“You only know to earn money! For the sake of making more, you’ve been crippled by overwork. Now, the disease costs your money. And to top it off, you have to endure suffering. If you’re really paralyzed, then even though you have a great deal of money, what use would it be? Have you ever thought about this? You always are bustling about, but what you have gained is just outweighed by what you have lost!”
After saying these words to Xinyue in a mixture of anxiety and anger, Xinyue’s husband walked off, slamming the door behind him, leaving her alone sitting on the sofa, crying tears of grievance. Touching her swollen knees, which, whether being stretched or bent, made her hurt so much, thinking about what her husband had just said, she felt her heart was almost broken. She wondered, “For more than twenty years I’ve been constantly bustling about. Am I doing this so that our family can have a better life, our daughter can attend a good school and we can live happily when we’re old? Why do you not understand me?”
With her arms holding her knees, Xinyue curled up in the sofa, gently sobbing in pain. She remembered that some time before, when she went to have her knees examined in Beijing, the doctor had said, “You have chondromalacia patellae. It is due to lack of timely treatment and enough rest after you were injured. You’d better take good care of your knees, or you’ll have to spend more than 200,000 yuan changing them into artificial ones. And there’s no guarantee that this operation will be a success. Once it doesn’t work, then you’ll have to live in a wheelchair in the future.”
With these words, she couldn’t help but give a shudder. She dared not imagine how it would be if the rest of her life was lived in an invalid chair. Scene after scene appeared before her eyes when she rushed around fighting for life …
In the 1990s, the wave of China’s reform and opening up was surging. Seeing her colleagues quit their jobs and went into business one after another, she, then in her 30s, was thinking of doing the same thing. At that time, she and her husband both had their “iron rice bowls,” but a monthly salary of two or three hundred yuan was so pitiful in her eyes, and they couldn’t even get paid in full. She wasn’t content to live an ordinary life. Therefore, despite her husband’s disapproval, she resolutely chose to retain her position with her salary suspended and go into business, with the belief that “Money makes the world go round” and only money can give her a happy life.
She has a good head for business. She found out that there were no formal dress stores by the streets of the township where she was, so she seized the opportunity and ran the first dress store on the street. From the very beginning, the business was very popular, her daily income equaling her monthly salary. She managed her store carefully and worked every day from morning till night. And she even often skipped breakfast and hurried to her store. Except when she went to stock, she seldom left there, regarding there as her home.
She suffered most when it’s time to buy stock in the markets of other places. Other storekeepers purchased only clothes in the special market so it wouldn’t tire themselves out. However, she was different from them. She purchased kinds of goods in several markets, including clothes, shoes and various knit goods. So she had to walk much more than others in the limited time to get all she wanted. By the time she finished stocking, she’d be exhausted and drenched in sweat and even break into a sweat in winter. But in order to make money, she never complained about the hardship no matter how much she suffered.
Sometimes she felt she paid excessive attention to the store, and neglected her husband and daughter, so she tried to spare time to cook for them to make up for her debt toward them. Once, she was going to replenish her stocks in other places and set out at dusk. When she found there was still some time left, she hurriedly rode her bicycle to the market to buy some vegetables for the purpose of preparing her husband and daughter the meals for the next day. However, because she rode too fast, and made a sharp turn at the store, she fell off her bicycle, kneeling on the concrete. Losing her balance, she suddenly hit her head onto the mound in front of the store. When picking herself up with difficulty, she felt her knees were a little uncomfortable; but finding no superficial injuries, she didn’t mind it and rode off in haste.
When she came back from the markets of other places, her knees were rather uncomfortable, but she would ignore it as long as she got to work. Bit by bit, she forgot her knees injuries, only busying herself in the store. From then on, resulting from no timely treatment, the injuries to her knees left their mark on her: Whenever she went to stock and walked too much, her legs would be swollen and aching for quite a few days. Later, no matter how much she walked, she would have a piercing pain in her knees, and she also limped. She had no option but to go to examine them in a hospital. Then she was informed that her knees had been hurt very seriously and that she could not overwork any more or else she’d likely become paralyzed. She couldn’t accept what the doctor said, and was reluctant to give up her business while it was so popular. The desire of earning more money was like a fire burning in her heart. And she felt she was sucked into a vortex, with no strength to fight or rid herself of it.
After calming down a bit, Xinyue, curling herself up on the sofa, stopped weeping. Holding her knees with her arms, she couldn’t help but ask herself, “What have I actually gained after keeping busy so long? Nothing but money? For the sake of making a profit, I cared for nothing, and even when my knees were injured, I didn’t give them timely treatment, with the result that now I’ve got patellar chondromalacia, and might even spend the rest of my life in an invalid chair. I’m so young and I’m not willing to live such a painful life. What should I do?”
With no aim or direction ahead, Xinyue felt her life uncertain. And she felt like a boat drifting anywhere on the sea, unable to find a beacon in her life.
Just as she lost hope for life and lived in agony and confusion,came upon her. She was seated quietly in front of the checkout counter, gazing at the open book of on the table. She was deeply moved by this passage of God’s word, “In truth, out of the myriad things in God’s creation, man is the lowest. Though he is the master of all things, man is the only one among them that is subject to Satan’s trickery, the only one that falls prey in endless ways to its corruption. Man has never had sovereignty over himself. Most people live in the foul place of Satan, and suffer its derision; it teases them this way and that till they are half alive, enduring every vicissitude, every hardship in the human world. After toying with them, Satan puts an end to their destiny. And so people go through their whole lives in a daze of confusion, never once enjoying the good things that God has prepared for them, but instead being damaged by Satan and left in tatters. Today they have become so enervated and listless that they simply have no inclination to take notice of God’s work.”
And the words, said by the sister whom she just showed out of her store, echoed in her ears, “God created all things for us mankind to enjoy and made us the master of all things. He hopes we live happily. However, Satan tries every means and methods to tempt and corrupt us, making us leave the care of God and live in its deception. The sayings, ‘Money makes the mare go,’ and ‘Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,’ are all Satan’s lies. It uses these lies to deceive us, causing us to view money as very important, and think money is everything and that when we’re rich, we’ll be able to stand tall and proud and speak loudly. Therefore, in order to earn more money, we’ll never balk at anything, even our lives. Slowly, we are trapped deeper and deeper into Satan’s scheme, and are sucked into the vortex of money before we know it. As a result, we lose our direction of life, and are fooled by Satan so much that we become tired both physically and mentally and even get a serious disease. Finally, we’ll be devoured by Satan. This is its evil intention.”
Reading God’s words and thinking over her sister’s fellowship, Xinyue felt as if a shaft of light fell on to her heart and brightened her. She finally came to understand the root cause of her suffering was all due to Satan, and that it was Satan that made her go to any lengths to pursue wealth. At last, she did own lots of money but ruined her health. She sighed with emotion in her heart, “If I really have to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, what can I do with the large sum of money?” So she decided to bid farewell to the days of her living for money.
From then on, Xinyue became a Christian. She began to lead the church life: reading God’s words together with her brothers and sisters and communicating about their understanding and experiences of God’s words. Seeing that the brothers and sisters were like a family, helping each other without deals and opening up to each other without craftiness, she felt unheard-of ease and pleasure. She often prayed to God, willing to entrust the rest of her life to God and accept God’s orchestration and arrangements. In addition, she did her duty to the utmost in the church.
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