Christian Reflection on Life: It Isn’t Worth It to Exchange Life for Money
There being no clouds in the blue sky, I was standing in the yard enjoying the sunshine and feeling particularly happy. I thought back on the past several decades, how in order to make others look up to me I had struggled to make money and thus lived in misery. It was God’s words that led me to establish a correct view on life and gave me a new life direction. At this moment, I couldn’t help but cast my mind back to my childhood …
Feeling hurt in my young heart, I pursued to become rich.
I was born into an ordinary family. My father was a low-paid worker and had to support a family of six, so we lived a poor life. Therefore, the relatives and friends all looked down upon us. At that time, I made a vow: When I grow up, I must work hard to make money and become a rich person, and I will no longer let others look down on me.
When I was fifteen, I began to pick up cinders and coals for the village coal mine. Though I was young and weak, every day I, carrying a bamboo basket, constantly went back and forth through the mountains to scrounge for coals. Every night, I came back home feebly, and my arms were so hurt that I didn’t want to raise them. I didn’t want to eat anything, and only wanted to have a long sleep. This work was too tiring and hard, and I really wanted to quit it, but thinking of the monthly salary of 60 or 70 yuan, I endured the pain and went back to work the next day.
Picking up coals was not only tiring but dangerous too. Sometimes when the mining carts dumped their loads of coals, we had to immediately run aside, otherwise we might be hit by the falling coals. Once, I saw with my own eyes that a falling coal hit my companion on the head and he knocked out on the ground at once, and I was struck dumb by that scene. Fortunately, he’d made it to the hospital in time and escaped the danger of death after treatment. After that, I was constantly worrying that such an accident would befall me someday, but I still refused to give up this job, as I didn’t have any other way to make money. I thought then: “These days, only having money can bring the admiration of others. No pain, no gain. As long as I keep working hard, I will stand a chance of changing my financial situation and sooner or later, I will live a wealthy life.” Therefore, I bit the bullet and continued working.
Despite my struggles, I still failed to get my wish.
Afterward, I often vomited, and felt dizzy and chest pains, and my body was very weak. After an examination in the hospital, the doctor said that overwork left me with joint problems — cervical spondylosis. I had no choice but to stop work and rest. After I had just got better, I dragged my sick body back to collect coals and kept working from dawn to dusk for another three years. Later, in order to make more money, I learned how to fry bread sticks in a grain distribution station. Then I started a business selling fried bread sticks, my mother sold her homemade tofu and my father got a higher salary. Our life became a little better off, and that year we built my younger brother a house for his marriage. All these toils finally earned us admiration from the neighbors and friends. When I saw how much I earned per day, I was quite pleased, and felt that I was getting closer and closer to the life of a moneyed individual.
Afterward, I got married. I’d always wanted to live a prosperous life, but my health became worse and worse, to the point that I didn’t have the strength to turn the millstone. I received treatments for my cervical spondylosis, such as acupuncture, cupping and cervical traction, but the illness came and went, never thoroughly cured. Seeing that others lived a life of affluence, I thought: “Am I really supposed not to make big money this lifetime? No, I must keep working.”
After some time passed, my health improved somewhat. I initially wanted to continue selling fried bread sticks, but I was too weak and couldn’t bear the smell of frying. Therefore, I started to sell pancakes, and was in this business for several years; I often stayed up late and smelt the coal. Afterward, one day, when I was making pancakes, I suddenly got sick and ran to vomit out the door. Unexpectedly, I vomited blood. Having no choice, I had to stop work again. Thinking of how the money my husband earned was just enough to cover our living expenses, I, who was so ambitious, cried out in the heart, “Why is my fate that hard? I just want to be a rich person and live a fantastic, dignified life. Why is it that I cannot realize this dream? Heavens, I live so painfully. How should I live? …”
The sufferings from the illness and the lack of money made me exhausted both physically and mentally. I felt life was so tiring. I was constantly depressed, and every day was painful to me.
God’s words revealed the root of my suffering.
Later, I accepted God’s work in the last days. I saw God’s words saying, “‘Money makes the world go round’ is the philosophy of Satan and it prevails among the whole of mankind, among every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been instilled into the heart of every single person and is now affixed in their heart. … Regardless of how much experience someone has with this saying, what’s the negative effect that it can have on someone’s heart? Something is revealed through the human disposition of the people in this world, including each and every one of you. How is this interpreted? It’s the worship of money. Is it hard to get this out of someone’s heart? It is very hard! It seems that Satan’s corruption of man is thorough indeed! So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly. … Satan corrupts man at all times and at all places. Satan makes it impossible for man to defend against this corruption and makes man helpless to it. Satan makes you accept its thoughts, its viewpoints and the evil things that come from it in situations where you are unwitting and when you have no recognition of what’s happening to you. People fully accept these things and take no exception to them. They cherish and hold these things like a treasure, they let these things manipulate them and toy with them, and this is how Satan’s corruption of man becomes deeper and deeper.”
God’s words thoroughly revealed the views that I’d had on what to pursue all these years. It turned out that such views as “Money makes the world go round,” “No pain, no gain” were wrong views that Satan had instilled in me. These satanic rules of life had been rooted deep within my heart, so that since I was little, I regarded money as precious and treated becoming a rich person as the proper goal for my life. I thought that only struggling to become a rich person meant having ambitions, and that only living this way had value and meaning. As a result, I worked so hard to the extent that I made myself sick, causing myself to suffer physically and mentally and feel deeply tormented.
Thinking back over all these years, I had been so harmed by Satan’s poisons, and had always pursued to make good money and earn others’ admiration. When I was fifteen, I began to pick up coals from dawn to dusk like an adult. However hard or tiring it was, I forced myself to go on. Even though I might encounter the danger of being injured by falling coals, I insisted on doing that job. Though I’d had cervical spondylosis for the sake of making money, I still dragged my sick body to sell fried bread sticks and pancakes. Not until I drove myself to collapse did I finally halt the progress of my pursuit of money. And since I could no longer realize my dream of becoming rich due to being stricken with illness, I always worried about financial gains and losses, feeling pain and torment all the time. Now I realized that all these sufferings were because I accepted Satan’s wrong views, stubbornly careened down the wrong path of pursuing money and didn’t cherish my own life in the slightest. I saw clearly that pursuing to become wealthy and live better than others is not the correct view on life, and it’s only Satan’s insidious trick of corrupting and harming man.
Then how can we establish a correct view on life and live a life of meaning and value? I saw God’s words saying, “If one views life as an opportunity to experience the Creator’s sovereignty and come to know His authority, if one sees one’s life as a rare chance to perform one’s duty as a created human being and to fulfill one’s mission, then one will necessarily have the correct outlook on life, will live a life blessed and guided by the Creator, will walk in the light of the Creator, know the Creator’s sovereignty, come under His dominion, become a witness to His miraculous deeds and to His authority.” “After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God.”
The Creator brought us into this world in order for us to worship Him, and gives us an opportunity of experiencing and knowing His sovereignty and authority. That is what we should pursue and the true life goal for us. Yet the views “Money makes the world go round,” and “No pain, no gain” are the fallacies of Satan. These wrong views can only make us merely care about money but fail to know how to worship God and live out the likeness of a real man, with the result that we become ever more distant from God and miss the chance of knowing the Creator in our whole life. Moreover, I also understood that how much money one has in his lifetime is preordained by God. I should let things take their course with making money, and learn to obey the Creator’s sovereignty and arrangements; besides, I shall experience His authority and sovereignty in all things in my life, pursue the truth and perform the duty of a created being, and obtain His praise. Only then will my life have value and I will live with dignity and character.
Relying on God to overcome Satan’s temptation, I saw God’s blessings.
Once, an acquaintance met me and offered to teach me how to raise mushrooms. Hearing her say it was profitable stirred my heart, and I thought: “That’s a rare good chance. I’ve tried very hard to find a good way to get rich but failed. Now the opportunity is knocking at the door. If I lose it, maybe I won’t have such a good chance again.” So I consulted her earnestly and learned all the details about raising mushrooms. Yet after she left, I felt a battle being waged in my heart: “Should I raise mushrooms or not? If I don’t do this, it’s a pity to lose this good chance of making money, but if I do, I can’t take such work in the grip of disease. Am I really to exchange my life for money?” Just as I was struggling, I thought of God’s words, “Remain quiet in My presence and live according to My word, and you will indeed remain watchful and exercise discernment in the spirit. When Satan arrives, you will be able to guard against it at once, as well as sense its coming; you will sense real uneasiness in your spirit. The current work of Satan adjusts to the changes of trends. When people behave foolishly and lack watchfulness, they will remain in captivity.” God’s words instantly made me understand that the trend of making money was Satan’s scheme of swallowing me and making me shun God. It arrogantly wanted to use my desire for money to bind me again, so that I would get worse and even die of the illness. I would no longer be Satan’s fool. And I also thought of how, in order to be rich and admired by others, I worked desperately hard to make money and suffered so much all these years, but after I began following God, I knew from His words that whether a man will be poor or rich is ruled by God and up to Him. I wished only to obey His sovereignty and arrangements and should be content with having sufficient food and clothing, and I mustn’t struggle to make money in spite of my illness, for it wasn’t worth it. When I came to this realization, I turned down my acquaintance’s offer, and I felt much more at ease and relaxed.
Afterward, my younger brother’s factory needed a stoker. My husband got that job, and the salary is enough for the whole family to live on. What’s more, I haven’t developed cervical spondylosis from then on. In ordinary life, when I see others make good money, I’m able to face it calmly and no longer worry about whether I can become a rich person. Through my experience, I’ve deeply appreciated that whether we be poor or rich and whether it be disaster or blessing that we encounter, they are not decided or controlled by ourselves but are preordained and ruled by God. Only by transforming our wrong views of pursuit, obeying God’s orchestrations and worshiping Him can we escape from Satan’s harm and live a happy life. I’m willing to repay God’s love and comfort His heart in my future fulfillment of my duty. All the glory be to God! Amen!
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