Recently, our company recruited a group of employees, some of whom are masters, doctors or returnees. In comparison, I was their inferior in educational background. When seeing their work was brilliant, I, arrogant, was in defiant mood and tried to compete with them. Living in such a disposition, I felt God hid His face from me and I couldn’t see His guidance in my work. Subsequently, in much of my work, I was unable to find the deviations and so I couldn’t finish the work by myself. Then, I felt so panic that I immediately came before God to pray and seek.
After prayer, I saw God’s words saying, “You always worry that others will stand out more than you, that others will become greater than you. Is this not being jealous of worth and ability? Is this a behavior that is considerate of God’s intention? What kind of disposition is this? This is venomousness!” (“You Can Obtain Truth After Turning Your True Heart Over to God”). Thinking over God’s words, I began to examine myself: Why did I have such manifestations these days? Was it not because I was worried that once the new colleagues proved to be more capable than me, I would be surpassed and so I couldn’t stand out? God says this is venomousness and being jealous of worth and ability. Indeed. When other people become greater than me, it causes not the slightest harm to my interests. Moreover, with talents collaborate on our company’s work, the business will reach a higher level. Isn’t it a good thing? However, for the sake of my own interests, I was jealous of them. What is this, if not venomousness? But I was much more oppressed at the thought of this.
After knowing my situation, a sister sent me a passage of words, “If you always learn new things, you will make progress, do some practical things and achieve some results; if you are complacent and do not learn new things, but always think that you are proficient in everything and that you are a musician and a genius, then actually you are nothing. You can’t finish any products, but persist in thinking you are capable. Are you not deceiving others? You should learn some real things and some real skills and then you will be capable of doing some practical things. This is meaningful and practical” (“To Fulfill Our Duty Well, We Need to Improve Ourselves Constantly”). Then she communicated with me, “It is a good opportunity to learn new things when somebody better than us appears. As the saying goes, ‘Never too old to learn.’ It won’t do not to learn new things. If the people around are less talented than us, we will become self-satisfied and make no progress. But when we are surrounded by some people who are better and more talented than us, we will find many of our deficiencies and inadequacies. At this point, if we can put ourselves aside, humble ourselves and empty ourselves and learn their strengths to make up for our shortcomings, we will make much progress.” Having listened to what my sister fellowshiped, I was much clear. The reason why I lived in pain recently was that I’d been struggling against the new colleagues for fame and gain. The words sent by my sister showed me the way of practice—to learn the strengths and advantages from my colleagues to make up for my deficiencies. This was what I should do.
I think of in our company, there is a venerable elder with much life experience and high virtue and abilities. We, younger generation, often get provision and help from his words. Even so, he still lowers himself to ask our opinions every time when talking about questions with us, which makes me admire him very much. Looking at myself, I, a nobody, am arrogant and proud and disobey anyone. However, the elder can confess to his deficiencies and when we offer some reasonable suggestions, he will adopt them. How precious this virtue is!
Thinking of these, I suddenly feel my mind much broader. Just as the thoughts conveyed through this story: If we don’t empty ourselves, how can we take in new things? I am so arrogant and always think I am better than others. How can I absorb their strengths and get real ability and learning in this way? Only by learning to empty myself can I make deeper progress.
The Offering of Isaac - Genesis 22 1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said to him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2 And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of. 3And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, Abide you here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. The Sacrifice Averted 11 And the angel of the LORD called to him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lay not your hand on the lad, neither do you any thing to him: for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from me. 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. 15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, said the LORD, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: 17 That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice. 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelled at Beersheba. Recommended: God Treasures One Who Can Listen to His Word and Obey Him Why Did God Command Abraham to Sacrifice Isaac? The Work of God’s Management and Salvation of Mankind Begins With Abraham’s Offering of Isaac God Only Cares About Those Who Are Able to Obey His Words and Follow His Commands
The Crossing of the Jordan (Joshua 3:1-17), And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
Jonah's Prayer Jonah 2:1-10 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of my affliction to the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and you heard my voice. For you had cast me into the deep, in the middle of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all your billows and your waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet have you brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in to you, into your holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land. After reading the tale of prophet Jonah, I was moved by God’s love! The people’s wickedness in Nineveh had come up before God. Jonah rejected the call of God because he was not willing to see God save these people who committed many evil deeds. It can be seen that man is selfish and has no love for others while God’s love is selfless. He sent Jonah to Nineveh again to convey His will. Finally, the people in Nineveh had truly repented and gained God’s tolerance and mercy. From this we can see that God has devoted tremendous His efforts to mankind. God is unwilling to destroy humanity as long as there’s half a chance. He hopes mankind can continue to exist. Extended Reading: The Creator Expresses His True Feelings for Humanity The Creator’s Sincere Feelings Toward Mankind Only the Creator Takes Pity on This Mankind Knowing God: Is God Always Merciful and Loving?
The Birth of Jesus - Matthew 1 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take to you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took to him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.