Do Those Who Believe in Almighty God Preach the Gospel for Money?
By Wang Li, China
Since I was small, I believed in Jesus along with my parents. After I got married, I went with my husband to Shanghai where we opened a factory. In 1991, we set up a meeting place in our factory and, at that time, more than 30 people attended meetings there. Everyone would sing hymns, pray and read the Bible together. The brothers and sisters all showed each other love, supported each other, and we all felt great enjoyment at our gatherings. Preachers from my home town came twice a year to give us sermons, and we gained sustenance from these visits. By 1997, the church was gradually becoming desolate and no one got any enjoyment from our meetings anymore. The preachers were not preaching any new light, and a few of them were vying amongst each other for power and profit, and they had begun to attack each other, and no one listened to anyone else. Disputes also began to break out among the brothers and sisters. Because their spirits were not being provided for, the faith of some of the brothers and sisters began to cool, and some even turned away and stopped believing in God, and in the end only between 10 and 20 of us were left. After 2000 in particular, the situation at our meeting place just got worse and worse. The preachers only ever said the same stale old words, the sermons were tedious, and brothers and sisters became even more dispirited and weak, with nowhere to turn to. My mind was also becoming occupied by more and more things, and my faith was nowhere near as strong as it had been. On October 1st, 2001, a brother came to my home and preached to me Almighty God’s gospel of the last days. He spoke to me for two whole days, talking about things from the Age of Law to the Age of Grace, and from the Age of Grace to the Age of Kingdom, and using a great many prophecies from the Bible and the facts of their fulfillment to clarify that God had indeed become flesh and had now come to perform His work of judgment beginning in God’s house. He also told me that God will save man utterly from the domain of Satan and will lead man into their beautiful destination. I had never before heard such a good sermon, and it did me a lot of good. It was as though a bright light had been lit in my heart. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that Jesus the Savior, whom I had longed for day and night, could really have returned already, and I had no way to express the joy I felt.
However, a week later, a preacher from my home town came to visit, and it just so happened that the sister in charge of watering me was at my home. The preacher said to us, “Some people are now preaching about Eastern Lightning and you must absolutely not receive them. What they preach is heresy. They pretend to believe in God but they go swindling and cheating people all over the place, and they particularly go for people with money. First, they rope you in, and as soon as you accept their gospel, they then take you for every penny….” These words hit me like a bucket of cold water, and I suddenly felt a chill from my head to my feet. I didn’t know what to do for the best. I knew that what I had now accepted was indeed the Eastern Lightning that was being preached around, and I looked at the sister who was watering me: Her clothes and makeup were all very plain and austere, and she didn’t look like someone with money. And so a doubt arose in my heart, and I asked myself: “Could it be that they really just want to cheat me out of my money? They are so loving toward me right now, but is this just a pretense? What shall I do if it really is as the preacher says?” The more I thought about it, the more uneasy I felt, and I wanted to ask the sister to leave. But then I thought how sensible her preaching was, and if by some chance this was the true way and I rejected it, then wouldn’t I lose my chance to attain salvation? Caught between a rock and a hard place, I was at a loss as to what to do, and so I said a silent prayer to God: “O God! God’s work of the last days that the brothers and sisters bear witness to does indeed sound reasonable. But the preacher says that what they believe in is heresy and that they cheat people out of their money. I have begun to doubt, and I don’t know who is preaching the right way. I ask You to enlighten me so that I may have discernment and see it all clearly.”
That night in bed, I felt very uneasy and upset, and I dared not go to sleep. I thought to myself: Will this sister take off with my things in the dead of night? So I constantly listened to any movements coming from outside my room, but in the end I was so tired that I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, and I slipped unknowingly into sleep. The next day, I got up early and saw that the sister was still there, and I finally began to feel a little calmer. But I still felt worried, and I secretly observed every move the sister made. Especially when she gave me fellowship on God’s word, I observed her carefully, hoping to find some clues in the expression of her eyes or in her speech, but I discovered nothing. No matter what cunning questions I came up with, she always fellowshiped with me patiently and she used God’s words to resolve my problems. What’s more, her expressions and her words were likewise sincere. To be honest, although I was on my guard, each and every one of God’s words became etched on my heart, so that I felt how true and real they were, and I became utterly convinced. Despite this, I still felt guarded toward the sister, and I always chose my words to her with the utmost care, afraid that any slip-up would reveal to her my financial circumstances. Just as she was about to leave, I decided to try to tempt her, and I took out 1,000 yuan and gave it to her, saying that it was just a token for her trouble. But she said that she couldn’t take anything from me, and she said this with complete sincerity. Just then, I couldn’t help but doubt myself: The preacher from my home town said that these people were here to cheat me out of my money. But I’ve now tried to give her money without being asked for it, so how come she won’t take it? Is what the preacher said really true, or is it false?
Several days later, the sister came again to fellowship with me about God’s words, and I thought to myself, “Ah, she’ll probably want money this time.” But what actually happened made me feel ashamed of myself again, as she just fellowshiped God’s words with me and talked about God’s will, and never engaged in idle chitchat. Her speech and comportment were in fact totally proper, prudent and natural, and she had a pious attitude. I could find no fault with anything about her, and I couldn’t help but admire her. This forced me to doubt what the preacher from my home town had said but, most importantly, Almighty God’s words had dispelled my guarded heart, and they had drawn me in. God’s words say: “What I want is not human conceptions or human thoughts, even less do I want your money or your possessions. What I want is your heart, understand? This is My will, and even more it is what I want to obtain” (“Chapter 61” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Just give Me your heart completely. Be clear! I do not want your money nor your things nor for you to zealously, deceitfully or narrow-mindedly come before Me to serve. Be quiet and of pure heart, wait and seek when problems arise, and I will give you an answer. Do not be in doubt! Why do you never believe My words to be true? Why can you not believe in My words? Stubborn to an extent and still like this at this time, you are too ignorant and not enlightened at all!” (“Chapter 39” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading these words, I felt very upset. The sister then gave me fellowship, saying, “God expresses the truth and performs His work of judgment in the last days in order to purify and save man, to enable us to cast off our satanic corrupt dispositions, so that we can have a God-fearing heart, accept God’s observation in all things, be honest people in a real and moral way in accordance with the requirements of God’s words, live out the reality of fearing God and shunning evil, truly come to obey God, worship God and love God, and become people who possess the truth and normal humanity. God wants our hearts, and He treasures our lives. He doesn’t want our money or our possessions.” She then went on with her fellowship, saying, “In The Church of Almighty God, no one is permitted to ask for offerings, or to appeal to people for offerings for any reason whatsoever. If someone appeals to people to make offerings, they are to be stopped, for this is what God loathes. If a brother or sister wants to make a donation, they may only do it by first praying many times, by being completely willing and by being sure to never regret it afterward, otherwise they will not be permitted to make their offering.”
The revelations of God’s words and the sister’s fellowship allowed me to understand God’s will to save mankind, and I saw that they had a genuine and sincere desire to bring me before God and were not scheming anything. The guards that I’d put up in my heart gradually vanished, and the great weight that had lain heavy in my heart for many days finally fell away. I felt as though a heavy burden had been taken from me, and I felt my whole being become much more relaxed. Just as the sister was about to leave, I forcibly stuffed 2,000 yuan into her pocket. This time, I really wanted her to have it, but despite my best efforts to persuade her, she still wouldn’t take it, and she said to me, “There are administrative decrees in God’s house. We cannot take brothers and sisters’ money or possessions, for that would be the action of a Judas.” After she had gone, I was overwhelmed with so many different feelings. “In today’s materialistic society,” I thought, “where money reigns supreme, many people work hard for money, including me, and they struggle on constantly in order to be able to eat well, wear nice clothes, live in a nice home and enjoy nice things. And yet these brothers and sisters who believe in Almighty God are not attracted by these monetary pleasures, but instead they suffer and preach the gospel unconditionally. No matter how much they are misunderstood by others, they still insist on performing their duty—is this not entirely the result achieved by the work of the Holy Spirit?” In these people, I saw that only a life in which one gives up physical pleasure and lives to satisfy God is a life of meaning and value, and I saw that my own pursuit for wealth and material things was so selfish, mean and degrading. I thought about this a lot, especially the two times I’d tried to give the sister some money and was refused, and I thought about how she had treated me with great sincerity and how she had gone out of her way to water me. All this had come from God’s love and He had taken responsibility for my life. If all this had not come from God’s guidance and leadership, how could anyone achieve it? And yet I had entertained sly schemes and had been guarded and suspicious with the sister, and I had tempted her with money. I had misunderstood the painstaking efforts God was putting into saving me, and I felt so indebted to God! I couldn’t help but weep tears of self-rebuke, and I saw how contemptible and without discernment I had been! The facts had proved that the brothers and sisters who were preaching Almighty God’s gospel were not doing so for money, but were performing their duty to lead people before God—it was simply not like the rumors said at all! At that moment, I couldn’t help but think of when the preachers from my home town had come to give us sermons, and each time they had taken the money I gave them for their trouble, and they had accepted it as a matter of course. Now I understood that the reason they made up all this baseless slander, saying that those who believed in Almighty God preached the gospel for money, was because they themselves were selling the gospel and using their sermons to make money. They were therefore afraid that, after I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, I would no longer listen to their sermons and they would no longer be able to enjoy my donations, and so they did everything they could to stop me from accepting the true way. These religious leaders were just out for their own personal gain, and they had no scruples about destroying my chances to attain God’s salvation—they have such black hearts! Having seen through Satan’s rumors and tricks, I proceeded without any hesitation and began to follow Almighty God.
By reading God’s words, I gradually came to understand some truths, I came to have some knowledge about the fact and substance of how I was corrupted by Satan, and I understood a great deal about God’s management work and His will to save mankind. In order to repay God’s love and to lead those who sincerely seek God into God’s house, I gave up my comfortable, easy life and, together with my brothers and sisters, I threw myself into the ranks of spreading God’s gospel of the last days.