Finding God Is True Happiness
My father is just an ordinary elementary school teacher, and during my childhood I lived with him in the dormitory that the school provides for its staff. We lived a simple and frugal life, as most people did in that era of hardships. The thing I remember most is playing with the other teachers’ kids in the school grounds after school. One of the kids was from a much wealthier family (his mother worked in the Bureau of Finance). Every day we played until it was almost dark and then he would make a bowl of instant noodles, take out a piece of fried donut, and eat it all with gusto. We other kids just stood by and looked on hungrily as the lovely smell wafted over and made us drool. Every time this happened, my frustrated stomach would rumble loudly, which always made me feel embarrassed and at a loss about what to do. At that time I resented the fact that I was from a poor household and that my father had no talents—he couldn’t even afford a packet of instant noodles…. I resented my father, but I also made a promise to myself that I was going to make a lot of money and have a lifestyle that others would envy. From that time on I had no interest in studying, and all I could think about was leaving school, getting a job and relying on my own hard work to improve my life. However, my father insisted that I go to senior high school but I was adamant about not wanting to study. I wanted to leave school and go out to work instead because I was sure that this was the only way that I would find happiness and prosperity quickly enough.
It took a week for my parents to finally come to an agreement. They sent me to a big hairdressing salon to work and learn the trade. From then on I knuckled down and learned as much about hairdressing as I could. In order to please the boss and get hands-on experience of hairdressing techniques, I did all the dirty and tiring tasks—anything that the others didn’t want to do—around the salon. After a few years I got a stomach disorder that caused me to occasionally vomit stomach acid or bile, which was very uncomfortable. But the thought of being able to learn and practice in the salon and get my hairdresser’s certificate so that I could start earning money as soon as possible made me more than willing to endure the suffering. Four years later I opened my own salon, and thought that the time had finally come for me to make my first pot of gold. But fortune didn’t smile on me: Business was never that good and I couldn’t make any substantial changes to my lifestyle. Seeing that what I had was still far from the riches that I’d dreamed of, I decided to look for another way to make money.
A few months later I went to work in a factory in Suzhou. The summers in southern China are really hot, and after finishing my night shift I was always totally exhausted. But whenever the line manager asked who was willing to work overtime I was always the first to raise a hand. My desire to work hard and make money was as strong as ever. I worked like this for 2 years, but my bank balance never amounted to much and I wasn’t just going to spend the rest of my life as Mr. Average. So in order to realize my dream of rising high in society, I got in contact with some of my old schoolmates to see what they were up to and see who among them was making serious money. After many inquiries, I found out that there was one guy, who’d been a couple of years above me in school, who was making a lot, over 1 million per year, working as the deputy general manager in a finance company. So I called him up, and with his help I was taken on by the finance company at a basic monthly salary of 1,200 yuan. He told me that he’d started on 800 yuan monthly and was now making 140,000 yuan monthly! When I heard “140,000,” I thought: “I’ve walked into a gold mine! I’m going to work really hard and make the most of this opportunity.” The other members of staff were always complaining about their low salaries and how boring it was to have to go out and hand out flyers every day, but I only thought about how my schoolmate’s lifestyle was what I wanted. As long as it wasn’t illegal and it made me plenty of money, then it was worth it, no matter how arduous or tiring it was.
After 3 months I still didn’t have an order to my name, my wife was telling me to quit, and my schoolmate had told me that he could only guarantee my job for 1 more month. I was very keen to gain a foothold in the finance industry, so I doubled my efforts and set myself the target of working 30 days in the month for 14 hours per day. On the 27th day of my fourth month, there I finally got an order worth 100,000 yuan, for which I received a bonus of 1,500 yuan. I was overjoyed, and it wasn’t long before I was made head of my department. After that, the money came rolling in more and more, just as expected. My lifestyle became more affluent, and I started paying more attention to dressing well, eating well and flashing my cash whenever I could. My monthly salary often wasn’t enough to cover my spending, so I’d just go overdrawn on my credit cards. I’d become, in every way, a typical parvenu, one of the new money crowd.
Soon after my schoolmate recommended that I join a direct marketing company to learn the ins and outs of doing business. I thus became extremely busy, working in the company during the day and going to classes at night. The teacher used to say: “The art of selling is the art of selling yourself. You’ve gotten to make strangers feel that they know you well, and make your acquaintances feel that they don’t know you at all. Take control of your image and the market is yours for the taking. You also need to learn how to communicate with your clients. Encouragement and praise can turn an idiot into a genius, while insults and blame can turn a genius into an idiot. No matter how bad your client looks or sounds, you’ve always gotten to find the thing that makes them stand out and praise it as much as you can. When they get puffed up with flattery, they’ll pay whatever you ask to buy your stuff….” This is how I gradually learned the “art” of making money. I started using cunning, underhand means to attract clients, foremost of which was to use any form of flattery to get them to buy our products. I also gave them gifts, took them on trips, or out for meals at recreational farms near to our city. In short, I knew exactly what to say for every type of client, how to butter them up, and how to show them a good time. As long as my clients had trust in me, I was never worried that I wouldn’t make money.
Time and time again I worked on my clients, and the cash kept on rolling in. I was a slave to my own greed for wealth, and my desire to make money, by hook or crook, grew ever greater. I even took to using despicable means to steal clients away from my colleagues. For example, if a client had a good relationship with a colleague but didn’t have many assets invested under my control, I would start to butter them up and give them more expensive gifts—or even give them some of my own commission—to get more of their investments. It took a fair bit of persistence, but eventually more and more clients started investing more through me. One time, I noticed that the floor manager had so many clients that he was having problems coping and was letting the receptionist greet and send off his clients. So I started going over to the reception desk more often, and made every effort to be friendly and nice to her. I noticed that her hair had some split ends, so I bought her a bottle of split ends repair formula. Later, I learned that the floor manager split his commission with her and I thought: “The floor manager doesn’t give her much, so I could win her over by giving her a bit more and the extra clients she’d send my way would definitely improve my performance figures.” So I said to her: “Send more clients to me and I’ll split the commission with you 50-50.” Sure enough, with my constant encouragement, she began to send more of the floor manager’s clients to me. But our company rules stated that if a client came in and didn’t ask to see any particular member of the sales team, then they automatically became walk-in clients who belonged to the floor manager. Naturally I was afraid that my deal with the receptionist would come out into the open, so every time a walk-in client signed an order for me I got them to use someone else’s I.D details. This went on for quite some time, but I was still afraid of being found out and I knew that if the floor manager discovered that I was stealing her clients I’d be fired immediately. I wanted to stop, but it was like something had hold of me and kept pulling me forward. Every time I thought of my dilemma, I couldn’t think of a way out. I wanted to quit, but I was worried that if I went to another company I wouldn’t make as much money. I lived every day filled with dread, and because I never slept well at night I became muddle-headed, confused, and dozy during working hours. On the surface, I looked smart, fresh, and positive but on the inside I was suffering enormously. I often thought: “I’ve made enough money, so by rights I should be happy and content. So why is life so bitter and exhausting? What on earth is it really all about? Is my whole life just going to be about deceiving people, competing over everything, buttering people up, and all the other hypocrisies? What the hell am I going to do?”
It was during this time when I was feeling lost and helpless that a friend of mine shared the gospel with me. After going to a few meetings, I came to understand that God’s work of the last days is to save people who have been corrupted by Satan so that we can live in the semblance of true human beings. After every meeting, I would feel really liberated. One day in December, I had to take a month off work because something had come up. On the second day back at work, one of the deputy general managers came over to talk to me, and after exchanging a few pleasantries he said to me: “The past month when you were absent, all the staff under you came to me with their problems, so I’ve taken all your commissions for that month and you’ll only get your basic salary. You should make up for lost time and try to make more money this month as Chinese New Year is coming. Making money is most important.” When I heard this, I was furious: He was robbing me of my sales commissions! The blood rushed to my head and I was about to bang my hand on the table and have it out with him. Then I realized that if I did that, I’d probably be fired tomorrow. So I swallowed my pride, but I wasn’t able to calm down and was in a terrible mood all day. When I got home and told my wife what had happened, she said: “This isn’t such a big thing. We believe in God, so whenever things like this happen, we pray to God and then deal with it according to God’s words. We don’t let anger take control. Actually, this is a test from Satan. Satan wants to use money to get a hook into your heart, and if you fall into its money trap then you’ll be tortured beyond belief by it. You won’t want to come before God and pursue truths and then you’ll remain under Satan’s domain and suffer its cruelty. You need to see through Satan’s tricks! Anyway, you didn’t work for a month, so isn’t it normal that you didn’t get as much pay?” My wife’s advice reminded me that I was already a believer in God and shouldn’t keep on behaving as I always had. Always scheming and competing just for the sake of money really was unpleasant and exhausting. So I calmed myself down and then prayed to God: “Oh God, when all that stuff happened today, I didn’t pray to You and seek help but just got angry instead and let my corrupt satanic disposition make me hate someone. I know that doesn’t accord with Your intentions. Oh God, You know how much importance I place upon money. With regards to this, I don’t know what Your intentions are for me. I wish for You to guide me and give me the correct attitude toward money, so that I may be able to not follow Satan….”
After praying, I read some of God’s words: “‘Money makes the mare go’ is the philosophy of Satan and it prevails among every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been imparted to everyone and is now affixed in their heart. People went from not accepting this saying to growing used to it so that when they came into contact with real life, they gradually gave tacit approval to it, acknowledged its existence and finally, they gave it their own seal of approval. Is this right? (Yes.) Isn’t this process that of Satan corrupting man?” (“God Himself, the Unique V” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh). “With man’s demand for ever increasing amounts of money, people unknowingly came to love money, love gain and love enjoyment more and more. So did people come to view money as more important? When people view money as more important, they unknowingly neglect their reputation, their renown, prestige, and integrity; they neglect all these things, don’t they? When you engage in business, you see someone else taking different approaches and using various means to swindle people and get rich. Although the money earned is ill-gotten gains, they get richer and richer. Their whole family engages in the same business as you, but they enjoy life more than you do, and you feel bad, saying: ‘Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I earn as much as they do? I must think of a way to get more money, to make my business prosper.’ You then ponder this through. … Every single person wants to use cheating means and violent methods to live in amongst their fellow man; they lie, cheat and become violent in order to seize their own livelihood; … they do anything they want using violent and evil ways. Is this humanity not terrifying? (Yes.) After hearing Me talk about these things just now, do you not think it terrifying to live in amongst this kind of crowd, in this world and in this environment that Satan has corrupted? (Yes.) So have you ever felt yourselves to be pitiful? You must feel it a little now. (Yes.)” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God’s words had incisively revealed the source of our degeneracy, which is that Satan is contaminating our heart with poisonous heresies such as: “Money is first,” “Money makes the mare go,” “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” and so on. We are living our lives based on these poisons, thinking that money is everything and that we need lots of it to be happy. That’s why we strive so hard to get it, without the slightest bit of consideration for anything else. As slaves to money and profit, we all live by the concept of “Any method is OK as long as it makes money.” In all trades and professions there are secret rules that insiders are all in tacit agreement about as they go about their business of telling lies and cheating each other. At heart, people have become selfish, cold, and vicious. No one gives a fig for good conscience or morality anymore.
I pondered God’s words and remembered how degenerate and evil I became after getting caught up in the great rush to make money. At first, I was happy to work hard honestly to get enough money to eat. But then I saw how much more income others had, how much their lives were better than mine, and while I admired them I was also envious. So in order to make big money I learned all of Satan’s life philosophies, all of the rules of the game of survival, and began to compete and scheme against my colleagues while hiding it all behind a smile. I groveled to my bosses and took every chance to ingratiate myself; I sweet-talked and cajoled my clients. … There was no one I didn’t deceive, no method that was too low for me, and my whole persona became one of fakeness and oily hypocrisy. But all while I regarded myself as a smart and capable guy. I was totally under the influence of the evil trends of the material world and I was being sucked deeper and deeper into a whirlpool of sin. I was completely lacking in integrity or self-respect and my life had no worthwhile direction to it. This is how Satan was toying with me, cruelly abusing me. In fact, it wasn’t just me who was unable to extricate myself from this evil tide of “Money is first” mindset—a lot of my friends and colleagues were stuck in it too. And then there was my schoolmate, the one making 140,000, who any casual observer would think would have a happy and content family life. In fact, he spent his nights in bars and clubs, drinking and womanizing, and when his wife found out she left him immediately. And so another happy family lay in ruins. I thought often about the experiences of the people around me and just how extravagant and dissipated my life had become, and I became more and more convinced that society was one big melting pot of evil! “Money is first,” “Money makes the mare go,” and all those other satanic rules of survival are the source of mankind’s corruption and degeneracy. These are cunning schemes and tricks that Satan uses to abuse people and swallow them up! Now I feel extremely lucky that I was chosen by God, that through reading God’s words I was able to see clearly the reality of mankind’s corruption by Satan. Whenever I was interacting with the brothers and sisters, I could see that there was no deceit or mutual exploitation going on between them. Whenever difficulties arose, they would talk about them openly and encourage and support each other. They were simple and honest, and were always fair and square with each other. All this made me feel that believing in God really is a good thing!
After that, in order to understand more of God’s words, I also began to put every effort into fulfilling church duties when I wasn’t working. I began to read more of God’s words, and came to realize more and more that the road in life that I’d been walking for all those years was completely meaningless. I’d been letting Satan torture and abuse me. I read these words of God’s and understood just how realistic His words are: “Can the various material things enjoyed by people’s flesh bring them comfort in their hearts? What can their feeling of superiority in life and material abundance bring? (Depravity.) They make people depraved, and make them lose their way. … Would you say that money can satisfy people’s greedy desires? (No.) It can’t—it is incapable of solving these problems of man. … When you allow God’s words to be wrought into you, so that you have the life of God within you, and have God’s words and the truth as your real life, is there value to your living? (Yes.) Without realizing it, do you become noble? Do you gradually come to live with dignity?” (“Only With the Truth as Their Life Can People Live a Life of Value” in Records of Christ’s Talks). No matter how much money people make in the material world, no matter how luxurious and comfortable their lives become, none of it is a remedy for the spiritual emptiness they feel. Chasing after material things will only make people more degenerate, more corrupt. So many people believe that happiness is eating well, dressing well, and generally enjoying the best of everything, but once they make a lot of money and get what they want they begin to get degenerate and corrupt. Then their lives turn sour very quickly, and they end up suffering more than when they were poor and sometimes even want to give up on life. In this time, Almighty God has brought the truth to our world so that we may, from His words, clearly see the reality, and the source, of how Satan corrupts mankind. By accepting and practicing God’s words and living by the truth, we can be true human beings who have self-respect and value in their lives.
Almighty God saved me from the depths of suffering and gave direction and purpose to my life. I already hated my old way of making a living by saying or doing unscrupulous things, and decided to change my lifestyle and become an open, honest, and upstanding person. I would no longer live just for money or pleasures of the flesh but instead would live to satisfy God! But although I decided to change my ways, Satan did not give up so easily and still frequently disturbed me by not letting me attend meetings or do church duties in peace. One time when I was in a meeting, my deputy general manager kept on calling me trying to get me to go to a client to win an order. I refused, but shortly afterward he called again and said that he was calling an impromptu meeting to discuss how to get more clients and improve the company’s business. Every time something like this happened, I always felt at a loss about what to do: I didn’t want to miss the chance to learn more about God’s words but I was also afraid of refusing the boss’ arrangements and being fired. So just when I was feeling stuck, I read these words of God’s: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. … Everything you do requires you to pay a certain price in your efforts. Without actual hardship, you can’t satisfy God, it does not even come close to satisfying God, and they are nothing but empty slogans! Can these empty slogans satisfy God? When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? … Everything that happens to people is when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Nothing major has happened to you at the moment, and you do not bear great testimony, but every detail of your daily life relates to the testimony to God” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appear in the Flesh). From God’s words I understood His intention. I could see that deciding to satisfy God and lead a meaningful life didn’t mean that Satan was going to leave me alone, as shown by Satan making my deputy general manager call me to drag me into more schemes to cheat people and make money. Wasn’t this Satan testing me, a part of its cunning tricks? I was grateful for God’s enlightenment, and resolved never to fall into Satan’s trap again but instead to stand firm for God. With this in mind, I was able to participate in the meeting in peace and was able to experience a new-found ease and satisfaction. After that, I never again deceived my clients when trying to win orders but instead just explained everything clearly and let them decide what to invest in themselves. What surprised me was that although I wasn’t spending much time trying to boost my performance figures I was still able to meet my performance targets before the end of every month. Everyone else was amazed by that but I was sure that God was controlling everything and that because I was doing what God demanded I was gaining His protection and blessings.
When I pondered this carefully, I came to the conclusion that I was able to come before God and attain His salvation because behind the scenes God had been protecting my route toward Him. If it weren’t for God’s compassion and care, who knows what I’d be like today. I remember how exhausted I used to be every day, working day and night. First in the hairdressing salon, where I ended up continuously ill with problems with my shoulders, neck and stomach. And then I got into the finance industry and betrayed my own conscience and humanity in order to make big money. I was willing to play all sorts of tricks and deceive people to make lots of dubious cash. But God had mercy on me and brought me before Him, releasing me from the bestial life that I’d been living and bringing me into the light. If it weren’t for that, I would have collapsed from exhaustion on that road to riches and wouldn’t be alive today. When I considered how God loved me, I was filled with gratitude toward Him and committed myself to loyally fulfilling my duties to repay His benevolence.
I eventually left the finance industry and found another job that I could do with honesty and integrity. Many of my colleagues said to me: “What a shame! You’ve been a manager in a big company like this, so you could easily go to another finance company and be a deputy general manager and trade through your own account. Won’t you feel that you’re wasting your talents in some other business?” When I heard them talking like this I just smiled and didn’t say anything. I knew that I’d made the right decision because as one of the created I naturally had to fulfill my duty to God. Although my days are now ordinary and uneventful, at least I’m not constantly anxious, and I’ve come to realize that true happiness is being at peace and leading an honest lifestyle. I saw how difficult it was for God to save me—being the total moneygrubber that I was—and I saw how Satan uses money to torture people and lead them into suffering and degeneracy. I’ll never follow Satan again or get involved in murky deals that harm people. I must throw away my book of professional tricks and reinvent myself, and from now on I’ll only walk the true path of pursuing truths and worshiping God so that I can live in the light!