On October 26, Michelotti park (Parco Michelotti) in Turin, Italy, was reopened to the public (partially open) after 32 years of closure.
Break Free from the Bondage of “Position” —The Spiritual Course of a Christian Walking Toward the Light (I)
One day, I went to church early. Hardly had I come to the door when I heard several sisters talking, “The elder is gonna train Sister Wang and Sister Gu as preachers!” “Yeah.” “Sister Wang doesn’t pursue hard, but she is a versatile person. Not only can she sing, but also she can play the piano. Surely the elder thinks highly of her! He simply likes talents….” “Ay! Once given a position, they will be different. They will have influence in church, and thereafter, we must listen to them.” On hearing these, I slowed my pace, thinking, “Yeah, how great it is to have position! I pursue more actively than both of them, but why doesn’t the elder select me as a preacher? Ay, during these years of believing in the Lord, I have paid much price, run around and suffered a lot, and consecrated much money. However, the elder doesn’t think highly of me and so I can’t even be a preacher in the church. However hard I pursue, it won’t be to my wish!” I entered into the church in a sulk. Seeing that the elder was preaching, I began to have a deep repugnance to his doings in my heart, “The Lord treats all men alike while you don’t. With the one you like, you treat him well and train him. It’s really unfair!” And I couldn’t take anything in. Then I noticed Sister Wang and Sister Gu listening to the elder with great interest, I cast a glance at them and thought, “Neither of you pursue as actively as I. Although you can play the piano and sing well, never consider yourselves something! Do you preachers look so smug?”
I had a hard time waiting for the meeting over. On the way home, at the thought of the elder not training me as a preacher, I became angry, and rode my bicycle home very fast. But at the thought of the verses recorded in the Bible, “Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath: Neither give place to the devil,” (Ephesians 4:26-27) I couldn’t help asking myself, “Because the elder doesn’t train me as a preacher, I become angry and feel hatred for him. This isn’t in accordance with the will of the Lord. Isn’t it from Satan? Ay, but I have no command over myself. Although I’m unwilling to sin, I can’t control my heart. O Lord. Please forgive me!” Because I was a little absent-minded and fast in riding, I knocked down a person when I was taking a turn. Scared by it, I got off quickly and went to help her up. When she raised her head, I recognized that she was my classmate in senior high school, Zhong Yihua, and she also recognized me. We called out the names of each other at the same time. Then I gladly invited her to lunch in my home.
Soon we arrived home. While pouring tea, I said to her, “Yihua, I’m really sorry for that. I rode too fast just now. Thank goodness! You are all right.” Yihua smiled and said, “It doesn’t matter. I’m fine. But so fast you were riding; did you have something urgent?” I put the teacup on the table, and poured out my grievance, “Ay, Yihua, I can’t help flying into a temper at the mention of it. Today, when I got to church, I heard two sisters were going to be preachers. I feel it’s unfair. I pursue more actively and pay more price than them. However, instead of me, the elder elevates them. I can’t understand why. So during the meeting, I got angry when seeing them. Could anyone be a preacher? It’s not fair to me. As an elder, how could he do so? I often go to sustain the brothers and sisters who are weak in the church, but now, I’m a nobody. Ay, I really have no strength at all, and I don’t want to attend meetings any more.” Yihua said smilingly, “Oh, it is so. Wenzhen, we believe in the Lord Jesus, and what manner of God do you say He is?” I responded without hesitation, “Of course the only true God who created the heavens and the earth and all things!” Yihua continued, “Since He is the God who created the heavens and the earth and all things, He is also the God who holds sovereignty over all things and commands all things. God not only commands the stars and the cosmos, the rivers and lakes, but also the heart and spirit of every person. So all people, matters, and things that we encounter are also arranged by God, aren’t they?” Hearing that, I felt it very fresh and asked urgently, “Is it God’s arrangement that I encounter such things? How come I haven’t thought of this before? Then, could you tell me how to treat this matter?” Yihua replied, “No matter what comes upon us, we should first seek God’s will, and then come to recognize our own corruption. Don’t fix our eyes on others. If we seek and understand God’s will, come to know ourselves and come before God to confess sins and repent, and deal with everything we encounter in accordance with the word of the Lord, we won’t be so angry and distressed. In this way, we will be gradually changed.” I said without thought, “In the church, I’ve paid much price, yet I can’t be selected as a preacher. Neither of them pursues as actively as I, but the elder arranges for them to preach. He essentially doesn’t give equal treatment to all men! The Lord requires us to forbear with others and be patient; however, I’m unable to forbear with them from the bottom of my heart. Before, I’ve never heard such fellowship, ‘Do not fix our eyes on others; pray first and seek to understand God’s will, and dissect and recognize ourselves.’ Could you talk more with me? ”
My classmate took a sip of water, and then said with a smile, “Wenzhen, I had the same viewpoint as you before, admiring those who had position in the church, and desiring to be a preacher in the church. Therefore, I attended meetings actively, often read the Scriptures at home, preached the gospel everywhere, and sustained the brothers and sisters who were weak. But after a period of time, failing to be a preacher, I became weak and had no strength, and even didn’t want to make a prayer or read the Bible. During that time, I was in low spirits and laden with anguish. Later, one of my relatives gave me a book. A passage of words in it, which are quite good, attracted me, so I copied them down.” While talking, she took a notebook out of her bag and read, “This kind of people only concern themselves with ceaseless work in believing in God. It seems to them that the more work they do, the more it proves their faithfulness to God, the more God will be satisfied, and the more they deserve to get the crown before God, and they will definitely receive the greatest blessings in God’s family. They think that if they can suffer, preach, and die for Christ without considering their lives, and can accomplish the duty God entrusts them with, they are the ones who will be the most blessed by God, who will receive the greatest blessings, and who will surely obtain the crown. … Doesn’t such a thought and intention come from their satanic nature? This is like the worldly people. They think, ‘In the world, I shall seek after knowledge. After I acquire knowledge, I can stand out among others, get promotion to be an official, or hold a position. With a position, I can realize my ambition and can extend my family business and my career to a certain level.’ Aren’t all the worldly people walking this way? … With a satanic nature, one will seek after knowledge, position, and seek to be learned and to stand out among others in the world. When they are in God’s family, they pursue receiving the crown and great blessings by being devoted and loyal to God.” (from Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers) After reading this passage of words, I knew that my pursuing position was directed by my satanic nature and viewpoints within. In retrospect, I had been instilled into some wrong viewpoints since childhood, such as, “Man struggles upwards; water flows downwards,” “If you wish to be the best man, you must be prepared to suffer the bitterest,” and “Alive, I live a heroic life; Dead, as a ghost king died.” These viewpoints became my rules of living and goals of pursuit. In my opinion, to be a man was to tower above others and let others listen to me. Only in this way could I feel dignified, and could others think highly of me and support me. And only if I lived in such a way, could my life be of abundance and great value! Therefore, in the world, I did my utmost to seek after position. In order to stand out among others and be thought highly of, I spared no effort to study and work. In consequence, I was exhausted in body and mind, yet finally obtained nothing I wanted. Since I believed in God and entered into the church, I still clung to those viewpoints: In believing in God, one must have position. Only if I had position could it prove that my faith was greater than others’, could brothers and sisters think highly of me, and could God bestow His blessings on me. So I devoted all my efforts to this. However, I just knew that pursuing position was not after God’s heart. If one is given a position, but he doesn’t pursue the truth or pursue to know God, yet enjoys the benefits of position, finally they will definitely resist God. I gave a thought to the earliest priests, scribes, and Pharisees, who served God in the temple. They knew the Scripture very well and had a high position. In people’s eyes, they were loyal to God and had some knowledge of God, so they should have deserved God’s approval. However, when the Lord Jesus came to work, they saw that more and more people followed Him, which would threaten their position, and thus they hated the Lord Jesus so extremely that they did their utmost to search for handles against Jesus. As for whether the words of the Lord Jesus were the expression of the truth, they didn’t pay the slightest heed, and they did not seek whether the work done by the Lord Jesus came from God, either. Ultimately, they, in order to maintain their own position, nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross, which offended God’s disposition, and fell into God’s punishment and curse. If one never seeks the truth in believing in God, but instead pursues position, and expends great efforts and pays a lot for it, the consequence will be so serious and terrible!”
I said, “I’ve never thought that the pursuit of position is directed by my Satan’s viewpoints within, and it will bring such a serious consequence. We not only can’t receive God’s approval, but instead will be punished by God if we are against Him. There is much inspiration in your fellowship, which supplies a lot to me. Welcome to our church, and preach to the brothers and sisters in our church as well.” Yihua said happily, “All right! Thank God!”
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