3. After Losing My Status
Huimin Jiaozuo City, Henan Province
Every time I saw or heard of someone having been replaced and them feeling down, weak or sulky, and not wanting to follow anymore, then I looked down on them. I thought it was nothing more than different people having different functions within the church, that there was no distinction between high or low, that we were all God’s creations and there was nothing to feel down about. So whether I was taking care of new believers or leading a district, I never thought I focused much on my status, that I was that sort of person. I never would have thought in a million years that I would display such shameful behavior when I myself was replaced …
As my work had not brought about any results for some time, my leader replaced me. At that time, I thought even if my character wasn’t made out to be a district leader, I must surely still be allowed to do the watering or safeguarding work. I never expected for my leader to get me taking care of the routine stuff. I was surprised then, thinking of such a dignified district leader as myself being today made to run errands, and that anyone in the church who could run or who had a little intelligence could do this job. Wasn’t getting me to do this job an obvious waste of my talents? But I kept my feelings to myself, afraid that my sisters would say I was disobedient, that I cared about my status. But as soon as I got home, I fell flat on the bed and felt awful. Thoughts of having no status from now on and wondering how my brothers and sisters would see me filled my head. And to make me run errands—how would I ever be able to have my day again? The more I thought about it, the more awful I felt.
A few days later, I saw the sister who had arranged the job for me. As soon as I saw her, she gave me fellowship, saying, “Doing this job looks easy, but it must still be done with devotion,” then went on to talk about the truth of such aspects as wisdom and obedience. I murmured noncommittally, while my heart was like a seething fire, thinking, “You’re giving me fellowship? Like I know nothing! Wasn’t it I who gave you fellowship at the start? Now you’re telling it to me in turn.” Not one word of what my sister was fellowshiping sunk in; instead I just resented her verbosity. In the end I said impatiently, “Anything else? If not, then I’m off!” Once I got back, I kept wondering why I had such an attitude toward my sister. If her status had always been higher than mine or equal to it, would I have treated her this way? No, I wouldn’t have. Absolutely not! Wasn’t it because I had always led her, and now she in her turn was pointing things out to me that it left me unconvinced? Didn’t this show that I was dominated by thoughts of status? I suddenly felt awful about my own shameful behavior and God’s words of judgment came to me: “The more you seek this way the less you will reap. The greater a person’s desire for status, the more seriously they will have to be dealt with and the more they must undergo great refinement. That kind of person is too worthless! They must be dealt with and judged adequately in order for them to thoroughly let go of that. If you pursue this way until the end, you will reap nothing. Those who do not pursue life cannot be transformed; those who do not thirst for the truth cannot gain the truth. You don’t focus on pursuing personal transformation and entering in; you always focus on those extravagant desires, and things that constrain your love for God and restrain you from getting close to Him. Can those things transform you? Can they bring you into the kingdom? If the object of your pursuit isn’t to seek the truth, then you may as well take advantage of this opportunity and return to the world to make a go of it. Wasting your time this way is really not worth it—why torture yourself?” (“Why Aren’t You Willing to Be a Foil?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Looking at God’s words and thinking about myself, I realized that what I was pursuing was not truth at all, nor was I seeking to satisfy God, but instead it was fame, gain and status. With status, my confidence was multiplied a hundred-fold; without it, I felt completely deflated, grumpy and so down that I couldn’t be bothered to work. I got really carried away with my status, bustling around concerning myself all day with these insignificant and worthless things and wasting so much time; and what did it get me in the end? The shameful behavior I showed today? Thinking of all that God had done for me, not only had I not comforted God’s heart with the trust He’d placed in me, but on the contrary, I resented the duty He had given me as being too lowly and I didn’t want to do it. So was I living up to my own conscience? I thanked God for His disclosure that allowed me to see the shame of my pursuit of my own fame, gain and status, and to recognize that I was being too haughty, too arrogant and was placing far too much importance on status. Then there came to mind a song of God’s words: “Oh God! Whether I have status or not, I now know myself. If my status is high, it is You who raised me up; if my status is low, it is as You will it to be. All is in Your hands; it is not up to me. I need only obey completely under Your dominion, because all is as You will it. … Use me, I am Your creation. If You make me perfect, I am still Your creation; if You do not make me perfect, I will still love You, because I am only Your creation” (“I Am Only Your Tiny Creation” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). I sang this song over and over, tears pouring from my eyes, and I came to pray before God: Oh God! Through Your words I have come to understand Your intentions. Regardless of whether my status is high or low, I am Your creation and must completely obey the arrangements You make, must do my utmost to perform the duty expected of one of Your creations and not be choosy with what You have entrusted me to do. Oh God! I wish to obey Your arrangements, to be before You working like an ox and be at Your disposal, never again to do things that cause myself suffering or that hurt You for the sake of status. Oh God! I only wish for You to deal with me and judge me all the more, to make me able to lay down my pursuit of status, to give up those things that restrict my getting close to You and loving You, and to do my utmost to perform my duty in all honesty.