Christian Testimony: Not Taking Unfair Advantage, I Lived Out Integrity and Dignity
In September 2016, I came overseas. Because of the language barrier, it was hard for me to find a house and a job. Several months later, I found a house but still did not have a job. Seeing my money was almost gone, and thinking of the rent and living expenses I had to pay every month, I became more anxious. Fortunately, God arranged a job for me after a while: I found a job making clothes in a factory.
In the blink of an eye, over a month passed. However, I did not get paid, so I started to become anxious. Thinking how I needed my wages to live on, I asked my fellow workers when we got paid. They said, “Our boss is a little stingy. New employees aren’t paid until they have worked for two months.” On hearing this, I had no choice but to wait. A long two months passed, yet I still did not get paid. I was so anxious that one day I went to my boss. That day, my boss finally paid me my first month’s wages, calculated by the number of garments I’d done. It was 930 euros in total.
The next day, I carefully checked my pay slip against my own records twice, and unexpectedly found that my boss had paid me 100 euros too much. Then my heart began a war with itself. I thought: “100 euros is worth about 780 RMB at the current exchange rate. It is a half-month’s salary of an ordinary worker in China, and is also my monthly living expenses.” I turned this over in my mind: “It’d be a waste for me not to keep this easy money. In addition, my boss is usually so stingy. Not only does he pay a low rate for much of the work but also he usually does not pay me for reworking some of the clothes. So I’ll not tell him about the money.” But then I thought: “Is it appropriate for me as a Christian to take the 100 euros for myself?”
Thinking over this matter, I remembered a passage from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life, “For example, you find a few yuan on the street when out walking. Then your mind will struggle with these questions, ‘I have found some money. What should I do? Should I hand it in?’ At this time, Satan’s philosophy in you will surface, ‘Every man for himself, and the devil takes the hindmost.’ And then you’ll think, ‘Why should I hand it in? I’ll just not tell anyone. I’ll keep it for myself.’”
Reflecting on this passage of fellowshipping, I realized that it was because of being guided by my greedy nature that I intended to keep the 100 euros for myself. When I found my boss had overpaid me, I did not want to return it to him, and thought this to be natural because my boss was stingy with us employees. Wasn’t such a manifestation living by Satan’s philosophy of “Every man for himself, and the devil takes the hindmost,” as is revealed in the passage? For 100 euros I would lose my integrity and dignity. At that time, I knew: I should turn my back on my selfishness and desire and not take unfair advantage. I should live out the likeness of a Christian.
However, in the evening, I tossed and turned restlessly in bed, again struggling and wavering over whether to return the 100 euros to my boss. Afterward, I prayed to God about this matter.
After praying, I thought of God’s words, “Everything that happens to people happens when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Though nothing major is happening to you at the moment and you do not bear great testimony, every detail of your daily life is a matter of testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony.” “Honesty means giving your heart to God, being genuine with God in all things, being open with Him in all things, never hiding the facts, not trying to deceive those above and below you, and not doing things only to curry favor with God. In short, to be honest is to be pure in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man.”
Reading these words of God, I understood: God wills me to be an honest person, not to resort to deceit in anything, to speak and act according to His requirements, and to bear witness to Him in everything great or small every day. Thus, that such a thing had happened to me was God testing me. Though it wasn’t a major thing, whenever such a small thing happens to me it’s God testing whether or not I can stand firm in my testimony to Him. As a Christian, if I take money that does not belong to me, this doesn’t conform to the will of God. Though the 100 euros could make life easier, if I took it I’d lose the chance to witness in the presence of God and the likeness of a Christian.
Thinking of this, I came before God again and prayed to Him, “O God! In this matter, I shouldn’t follow my greedy satanic nature. I’m willing to turn my back on my selfish desires and practice the truth in order to satisfy You. Amen!”
Two days later, my boss came to the factory. I told him about the wages and gave him my pay slip. After checking it, he realized that he had indeed calculated my wages wrongly and then he said the excess would be deducted from my next month’s wages. After I put this truth into practice, I felt especially at ease.
Soon, another month passed. My boss’s wife paid me my second month’s wages. However, after getting back home and checking them, I found that she’d paid me a few euros too much. My heart was again at war with itself: This time she’d paid me an excess of only a few euros. Should I tell her? Well, maybe I should just let it go. It was only a few euros, so it would be no big deal not to tell her. But then I thought: “Though a few euros is not much, since it was not earned by my labor, I shouldn’t keep it.” The next day during dinner, I told my boss’s wife what had happened and returned it to her, but she refused it. Then I said to her, “You know I’m a Christian. I can’t take others’ money for myself.” No matter what I said, she still refused it. Eventually, I gave it to her child. After I put this truth into practice, I felt very steady and at peace.
After these two incidents, my boss and his wife were very kind to me. Almost every time they needed to set the piece rate, they would ask for my advice; moreover, they patiently taught me how to do the demanding handwork that I couldn’t originally do. And when they were not in the factory, they would trust me with managing everything. Once, because of my carelessness, I sewed buttons on the wrong side of several garments. Owing to the special material, once this happened the clothes had to be destroyed. And those clothes were urgently needed. Knowing I had made a big mistake, I was very afraid that my boss’s wife would be angry or dock my wages. But contrary to my expectations, she not only was not angry with me, but instead consoled me, “It doesn’t matter. We all make mistakes. Come here. Help me look after my child. I’ll make the garments again as soon as possible. Otherwise, the order will be late.” A few hours later, she finished them. And she did not dock my wages.
Seeing my boss and his wife’s kindness to and care for me, my fellow workers envied me. I knew that I had just practiced the truth to satisfy God according to His words and had then received such good treatment as a reward, and that it was all because God’s words had changed me. Otherwise, with my selfish and greedy nature, how could I have obtained my boss’s favor and won his trust? Thank God for using His words to guide me. The experience allowed me to see that God loves and blesses those honest people who are willing to practice the truth in order to satisfy Him. Thank God! All the glory be to Almighty God!