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I Will Never Sell My Life for Money Again
By Nuli, Italy
My Paralyzed Boss’ Story Made Me Think Deeply
I work in a restaurant. My boss is rich, but he has hemiplegia, so he walks with a limp. One time, when I was preparing vegetables in the kitchen, the chef sighed with emotion and said, “You know what? Our boss is to be pitied, actually. He built up the business from nothing. In the past, the restaurant did not employ workers, and everything was done by his own family. For decades, he worked from morning till night. Because he was heavily overloaded with work for so long, one day he suddenly fainted in the kitchen. Though emergency treatment saved his life, he was left partially paralyzed. Since then, he hasn’t been able to walk properly, never mind do hard work …”
What the chef said caused me to feel pity for my boss. Though he had earned much money through hard work, he would be limping for the rest of his life. Weren’t what he pursued and his path in life a microcosm of many people’s in today’s society? Just then, I couldn’t help recalling my own past. In fact, I’d toiled for money just like him …
Blinded by Avarice, I Kept Working in Spite of Illness
Not long after I got married, my wife and I heard it was easy to earn money in other parts of the country. So we entrusted our one-year-old baby to my parents’ care and went to another place together. After arriving there, I got a permanent job, but in order to earn more money, I also found another part-time job. Thus, I only slept for 4 or 5 hours a day. Though sometimes I felt weary, I thought: “For the sake of making more money, I have to hold on.” After a dozen years of this, my health started declining as a result of too much work. I had stomachache as soon as I lay down at night, and sometimes my stomach was so painful that it was difficult for me to breathe. I went to see doctors here and there, but couldn’t be cured. I had no choice but to go home to nurse myself back to health.
One day, I saw advertisements about investing in raising animals and the handicraft industry on TV. It seemed to me to be a wonderful way to get rich by working from home. So I invested in these two companies without a second thought. At that moment, I was very happy and thought I would surely make much money. But I wasn’t satisfied, and thought the more I invested, the more money I could earn. So then I opened a food-processing shop in the city. I was happy to be busy with all these businesses. However, man proposes, God disposes: Most of the scorpions I raised at home died, and the handicrafts I designed were considered below standard. Even the food-processing shop closed down less than one month later. These shocks jarred every bone in my body. I was so worried that I couldn’t eat or sleep.
Nevertheless, I wanted to make a comeback. Before long, I opened a food-processing shop again in our community, but afterward two rival businesses opened in the vicinity of my shop. So my business started dropping off. It seemed that my dream of making a fortune was going to pot again. Fearing that my shop would shut down again, I felt terrible and anguished. But after some consideration, I decided to find a way to turn the tables. And so I left no stone unturned to build a good relationship with the local people. I even nodded and bowed with a smile to them. Sometimes I would bribe my customers with little gifts to win their favor and thus keep them coming in. I was particularly concerned about my everyday income. So every night after I closed the shop, the first thing I would do was to count the money I’d earned that day. I even sometimes had joyful dreams that I’d earned a lot of money. At that time, I had money on the brain; it was as if I had been bewitched by it.
When I Came to the End of My Tether, God Reached out a Helping Hand
One day, my mother-in-law called me suddenly and said my father-in-law had cancer and that his days were numbered. When I arrived at their home, I saw that my father-in-law was no longer bold and inspiring like before, but was racked with pains and illness. At that time, he couldn’t eat or drink and was almost a complete wreck. All he could do was curl himself up on the sofa and groan feebly. It stabbed me to the heart to see this, and tears welled up in my eyes. In his lifetime he’d worked so hard all the time and never fell behind no matter what he was doing. In his many years of hard work, he earned much money. However, in order that his family could live even more prosperously, he still rushed around and worked all day: After finishing his household chores, he went to the neighboring village to work. Yet he got cancer. What was the use of earning so much money? Not long after, he died in the terminal stage of cancer, leaving behind lots of money. I sighed with emotion, and thought of what the Bible says, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). That’s right! Even if we own all the money in the world, what’s the significance of it if we lose our life? I thought of myself. I’d worked so hard for money that I had been suffering from illnesses for more than ten years. If my physical condition took a turn for the worse, all the money that I had earned could not save my life.
Afterward, my neighbor told me about the gospel of the kingdom, I read God’s word saying, “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.”
God’s words tugged on the strings of my heart. That’s right! Money and fame cannot buy life or keep anyone safe from death. Even though a person has money and power, he or she is so small in the face of death. Just like my father-in-law: He was rich, but when he got cancer, his money couldn’t save his life or help him live longer. As a matter of fact, my pursuit was the same as his. I had been living by Satan’s rules of life such as “Money is first” and “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing.” When I heard I could earn more money elsewhere, I left my one-year-old son behind, went to another place with my wife, and did two jobs. I didn’t go home to nurse myself back to good health until I had an illness that was difficult to treat. However, because Satan’s rules of life took root deep inside of me, I engaged in making investments and running the food-processing shop at the same time in spite of my illness. I was just like a money-making machine. Through God’s words, I understood that I had been deeply deceived and harmed by Satan’s rules of life. Now, I finally had an awakening and realized that having money doesn’t mean owning everything. When our life is in danger, no matter how much money we have, it cannot save us.
I read another passage of God’s words saying: “There is a simplest way to free oneself from this state: to bid farewell to one’s former way of living, to say goodbye to one’s previous goals in life, to summarize and analyze one’s previous lifestyle, philosophy, pursuits, desires, and ideals, and then to compare them with God’s will and demands for man, and see whether any of them is consistent with God’s will and demands, whether any of them delivers the right values of life, leads one to a greater understanding of the truth, and allows one to live with humanity and human likeness. When you repeatedly investigate and carefully dissect the various goals of life that people pursue and their various different ways of living, you will find that not one of them fits the Creator’s original intention when He created humanity. All of them draw people away from the Creator’s sovereignty and care; they are all pits into which humanity falls, and which lead them to hell. After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God.” The words of God allowed everything to become clear to me: Satan uses money to bind mankind so as to make mankind shun God and live under its domain. It causes lots of people to struggle for money regardless of how it affects their health or even their lives. However, God hopes we can live under His protection and care and stay away from the harm and affliction of Satan. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve and put them into the garden of Eden, hoping they could live under His blessings. However, because of Satan’s temptation and corruption, Adam and Eve went against God’s requirements and gradually got further and further away from God. Now, we all follow Satan and live for money, fleshly pleasures, and fame, so we live in pain that we are unable to extricate ourselves from. Doesn’t the path we walk go against God’s will? But within God’s words, I found the path to practice. I should abandon my previous wrong viewpoints on what to pursue and life goals, and should no longer rack my brains to struggle for money and fame. I was willing to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. I believed what God had prepared for me was enough and was best for me. Only if I lived in this way would I feel easy, free, and released from suffering in my heart. So I prayed to God, “God, from now on I’m unwilling to live for money anymore. I am willing to submit Your arrangements. Please give me strength to get rid of Satan’s bondage …”
After I Submitted to God’s Sovereignty, I Felt Released From Suffering
Thanks to God’s guidance! Afterward, I started learning to obey God’s arrangements and sovereignty. I was no longer concerned about making money every day, but let things take their course. If I had business to do, I would do it; when I was free, I would sing hymns, or fellowship God’s words and share experiences with the brothers and sisters. Almost without realizing it, I felt I was happier and more relaxed than before and found a sense of contentment that I’d never had before.
Time passed quickly. I recalled how had it not been for God’s salvation, I would have continued to struggle for money. I had experienced the freedom and sense of release from understanding the truth and obeying God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Thank God! In the noisy kitchen, I took up the knife and continued to chop the vegetables and prepare the dishes …
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