By Li Ke
I read a small story on the Internet which is very connotational:
If the top stroke is deleted from the Chinese character “我” (wo, “I”), it will turn into another word, the Chinese character “找” (zhao, “find”). In order to get that one stroke back, the Chinese character for the word I asked many people, “What may that one stroke deleted from me refer to?” They said it was money, power, reputation, honor, salaries, grades, or anything else …
This story actually describes our real life. Since we came into this world, we have been drawn into a whirlpool of fame, gain, honor, power, and money. Businessmen chase after money; soldiers after honor; politicians after power; stars after popularity; workers after high salaries; students after good marks; … We give everything to obtain these things we have hoped for. Simultaneously, we also learn how to observe others’ reactions carefully, flatter someone, scheme and intrigue against each other; sometimes we even betray our own personality and dignity to win the bargaining chips to work our way up. Just like that, “I,” who was innocent originally, lost my self gradually …
Often Pursuing Fame, Gain, and Money Involuntarily
We all sigh that, the pursuit of fame and gain, money makes us lose health and pleasure, and also say remorsefully: “Had I known it would injure my health, I would have preferred not to choose fame and gain.” However, in fact, when we were still healthy, we were not necessarily being content with ordinary happiness. When we see others living in mansions and driving luxury cars, how can we care nothing about it in our hearts? As a result, we chase after fame, gain and money in spite of ourselves frequently. Fame and gain are like a magic magnet, which makes us have to rush around for them uncontrollably. But at last, we find after obtaining money, fame and gain, it cannot lead us to find our lost selves. Instead, it makes us get lost farer and farer …
God’s word says: “Fame and fortune one gains in the material world give one temporary satisfaction, passing pleasure, a false sense of ease, and make one lose one’s way. And so people, as they thrash about in the vast sea of humanity, craving peace, comfort, and tranquility of heart, are subsumed again and again beneath the waves. When people have yet to figure out the questions that it is most crucial to understand—where they come from, why they are alive, where they are going, and so forth—they are seduced by fame and fortune, misled, controlled by them, irrevocably lost. Time flies; years pass in an eyeblink; before one realizes it, one has bid farewell to the best years of one’s life” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
Chasing after money and fame all year round, though we have obtained material enjoyment and dazzling halos, we are exhausted physically and mentally, disease-ridden, and full of pain. We feel tired and weary. Once, we tried to shake them off, and wanted to stop for a moment to enjoy the view, or ramble about in the mountains with our family, enjoying refreshing breeze, so as to seek the peace in our hearts, or play with our children in the garden to enjoy a life without care or worry. However, money and fame whet our appetite like decoys, which causes us always to seek after them involuntarily as before, unable to stop or give up…. Unconsciously, as the years passed one after another, we have lost our selves, without knowing where the self was, much less how to get it back.
How to Find My Disorientated Self?
Occasionally, when I read a passage of the, I suddenly saw the light, and came to fully understand the puzzle of human life, “Only when people actually reach this point do they realize that the first thing one must understand, when one sets foot on this earth, is where human beings come from, why people are alive, who dictates human fate, who provides for and has sovereignty over human existence. These are the true assets in life, the essential basis for human survival, not learning how to provide for one’s family or how to achieve fame and wealth, not learning how to stand out from the crowd or how to live a more affluent life, much less learning how to excel and to compete successfully against others. Though the various survival skills that people spend their lives mastering can offer an abundance of material comforts, they never bring one’s heart true peace and consolation, but instead make people constantly lose their direction, have difficulty controlling themselves, miss every opportunity to learn the meaning of life; and they create an undercurrent of trouble about how to properly face death. In this way, people’s lives are ruined. The Creator treats everyone fairly, giving everyone a lifetime’s worth of opportunities to experience and know His sovereignty, yet it is only when death draws near, when the specter of death hangs over one, that one begins to see the light—and then it is too late.” “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” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
We originally came from God, but Satan binds, deceives, and seduces us by using fame and gain. Many varieties of Satan’s ideas and viewpoints such as “getting ahead” and “striving to be better than everyone else” penetrate our hearts, which makes us grow further and further apart from God. Consequently, we no longer know what the likeness of a real man is, how we should live a true life, and how we should establish a proper life perspective and value system. Unconsciously, our lives are ruined in this way. We miss the opportunity to know God and learn the meaning of life, so that we have nothing but endless dread and unrest at the time of our deaths. The Creator arranging for us to come into the world is not to let us pursue wealth and material enjoyment, or struggle for fame and gain, but to experience God’s sovereignty, obey God’s arrangements, and pursue the knowledge of God to bear witness for His deeds. This is the life journey which God has arranged for each of us, and moreover it is the mission of each and every person. Only in this way can we live a most valuable, significant and legitimate life.
Only God is the truth, the way, and the life. Only God can show the direction of our progress, and guide us toward the light. Only after we come under the Creator’s dominion can we retrieve our lost selves. Only then will we walk on the right path of life from a state of perplexity and indecision over the road ahead!
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