I once read a story about a farmer who worked in his fields from dawn to dusk every day, but due to the poor soil he always gained a bad harvest. Later on, an angel told him to start running, because all the fields he passed would belong to him. Hearing this, he was overjoyed and then started to run desperately. After running a long distance, he felt very tired and wanted to stop. However, he suddenly thought of his wife and children and giving his family a richer life, so he kept running. Afterward, he was so exhausted that he almost had no strength to go farther, but when he thought about how he needed something to fall back on in his old age, he forced himself to continue. As a result, not long after that, he fell to the ground and that was the end of him.
After reading this story, we may think this farmer was too stupid, because the land is vast and no man can run to the end of it. He forfeited his life because of his greedy desires. Though a lot of people might feel pity for the farmer, in reality there is no lack of people doing the same stupid thing as him. For example, for the sake of their livelihoods and more material enjoyment, many people struggle hard and rush around without stopping. In the end, they lose their precious lives just to satisfy endless desires. Living in this dazzling world of materialism and debauchery, each of us faces a great many temptations. In order to spend our days in comfort and enjoy a better life, we desperately make lots of money and never stop. However, no matter how much wealth we have, when we are about to die then what use will it be? The following protagonist was an example of this. She was unable to refuse the temptations of such a dazzling world. And for the purpose of living a better life than others, she was not satisfied with what she had gained at all and kept rushing about, unable to stop. In the end, she almost lost her life.
She was born in a mountainous region and lived a poor life since childhood. Therefore, she desired to grow up quickly so that she could leave there to live a life of riches as soon as possible. When she was 17 years old, she left the poor mountain village with her cousin and went to a flourishing city to pursue her dream life. Through an introduction by her cousin, she met her boyfriend and got married to him later. But after two years, she was unwilling to continue living an ordinary life and all she thought about was how to have a better life where she was above others. She stubbornly thought, “I may be poor but I can still be ambitious. So long as I work hard to make more money, someday I will achieve my dream.” Afterward, she borrowed some money from her relatives to open a small food store and gradually her life got better, but she was not satisfied. She saw other store owners earn a lot of money and enjoy a good life through selling jade products, and she admired them so much. So she started to learn to carve jade. Because jade breaks easily when carved, she suffered many cuts to her hands. But she was not discouraged, and every time she continued to work after getting her wounds patched up in the hospital. In order to make more money, she was unwilling to spare a moment to rest in the daytime, and moreover, in the evening she would work overtime. She kept working like this for over ten years. Every day she was exhausted; her back ached and her legs were always in pain. Because of years of toil, she suffered from cervical spondylosis. Sometimes her neck was so painful that she couldn’t dress herself or comb her hair. But she only took some medicine to relieve her pain. She thought, “If I can make a lot of money, it is worth losing my life.” So in order to realize her dream of leading a lavish lifestyle, living in a luxury house and driving around in an expensive car, though she got ill through overwork, she was loath to stop. Afterward, she opened her own jade store. Every day, she was busy working until midnight, and years of hard work finally got the results she wanted: She became one of the rich in her hometown, and lived the life she’d dreamed of. Relatives and neighbors looked at her admiringly, saying that she was capable and was a typically successful career woman. She was proud of that.
In 2013, a friend of hers bore witness to God’s work into her, but she didn’t care at all. She thought, “Now is the best time to do business and make a fortune. As for belief in God, I’ll consider it later.” Her friend’s advice didn’t make an impression on her heart in the least. Under the reign of her greedy heart, she was unable to stop her pursuit of money, and still busied herself doing business every day, going out early and returning late. Without realizing it, she was always tired out and her entire body was limp and weak. Then one day she had a serious discharge of blood, so her husband hurried her to a hospital. After an examination, she was discovered to have terminal cancer. When she heard the unexpected and terrible news, she couldn’t believe it at all and so had another examination. But the result was still the same. In that moment, she was stunned. Her husband begged the doctor to operate on her, no matter how much money they would have to pay. But the doctor said with a sigh, “It’s too late. Now she is too weak to have an operation. If she doesn’t have the operation, she can live for two more months.” Hearing this, her husband and son both cried for her. Only when faced with death did she see that life is so fragile and vulnerable, and that no matter how much money she had, it was unable to save her. Faced with the facts, she eventually came to realize that though money could give her a rich life and an abundance of material comforts and compliments, it was powerless before death, and that her hustle and bustle all her life was going to result in the loss of her life. Tortured, she began to lament how she’d pursued a worthless life, and how she’d devoted everything to making money but was still going to meet such a brutal end. She couldn’t help feeling life was really empty. At the thought of being on the verge of death lying on a hospital bed, she couldn’t refrain from bursting into tears. Later, after coming back home from the hospital, she suddenly recalled what her friend had told her—Almighty God is performing the work of salvation on earth. Being so helpless, she desired to see her friend again and learn more about God’s work.
Thank Almighty God for His love. Her friend really did come to see her, which made her a little surprised. Her friend asked her with concern, “Are you now willing to come back before God?” She felt warm in her heart, and said, “Yes, I am.” Then her friend read a passage of God’s words to her, “Almighty God, the Head of all things, wields His kingly power from His throne. He rules over the universe and all things and He is guiding us on the whole earth. We shall often be close to Him, and come before Him in quietness; never shall we miss a single moment, and there are things to learn at all times. The environment around us as well as the people, matters and objects, all are permitted by His throne. Do not have a complaining heart, or God will not bestow His grace upon you. When sickness happens it is due to, and His good intentions are surely behind it. Even when your body endures suffering, take no ideas from Satan. Praise God in the midst of illness and enjoy God in the midst of your praise. Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking and never give up, and God shall shine His light on you. How faithful was Job? Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. If you have but one breath, God will not let you die” (“The Sixth Utterance”). Her friend fellowshiped, “God’s words tell us that ‘Almighty God is an all-powerful physician,’ so in the face of illness, we should have faith to rely on God, entrust our lives to God, and let God arrange our lives and deaths.” When she heard God’s words, it was as if she’d been thrown a lifeline; she’d instantly found the support she needed, and in her heart she felt extremely comforted. Tears welled up in her eyes. She was willing to put her life into God’s hands, obey God’s domination and arrangements, and face it all calmly.
Afterward, she actively attended gatherings, and optimistically faced each day. In addition, she entrusted her illness to God, obeyed God’s control and arrangements, and no longer worried about it. She read some of God’s words that say, “People spend their lives chasing after money and fame; they clutch at these straws, thinking they are their only means of support, as if by having them they could keep on living, could exempt themselves from death. But only when they are close to dying do they realize how distant these things are from them, how weak they are in the face of death, how easily they shatter, how lonely and helpless they are, with nowhere to turn. They realize that life cannot be bought with money or fame, that no matter how wealthy a person is, no matter how lofty his or her position is, all people are equally poor and inconsequential in the face of death. They realize that money cannot buy life, that fame cannot erase death, that neither money nor fame can lengthen a person’s life by a single minute, a single second. The more people feel this way, the more they yearn to keep on living; the more people feel this way, the more they dread the approach of death. Only at this point do they truly realize that their lives do not belong to them, are not theirs to control, and that one has no say over whether one lives or dies, that all of this lies outside of one’s control.” “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. Needless to say, such a person will necessarily be loved and accepted by the Creator …” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). After reading God’s words, she came to a sudden realization: What God’s words revealed was exactly a true portrayal of her. In the past, in order to live a better life and have others think highly of her, she worked desperately hard to make money. In her heart, money was always first, and for the sake of it she was willing to suffer anything. However, whenin the last days came to her, she took it too lightly. She rejected it and kept away from God. All the time, she kept rushing about for money. Under the domination of those wrong thoughts like “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing” and “One can be without anything but money,” she had never been able to set aside her pursuit of money. Just like that farmer, she was insatiably avaricious, and even though she got ill due to overwork, she was still unwilling to rest, with the result that she ruined her health. When death approached her, she sought to use her money to buy survival, but it failed to save her. So, she could only wait for death. Only at that time did she start to regret her desire for a luxurious life and realize what she had pursued in the past was empty. She finally awakened, and she pledged that she wouldn’t be a slave to money and would devote the rest of her life to God. After that, she sincerely prayed to God and eagerly read God’s words every day; moreover, she began to perform hosting duty. She also gathered with the brothers and sisters to read and fellowship God’s words. Gradually, she got better. To contribute more of the little that she had, she also went to spread the gospel and bore witness to God’s salvation of the last days to her relatives and friends.
Several months later, the deadline of two months said by the doctor had passed and she didn’t feel any discomfort. After a reexamination in the hospital, she was told that her cancer had miraculously disappeared. That made her so excited that she couldn’t help bursting into tears. Never had she expected that she, who was diagnosed to die soon, would gain God’s great salvation. She was full of gratitude toward God. In her experience, she truly felt that her fate and life were controlled by God’s hands. And she was clear that it was Almighty God who gave her a second life, and that only God was her Savior. Contemplating God’s love, she didn’t know how to express her gratitude to God. Meanwhile, she felt a lot of remorse for her past. When God sent her friend to spread the gospel to her, she’d paid no attention to God’s salvation and hadn’t taken it seriously, stubbornly thinking that “Money makes the world go round” and greedily indulging in the pursuit of money. Though she persisted in her erroneous ways, when her body reached its limit God still didn’t abandon her, and stretched forth His loving hands to her again. She awakened eventually, and learned how to live a meaningful and valuable life. She resolved to do her best to follow God, seek to know God, and perform her duty to repay His immense love. She also deeply experienced that if someone doesn’t obey the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements, but instead relies on Satan’s laws to live by, they can only bring pain and destruction on themselves. And in the end they will become a prisoner of Satan and a slave to money, thus ruining their whole life. Just as God’s words say, “God is man’s only Lord, God is the only Master of human fate, and so it is impossible for man to dictate his own fate, impossible for him to surpass it. No matter how great one’s abilities, one cannot influence, much less orchestrate, arrange, control, or change the fates of others. Only the unique God Himself dictates all things for man, for only He possesses the unique authority that holds sovereignty over human fate; and so only the Creator is man’s unique Master. God’s authority holds sovereignty not only over created humanity, but over non-created beings that no human can see, over the stars, over the cosmos. This is an indisputable fact, a fact that truly exists, which no human or thing can change. If one of you is still dissatisfied with things as they stand, believing that you have some special skill or ability, and still thinking you can get lucky and change your present circumstances or else escape them; if you attempt to change your own fate by means of human effort, and thereby stand out from others and win fame and fortune; then I say to you, you are making things hard for yourself, you are only asking for trouble, you are digging your own grave! One day, sooner or later, you will discover that you made the wrong choice, that your efforts were wasted. Your ambition, your desire to struggle against fate, and your own egregious conduct, will lead you down a road of no return, and for this you will pay a bitter price” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
Her experience is worth reflecting on. If we lust and chase after money like her, maybe we will make much money and gain both fame and wealth, but when we are faced with death, they can never be exchanged for our precious lives. Without the truth, we have no resistance at all to the enticements of the world of sensual pleasures, so we will be easily captured by Satan. If you don’t want to be like that farmer or like the protagonist who didn’t wake up until she was about to die, you must be smart enough to make the wise choice after pondering all this.
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