By Panpan, Italy
The Lord Jesus said: “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltiness, with which will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another” (Mark 9:50). He taught us to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, have an effect of reconciliation like salt on our brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, be tolerant to others, and love them as ourselves. However, due to our sinful nature, we are frequently unable to give effect to His teachings. I realized from my experience that only through praying to the Lord and relying on Him can we truly manage to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.
I have been working in a film company for almost two years, and am primarily responsible for post-video processing. One day, our manager told us that we would have a new colleague, but where she would sit after her arrival became a problem, for our studio was very small and had no spare seats. Then my colleagues started talking: “Sit here.” “Sit there.” Seeing us worrying about this, the manager said that we needn’t worry, and that there would surely be a seat for the new colleague when she came. After hearing him say like this, we stopped discussing the problem.
Several days later, the manager came to our department with the new colleague. As he was looking around our studio, he discovered my laptop for the work. Then he jokingly said, “Could the one whose computer is small sit in the corner over there?” Hearing these words, I forced a smile, yet in my heart, I felt extremely anxious and upset. Although I knew that the manager was just saying this without thinking about it, the anger within my heart began rising. I thought: “Why should the one who uses a small computer offer her the seat? I am a veteran! It will be so unfair to me if I am asked to move to the corner.” Because the new colleague should first familiarize herself with the work, for now the manager didn’t arrange a computer or a seat for her, and we still worked as we always did. However, the joke of the manager made me start to worry about my seat …
After a week, my new colleague already had a good grasp on the professional work, and the manager found a desktop computer from another department for her to work on. When he found my colleagues all used desktop computers and that for them to move was inconvenient, the manager then said to me that it was easy for me to move my laptop. Thus, he asked me to be wronged a little and move to the corner, and promised to arrange a seat for me in a few days. Hearing the manager’s words, I felt both aggrieved and unwilling, thinking: I didn’t expect that he actually seated me in the corner. Among so many seats in this office, why has he chosen my seat? Humph! Isn’t this just a corner? I’ll move there. As a result, I moved to that corner huffily.
At the moment when I sat in the corner, looking at the backs of my colleagues, I began to feel awful: They sit together, talking and laughing, while I sit so far away from them. I even don’t know whether they can hear me when I speak behind them. The more I thought this way, the more aggrieved I became, feeling like a fifth wheel.
In the afternoon, the manager called us to discuss a new project. My colleagues all were speaking actively whereas I didn’t have the slightest interest. The discontent occupied my mind, and I was slow in stepping up to join them. I, like a wooden chicken, sat alone at my place, thinking: It’s enough that you talk over this new program. It doesn’t matter if I join you or not. While I was listening to the sound of the drizzling rain outside, my emotions were dismal like the weather. In this way, I stayed in the corner, frozen, without saying a word. Although I was listening to them, I couldn’t help starting to do other things. When they asked about my view, I was also reluctant to answer them. I felt extremely unbalanced: Could it be that I will still sit here to work in the future? I have been working in this company for so long, and I count as a veteran worker, but why am I treated even worse than a newcomer? I am too worthless. At this time, my tears began welling up in my eyes.
Just as I really couldn’t endure this suffering, I left the studio and prayed to the Lord in tears, telling Him the pain in my heart. After my prayer, my heart became a little more tranquil. I thought to myself: Regardless of how distressed I am, at present, I cannot disregard my work but should focus on the big picture. Now is a crucial moment to prepare the new project. I cannot bring a bad atmosphere to them lest the progress of the work be delayed just because of my passive mood. As I was thinking like this, I felt slightly better in my heart. However, after returning to the studio, I still couldn’t come forward to discuss the project with them. All afternoon I kept silent, sitting alone to the side and listening to them.
Finally, I carried on until the time to get off work. After arriving back home, I prayed again, and said this matter to the Lord. Having finished praying, I considered why I had such a big reaction and be so distressed that I couldn’t work normally just because of my changing the seat. The Lord Jesus said: “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but perceive not the beam that is in your own eye? Either how can you say to your brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in your eye, when you yourself behold not the beam that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of your own eye, and then shall you see clearly to pull out the mote that is in your brother’s eye” (Luke 6:41-42). The Lord taught that in our interactions with others, when there is a gap or a conflict between us and others, we should first reflect on whether or not what we have done is in line with the Lord’s teachings instead of first finding others’ problems and deficiencies. Those who first resolve their own problems are people who conform to the Lord’s will.
Then I quieted my heart and recalled the process of changing my seat in the afternoon. I found that the reason why I felt so wronged and in pain about changing my seat was because I thought the manager didn’t treat me as a veteran worker but treated me even worse than the new colleague, and because I thought my image and dignity were damaged. Consequently, I was dissatisfied and in agony in my heart. The Lord Jesus taught us to be the light and salt of the earth before the world, shine upon people around us like the lamp in a candlestick with our genuine tolerance and patience, and use our real actions in life to prove that we are true Christians and believe in God who loves others as He loves Himself. I remembered the Lord Jesus was Christ, and that His identity and status far surpassed all creatures. Nonetheless, He withstood the Jewish people’s rejection and the soldiers’ insults, and even if being nailed to the cross, He still prayed for the world, asking God the Father to forgive their ignorance. When I thought about this, the Lord Jesus’ humility left me ashamed. I was too selfish. I even made a fuss over just a seat so that I was full of pain. I didn’t put the Lord’s teachings into practice at all. At this moment, I made a prayer to God: I am willing to humble myself and give my seat to my new colleague, and no longer flaunt my qualifications of a veteran worker. Wherever I sit, even though my work space is small, I will do my work well the same as before. It is said in the Book of the Ecclesiastes: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). As for when the manager will arrange another seat for me, it is in God’s hands, and I am willing to wait for the time of Him.
The following days, I carried out my duty as always, as well as discussed our work together with my colleagues. After practicing like this a few times, I felt very steady. At this time, I realized that the corner actually was good for it was big enough for me to put many things in. Meanwhile, I gradually became happy and had smiles on my face.
After a few days, the manager informed us that there was a personnel adjustment in our company, and that one of my colleagues was to be reallocated to another apartment and then I could move to her place and use a desktop computer. After hearing this, I was very moved: In fact, the Lord is right beside me watching my deeds. When I followed the Lord’s word to obey the environment before me which seemed unfair, my heart was so liberated and free. Thank the Lord! I am willing to always be the light and the salt of the earth before the crowd according to the Lord’s word. Amen!