By Zhang Ming
In the evening, lying in bed in the hospital and taking intravenous drips, Zhang Ming opened his eyes slowly and saw his wife watching at his bedside. He felt a bit of pain in his hand and he stretched his fingers. Then he realized he was getting fluids in a hospital.
Ming’s wife saw him open his eyes and said excitedly: “Finally you have awoken. I am so worried. You already have a stomach problem, and you still drank so much, are you tired of living?”
Ming tried to smile and said: “I had to do that. If I didn’t entertain them, they would say I was not sincere. In that case, we would not make money through this project and would not be able to repay the money we borrowed.”
His wife shook her head and sighed: “You care more about money than your life. It will take a long time for you to recuperate from gastrorrhagia.”
Ming got upset: “To make money from the project, I flattered those officials through servility and shamelessness. Even though I have lost my integrity and dignity, I haven’t made any money yet, and have to borrow money to entertain those people. When will it end?” He looked up toward the ceiling and sighed: “God! Why is it so hard to be rich?”
In the quiet night, dim street light coming through the window of the ward, Ming laid in bed and recalled:
Attain Tricks Stepping Into the Business World
Ming came to the city from country when he was young. Looking for a lucrative business, he wandered on the street. Seeing a restaurant with a sign posted: “Prime Location, Transfer at Low Price,” he couldn’t wait to take over the restaurant and prepared to fight and fulfill his “dream.” However the business was not good, the restaurant was so quiet that he couldn’t even pay the rent. Ming got anxious like ants on the hot pan and didn’t know what to do. Seeing other restaurants booming, he wondered: “Why are they so busy? Do they have any tricks to do business?” After talking with them, he learned that they regularly gave gifts to the relevant leaders and had meals with them every month to keep relations, so that their business was booming. Knowing this tip, Ming thought: “Isn’t it without human dignity to court the officers so lowly?” But he thought again, “It’s common nowadays and if I don’t do that, the restaurant may be shut down, let alone make money. As the saying goes ‘Those who give gifts to officials are not struck by them, and those who do not flatter accomplish nothing.’ For better business, I will do this.” Then he started to shamelessly visit the leaders of the cotton company, the motor factory and the flour mill nearby. He invited them to eat, gave them good cigarettes and wine, and also allowed their families to eat and drink in the restaurant for free. His purpose was for them to recommend customers. The trick worked and the nearby institutions came to Ming’s restaurant when they had guests to treat. Gradually the restaurant became “booming.” Holding lots of money, Ming thought: “The saying, ‘Those who give gifts to officials are not struck by them, and those who do not flatter accomplish nothing’ is so true. To make more money, that’s the way to do business.” However, four years later, due to the poor efficiency of those companies nearby, Ming couldn’t get the debts back from them and had to transfer the restaurant to others.
Sucked Into the Vortex and Got Lost
Later Ming discovered the real estate industry can make money and then he started a real estate business. Soon, Ming fancied a piece of land on a main road in an urban area. He thought: “The location of that piece of land is good and it will make lots of money to build houses on the land. In this case, I can enjoy the carefree life of the rich in the near future.” Because of lack of funds, Ming cooperated with one of his good friends and they tried everything possible to get that piece of land. Hearing that area was under the jurisdiction of a certain village, Ming invited the leader of the village to wine and dine in fancy restaurants, drink tea, and go to KTV and dancing bars. He also gave the village chief 50000 RMB in envelope privately. After approval processes of construction, planning, auditing, supervisory, designing and other regulators, Ming had paid around 400 thousand and it was expected to not make much money after the project was completed. In the construction, Ming could only cheat on the material to make more money, like using cheap sand and rebars with bad quality. Later, the supervisory department came to check and said the steel was not qualified which was more likely to cause deformation of the structure of the houses and needed reworking. Hearing this, Ming’s head reeled and he felt dizzy. He thought: “It’s bad; I have already invested more than 400 thousand for the project. If I rework, won’t this money be wasted? How could it make money?” Ming used flattering talk on the regulator and asked if there were any remedies, but he was declined. Ming had to think of other ways out. Later he got the news that the father of the head of the supervisory department got sick in the hospital and the head was quite filial. Ming was so happy to get this information and quickly went to the hospital and visited the father of the head with an envelope of 5,000 RMB. After this, he also sent the father some supplements every a few days. After this, the head came again to check, but with the opposite attitude than before. He suggested: “You can add some qualified steel and just make it get by superficially. No need to rework.” At that time, Ming’s heart finally calmed down and he thought there shouldn’t be any more major issues. However little did he know that when the three floors of three units were finished, the regulator would come again and he said: “The mortar joints of the wall had various sizes, the concrete was not poured solidly enough.” The project faced a shutdown and reorganization. Ming knew that they intentionally found fault. To complete the project and make money quickly, Ming had to borrow money and treated them for fun, such as dining, going to KTV and visiting prostitutes in a Sauna once or twice every month. Afterward, he needed to pretend to smile at them and asked if they had fun, and what else they need to be satisfied. Each expense of these activities was around 10 to 20 thousand, which made Ming painful. However he had to flatter them, otherwise the project would be stopped, which would put him in debt, let alone make money. Ming felt that he got on board with corsair and wasn’t able to get off …
Thinking of these things, Ming stayed awake all night …
Waken Up by a Cordial Call
A few days later, Ming was discharged from the hospital. Without discovery, he threw himself into his work on the construction site. One day, Ming was invited to Sister Shi’s house, a friend in business. Sister Shi and her cousin talked about the evil and darkness of the society and how man could only get rid of the affliction of Satan by believing in God. Ming nodded and agreed, but thought: “Surely it’s good to , but at this particular time when it is crucial for the project, I have no time for the meeting.” Ming rejected: “I don’t have time now. When the project finishes, I will come to believe in God.” Then he returned home.
After that Ming was concerned about the project everyday. One day he suddenly felt cold and had fever. After five bottles of drips, his fever still lingered and Ming laid in bed weakly. In the evening, he had a poor appetite and his wife gave him a cup of tea. He managed to sit up and drink the tea. Then his wife gave him a book and said: “Sister Shi asked me to give you this book and said it may be helpful to you and you should read it.”
Ming hesitated, but took the book over and read: “There is an enormous secret in your heart. You never know it there because you have been living in a world without light shining. Your heart and your spirit have been taken away by the evil one. Your eyes are covered by darkness; you cannot see the sun in the sky, nor the twinkling star in the night. Your ears are clogged with deceptive words and you hear not the thunderous voice of Jehovah, nor the sound of the rushing waters from the throne. You have lost everything that should have belonged to you and everything that the Almighty bestowed upon you. You have entered an endless sea of bitterness, with no strength of a rescue, no hope of survival, left only to struggle and to bustle about. … From that moment, you are doomed to be afflicted by the evil one, kept far away from the blessings of the Almighty, out of reach of the provisions of the Almighty, and you embark on a road of no return. A million calls can hardly rouse your heart and your spirit. You sleep deeply in the hands of the evil one, who has lured you into the boundless realm, with no direction, with no road signs. … This is because you have deemed the evil one as your true father, and you no longer can be apart from him. This is the secret in your heart” (“The Sighing of the Almighty”). After reading these words from God, Ming shed tears, because these words expressed his own voice. He was struggling in this boundless sea of misery in the business environment and was caught in the whirlpool of officialdom, hardly being able to extricate himself from it. … In God’s words, Ming shallowly understood that it was because of running away from the Almighty’s care that he suffered all of these things. Ming was deeply attracted by God’s words and he stayed up reading the words until 3 a.m. When he stood up and was about to get some tea, he felt released and the fever was gone unknowingly.
One day, Ming read some God’s words: “Those who are of the devil all live for themselves. Their way of life and guiding maxims are mainly those words that come from Satan like, ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ The words of those fiends, great ones, and philosophers of the earth have become their life. … Satan corrupts people through the education and influence of the national governments and the famous and great. Their lies and nonsense have become man’s life and nature. ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost’ is a well-known satanic saying that has been instilled into everyone and become the human life. There are some other words of life philosophy that are also like this. … ‘Those who give gifts to officials are not struck by them, and those who do not flatter accomplish nothing.’ Isn’t such speech representative of his nature? His nature is not to spare any means for obtaining position; being an official is what gives him life. There are still many satanic poisons in people’s lives and in their conduct and dealings with others—they are almost without a shred of truth—for example, their life philosophies, their maxims for success, or their ways of doing things. Every person is filled with the poisons of the great red dragon, and they all come from Satan. So, what flows through people’s bones and blood are all things of Satan” (“How to Know Man’s Nature”). The words in the book made Ming reflect: “I have strived in the business field for many years and feel so tired, both physically and mentally; it’s all because of Satan’s philosophies. In pursuit of money and to satisfy personal desires, I have learned flattery. To become rich, I shamelessly curried favour with those bosses through bribery, like inviting them for meals, sending red bags, taking them to KTV, and getting ladies for them in a sauna. To make money, I cheated on the materials without conscientiousness and human dignity. I felt myself getting involved in this abyss of evil deeper and deeper and no longer resembled a man. It’s all because I was corrupted by those satanic survival laws, ‘Every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost,’ and ‘Those who give gifts to officials are not struck by them, and those who do not flatter accomplish nothing.’ Now, I haven’t made money, however I was physically broken down. Without the revelation of God’s words, I would have been still played and trampled by Satan in the darkness. Thank God for His mercy and salvation!”
Later, Ming began to attend the church life and found that the Church was a pure land and it was totally different from the world. Here brothers and sisters cared about each other, and accepted each other. They were all equal, without any hierarchy and didn’t need to flatter anyone, let alone monitored other’s expressions, treated others or gave gifts. Brothers and sisters read God’s words together and sang hymns to praise God. Everyone was innocent, candid and honest. Ming felt it was the only pure land where he could find peace and happiness. He more and more liked such life here. Here were some God’s words he read: “My kingdom requires those who are honest, not hypocritical, and not deceitful. Aren’t the sincere and honest people in the world unpopular? I am completely opposite as it. It is acceptable for the honest people to come to Me; I delight in this kind of person, I also need this kind of person. This is precisely My righteousness” (“The Thirty-third Utterance”). God’s words made Ming understand that only God’s house is righteous and fair and God’s disposition is righteous and holy. God likes honest men and hates deceitful people. Therefore, He requests us to be honest and upright men rather than deceitful people who are fraudulent and fake or who is one person in public and another in private. Thinking of himself flattering, playing tricks, and cheating before, Ming realized that all he had done before was what God hated and didn’t satisfy God’s heart. Ming set his mind to God to be an honest man, to pursue the truth and live by God’s words.
Took off the Chains and Got the Freedom
Before long, the project was almost to be finished, however the houses needed to have a final inspection. As usual, the project might be forced to be suspended and Ming wouldn’t get the money if he didn’t give those people gifts. … Ming had butterflies in his heart and he didn’t know what to do. Ming hated the insatiable head officers, but he knew it wouldn’t be solved if he didn’t satisfy them as before. When he thought of this, he felt a bit of unease and self-reproach. He thought about his previous determination he made to God to be an honest and upright man. He couldn’t deceive God. However if he acted according to God’s words and didn’t flatter those people, wouldn’t the efforts to build the houses be wasted? Also he had been working so hard these years and he wasn’t willing to fail to make his desires come true. To finish the project as soon as possible and get the money, Ming finally made a decision to fawn on those people again as before.
On that day, after idling away in seeking pleasure with people from various departments of government, Ming got fever and didn’t get better even after medication and injections. Lying on the bed, Ming thought: “Is that because I didn’t practice what I had promised to God?” He came to God and prayed: “God, now I am suffering sickness and don’t know the reason. Is this because that I didn’t act according to Your words, and still got along with people using Satan’s philosophies which is disgusting to You? God, may You lead and enlighten me, so that I can understand Your heart …” When he was confused, a brother came to see him. Ming told the brother what happened and the brother shared God’s words: “Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at ‘institutes of higher learning.’ The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him. Man’s disposition becomes more vicious by the day, and there is not a single person who will willingly give up anything for God, not a single person who will willingly obey God, nor, moreover, a single person who will willingly seek the appearance of God. Instead, under the domain of Satan, man does nothing but pursue pleasure, giving himself over to the corruption of the flesh in the land of mud. Even when they hear the truth, those who live in darkness give no thought to putting it into practice, nor are they inclined to seek out God even if they have beheld His appearance. How could a mankind so depraved have any chance of salvation? How could a mankind so decadent live in the light?” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God”).
Ming pondered God’s words and thought: To make money, he gave gifts and bribed the people from the supervisory department. Satan just used money as a lure to trample and corrupt him so that he was barely human. He got trapped in the whirlpool of evil and wasn’t able to extricate himself from it. Ming was bound and controlled by Satan’s philosophy “Those who do not flatter accomplish nothing.” To get the project done as soon as possible and make more money to satisfy his own desires, he chose money rather than the truth, had fallen below the minimum standard of humankind and betrayed his integrity and dignity. At that moment, Ming understood God’s mind was to remind him and protect him from the trap through the sickness. He appreciated God in his heart and made a decision that he would no longer use Satan’s philosophies as rules for survival. Rather, he would like to be a conscientious and rational man who lived according to God’s words.
Later when the project was near the end and Ming’s beautiful plan was almost fulfilled, he prepared to relieve himself, another shock came. A construction fee (civil defense) was suddenly introduced by the city government and RMB12 per square foot to protect from a disaster. Ming’s project was more than 8000 square meters and he needed to pay more than 100 thousand. Additionally, the construction cost was also increased by RMB10 per square foot. Before those fees were paid, Ming wouldn’t get the certificates for the houses and they would never be qualified to be sold. The sudden misfortune was poured on Ming like a barrel of cold water and he didn’t know what to do or where to borrow money. His relatives were afraid that Ming would lose money, so they wouldn’t lend any to him. Ming suddenly became very lost in desperation.
Ming came to God and prayed to Him. He told God his difficulties and sought God’s mind. Then he decided to ask his partner to manage the project at the end of the stage. However, he got to know that his partner only gave him thirty percent of the profit when the project was completed. Ming was uncomfortable about that because he had invested a lot into the project and expected to get a good sum, so that his whole family could have a wealthy life; however his efforts and plan was gone. He had managed and been in charge of the project all that time, and he only came to his partner when there was a lack of funds, but his partner enjoyed the harvest easily. When thinking of this, he really wanted to argue with his partner for his unfair portion of the profit, then he suddenly recalled God’s words: “… you must find ways to free yourself from this depraved, carefree life that is no different from an animal’s. You must live out a life of meaning, a life of value, and you must not fool yourself, or treat your life like a toy to be played with. For everyone who aspires to love God, there are no unobtainable truths, and no justice for which they cannot stand firm” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment”). God’s words made Ming understand money cannot buy the real peace and happiness and can only make man more and more corrupt and evil. He saw lots of rich people were unhappy in their life. Even though their desires got satisfied, their hearts were still empty and they still had endless annoyances. Ming understood, even though he made lots of money, he might not be able to live the life he expected. Without the guidance of God’s words, life would be dark with temptation and lures from Satan all the time. Ming knew that if he went to argue with his partner, inevitably he would be trapped in the dirty deal again. Recalling each step he had walked, it was God’s words that allowed him to see the evil and darkness of the official field and also the evil trend of the society. If continuing to get along with those officials for fame and fortune, flattering them as a slave, being slaughtered, played and tricked by them again and again, would it be any human likeness? That was being a flunkey and puppet.
Thinking of this, Ming smiled and decided not to deal with the officials, neither to fuss about the benefits with his partner. No matter how much he got, he would willingly obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements. He only wished to perform his duty and repay during his lifetime.
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