10. Don’t Find New Tricks When Serving God
Heyi Zhuanghe City, Liaoning Province
I had just been promoted to take on the responsibility of church leader. But after a period of hard work, not only was the church’s evangelical work fairly lackluster, but my brothers and sisters in the evangelical team were all also living in negativity and weakness. Faced with this situation, I could no longer contain my feelings. How on earth could I work to revitalize the evangelical work? After racking my brains, I finally thought of a good solution: If I held a monthly awards ceremony for the evangelical team and selected outstanding individuals and model preachers, whoever won more souls for God would be rewarded, and whoever won fewer souls would be admonished. This would not only excite their enthusiasm, but it would lift up the negative and weak brothers and sisters. When I thought of this, I was very excited for this “clever move” of mine. I thought: “This time I’ll really amaze everyone.”
I went to the evangelical team and explained my idea. Everyone was very happy and willing to cooperate. I was thrilled, and waited to see it bear fruit. But a few days later, the brothers and sisters who had not won any souls were even more negative and had opinions on my methods. They even wanted to leave the evangelical team. Confronted with all of this, I was stumped. I didn’t know what I should do. After hearing about it, my leader quickly came to fellowship with me, and addressed my situation by reading communications from God and the work arrangement: “What’s the greatest taboo in man’s service of God? Do you know? Those of you who serve as leaders always want to have greater ingenuity, to be head and shoulders above the rest, to find new tricks so that God can see how capable you really are. However, you don’t focus on understanding the truth and entering into the reality of God’s word. You always want to show off; isn’t this precisely the revelation of an arrogant nature? Some even say: ‘By doing this I’m sure that God will be very happy; He’ll really like it. This time I’ll let God see, give Him a nice surprise.’ As a result of this surprise, you’re eliminated. Don’t just rashly do whatever comes into your mind. How can it be okay to not consider the consequences? … If you aren’t well-behaved, godly or prudent in serving God, sooner or later you will offend God’s administrative decrees” (“Without the Truth It Is Easy to Offend God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “A person who is serving God must grasp His will in all things. When encountering any problem, they should seek the truth, and all work must be done on the basis of God’s word. Only this way can they ensure that their actions conform to God’s will. … This is one principle of serving God” (“Matters of Principle That Must Be Understood for Serving God” in Annals of Fellowship and Work Arrangements). These words gave me a rude awakening and a deep feeling of fear and trembling. I realized that the “awards ceremony” I had racked my brains for was just finding a new ingenious trick. It’s something that arouses the most disgust in God; it is the greatest taboo in serving God. Serving God isn’t a child’s game. In front of God, man must obey the rules, they must maintain a heart of reverence, and they must strictly follow the work arrangements and act according to the principles of serving God with an attitude of honesty, godliness, and prudence. When faced with a problem, they must seek the truth. Only this way can they ensure that their actions conform to God’s will. Now, God has lifted me up to fulfill my duty as a leader. When the evangelical work was not bearing fruit and my brothers and sisters were negative and weak, I should have come in front of God to seek His will, to find the root of the problem, and then resolved the problem with the truth through finding words of God appropriate for my brothers’ and sisters’ situation. All the work that I do must be based on God’s words. But when I faced difficulties, I did not seek the truth at all. I did not seek the principles for my actions. Indeed, I did not carry out the proper work, but put my effort into superficial methods. I relied on my own little cleverness; I took something from worldly factory management techniques, starting an awards ceremony to select outstanding people. As a result, not only did the evangelical work not bear fruit, but my brothers’ and sisters’ situation was not resolved, and because of my methods they became even more negative to the point of leaving the evangelical team. How could that be me fulfilling my duty? I was simply doing evil, undermining the proper functioning of the church’s work. How was I worthy of being a leader? If I had continued to lead my brothers and sisters this way, they would have been led astray by me, and in the end, through my enthusiastic service, I would have offended God’s administrative decrees and suffered His punishment.
It was in God’s revelation that I finally realized my own satanic nature of arrogance and recklessness: I did not have a shred of reverence in front of God, I was not at all obedient. I realized at the same time that the human mind is a pit of fetid water. My “ingenious” method, however good, was Satan’s wish, and it could only disgust God. It could only offend Him and disrupt His work. From this day forward, I am willing to bear this lesson in mind and put more effort into the principles of serving God, to do my utmost to pursue the truth to change my own arrogant nature. I will at all times firmly believe in the correctness and reasonableness of the work arrangements, and in all things I will seek the truth, seek the principles of all actions, and hold a heart of reverence for God. I will fulfill my duty to the best of my ability and put God’s heart at ease, with the utmost in honesty and obedience.