22. Don’t Find New Tricks When Serving God
Not long ago, I was elected as a church leader by my brothers and sisters. I was very grateful, and thought: I must do my duty well to repay God’s grace. I saw that the evangelical work of the church wasn’t yielding good results, so my brothers and sisters and I put our heads together to resolve the issue. But after a period of hard work, the church’s evangelical work remained lackluster, and my brothers and sisters in the evangelical group were living within trials. Faced with this situation, I could no longer contain my feelings. How on earth could I 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 group 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 group 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, some brothers and sisters were even more downcast and had some opinions on my methods because they had not won any souls in their evangelism. They even wanted to leave the evangelical group. Seeing all of this, I was stunned. I didn’t know what I should do. After hearing about it, my leader quickly came to fellowship with me, and addressed my state by reading God’s words and the work arrangement: “What’s the greatest taboo in man’s service of God? Do you know? Those 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 they really are. However, they don’t focus on understanding the truth and entering into the reality of God’s word. They 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 ‘nice surprise,’ you’re eliminated. Don’t just rashly do whatever comes into your mind. How can it be okay if you don’t consider the consequences of your actions? … If you aren’t upright, 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” (“The Principles That Must Be Understood for Serving God” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God). 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 was something that aroused the most disgust and hate in God. Serving God is primarily leading others to know God’s work, learn how to practice and experience God’s words, achieve understanding of the truth and of God, and finally bringing people before God. So no matter what work a person does, they must have a heart of reverence for God and do things strictly according to the work arrangements and the principles of service. When encountering a confounding issue, they must seek the truth and find someone who understands the truth for fellowship, and learn to follow God’s leadership and guidance. Only this way can they ensure that their actions conform to God’s will. Now, God lifted me up to fulfill my duty as a leader. When the evangelical work was not bearing fruit and my brothers and sisters were in trials, I should have come in front of God to seek His will, to find the root of the problem, and then found the corresponding truth in the words of God to resolve the states and problems of my brothers and sisters. Then they could develop faith and motivation because of their entry into the truth. Instead, when faced with difficulties I didn’t seek the principles of the truth at all; I just took action for its own sake and made a fuss on the superficial methods. I relied on my own little cleverness; I took something from worldly factory management techniques, planning to hold an awards ceremony to select outstanding people. As a result, not only did the evangelical work not bear fruit, but my brothers’ and sisters’ states were not resolved, and because of my methods they became even more negative to the point of wanting to leave the evangelical group. How could that be me fulfilling my duty? How could that be leading people to understand the truth and bringing them before God? It was nothing but going my own way and holding up the normal operations of the church’s work, disrupting God’s work of saving mankind. 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.
Only through God’s judging me and exposing me did I understand that serving God is doing the work of His commission and that it must be done according to His requirements and the principles of the truth in order to meet His will. If you just do things according to your own whims you’ll be very likely to do something that offends His disposition. I saw that my nature is arrogant and reckless, and that I lack the slightest heart of reverence for God. I rely on my own thinking and imaginings when serving God which can only disturb and disrupt God’s work and lead to His disgust and hate. From this day forward, I am willing to bear this lesson in mind and do my utmost to pursue the truth to change my own arrogant satanic nature. 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 satisfy God’s will with the utmost in honesty and obedience.