Testimony 186. Behind the Gift – Sheshan Li Mu


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It’s about life, back to the Bible.

Some people wrote to me saying that the place where I am is very popular, and I have to give red envelopes when I get married, have children, have birthdays, housewarming, win the college entrance examination, and the death of the elderly. Even church staff face a lot of pressure on this issue, and believers have to seal red envelopes for red and white happy events in their homes. I can’t afford to send it at all, and if I don’t send it, I’m afraid of tripping people. Ask me how is it good.

I don’t know where this limb lives. However, I know that in a coastal city in the south known for its individual economic development, the trend of exaggeration and comparison is prevalent. No matter what, it is popular to eat and drink, and it is natural to give red envelopes. If the children get married and the old man dies, it is even more necessary to make a big deal.

I personally attended Christian weddings, there was wine at every table, and everyone had to give out a gift bag before leaving. It is estimated that each table will cost more than 10,000 tables, and the wedding table will be as many as seventy or eighty tables. Although I know that the local area likes to do a big deal, it still makes me smack. If you don’t do it, you are afraid of losing face, if you don’t give gifts, you are afraid of losing people, and under the vicious circle, there is a tragedy that you can’t afford to hold a tofu banquet and choose to commit suicide. Speaking of which, it is estimated that many readers already know where it is.

There is nothing new under the sun, and there are ancient and modern feasts and favors. The rich class of the ancient Roman Empire had to find excuses to eat and drink for days when they had nothing to do, and they were extremely poor. That’s right, not a few meals, but a few days. The grandeur of the scene, the expensive ingredients, the gorgeous singing and dancing, and the exquisite utensils are not inferior to today’s metropolis. The result? Along with extravagance, moral standards continue to decline. First homosexuality prevailed, then barbarian invasions. Finally, the Eastern and Western Roman Empires both perished.

I once met young people who were hungry and fainted in the streets of the city center, because they had no way to work and were thin and embarrassed to ask for help. There were many onlookers, because there was still something to do, so they only bought food and gave it to him.

In contrast, you can see why lavish feasts provoke the wrath of the gods. The end of self-centeredness will be lamentable, whether it is Babylon or Rome, or the empire today. “So in one day, her calamity will come together, death, sorrow, famine. She will be burned by fire again because the Lord God who judges her is powerful. For a moment, such great wealth came to nothing. All the owners of the ship and the sailors who went everywhere on the ship, even all those who lived by the sea, stood far away, and when they saw the smoke burning her, they cried out, “What city can be greater than this great city?” And they sprinkled dust on their heads, weeping and weeping, crying, “Lament, mourn, O great city! “Whoever has a ship in the sea is rich because of her treasures, and she is in a moment a wasteland.” Revelation 18:8, 17-19

This is not necessarily related to the abundance of materials, the development of science and technology, and the prosperity of commerce, but to the hearts of the people. Because they chose to be considerate of the flesh and indulge their lusts, the Bible states: “Their end is to perish, their God is their belly, they glorify themselves with shame, and think exclusively of the things of the earth.” Philippians 3:19, “Fools who turn their way against each other will kill themselves; The foolish man is at ease, and he will harm himself. Proverbs 1:32

In the so-called human favor, the focus is not on love, but on people.

In order to build and maintain relationships, it has to be done. Unconsciously, basing a sense of security on the network of one’s own talents and external relationships, in fact, there is no peace. Those who look up to him will fall, and those who depend on them will be disappointed. This is due to the deceit of the human heart and the corruption of generations. This is especially true for gifts to leaders or children’s teachers. Those who trust in the Lord are never ashamed, and we need to do God’s will.

The essence of human favor is high maintenance cost and high pressure. Once, I went to a church in the hinterland, which is known for its godliness and fiery, and had a good conversation with the local elders. They were very welcoming, and during the small talk I asked what was the average local wedding dowry. Answer: Two or three hundred thousand, in addition to having a suite in the city. I heard that the elder in charge of teaching had just married his daughter, so I asked, “Does your child receive a bride price when they get married?” He suddenly became embarrassed and reluctantly replied: Also 200,000.

At a per capita monthly income of two or three thousand yuan, this is not a small number. The elder married his daughter, and the red envelopes of the co-workers seemed to have been discussed, all of which were five hundred. Brothers and sisters are divided into one hundred and two hundred according to their income. This is still the church, and the society has heard that it is 500 friends. If there are several so-called red-and-white happy events and birthday housewarmings in a month, it is estimated that you will have to borrow money to get by. Lust is expressly forbidden in the Bible, including rivalry, jealousy, drunkenness, and feasting. Galatians 5:20-21. Our godliness is meaningless if we do not protect ourselves from the world. James 1:27

Caring for others requires paying, but it’s not just about human relationships. If it is a dear friend and a person who gives symbolically but becomes a burden to all, the church should make its attitude clear: we oppose it and refuse to participate within the church. “Everything I do, but not all of it is beneficial; I can do anything, but in either case, I am not subject to it. 1 Corinthians 6:12

This needs to start with the pastoral staff of the church and act as an example of changing customs. Not by one’s own conscience, but by the conscience of others. For example, my pastor friend married his daughter, I knew that he was not rich, and I also regarded the girl as my own daughter, so I won my wife’s agreement to give her 3,000 yuan red envelopes. This is tantamount to caring for the brother and not thinking of anything in return.

But if the atmosphere in Shanghai becomes like the southern coastal cities mentioned at the beginning of this article, I will not give red envelopes. It is estimated that they will be advised to have a simple wedding at the church. The author did not take wedding photos when he got married, did not buy jewelry, only held two tables to invite elders and relatives to participate, and confiscated a penny of church bodies. It’s good here in Shanghai, see off the elders in the Lord, and I haven’t heard of sending red envelopes.

The important thing is to bring heavenly blessings.

Heavenly blessings are truly beautiful and last.

I’ve always objected to my co-workers bringing anything to my house, and I’m happy whenever someone comes. And I also like to send visiting body books as a souvenir. The Bible tells us that before we know it, we receive an angel. Hebrews 13:2

Normally, I don’t bring any gifts to visit my limbs, unless I am sick or impoverished. For there is a greeting, intercession, and the comfort of God’s Word. The same is true for the visits of the co-workers, even if they buy things, they pay for them themselves and do not have to be reimbursed by the church. The money in God’s house should not be used for human relations, but to support mission and care for the poor. Genuine love, it is more valuable than giving red envelopes, and everyone with inner life can recognize this.

In view of this, we should care for each other and pray for each other. Help if you have a physical problem, whether it’s moving or sick. As for the world’s favorite gifts, try to avoid them. For “whatever you do, walk for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31b

However, since breaking through social sentiment, it is inevitable that there will be greater pressure, especially for individuals. It is best to do it as a whole at the church level, that is, each member of the body expresses its attitude: “I am a Christian, and the church rules that no gifts are accepted or given.” I hope to understand. “If you have real difficulties, try to help. Most people verbally blame, but they will secretly envy in their hearts.

Christians are children of light, and they should be good witnesses to the Lord everywhere.