By Wang Cheng
“Hey Wang, no wonder you’re hardly making any money in your business! You worked so hard on fixing that scooter just now but only charged a bit for labor. If it had been me, I would’ve just stuck a new part in to save the trouble and make a little more cash.”
“It’s true—I’m not criticizing you, it’s just that you’re too stubborn. Like they say, ‘A man without a second income will never get rich just like a horse starved of hay at night will never put on weight,’ and ‘It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.’ If you want to earn money in business you have to think flexibly. Just relying on your skills and good intentions won’t bring in the money. Our society revolves around money now—money talks, and without it no one will give you the time of day.”
It was late at night and everything was still, and I was lying in bed tossing and turning, unable to get to sleep. What the other shop owners had said kept churning in my mind. I’d been really busy ever since I opened up my electric vehicle shop doing both selling and repairing. I thought that with my skills and good business ethics I would definitely earn some money. But to my surprise, the money I earned was just enough to support my family while everyone else in the same business could build a new house and buy a new car. I was the only one stuck at the same level. I thought, “It turns out they’re right. If I don’t play a few tricks I’ll never make more money. Looks like I need to get with the times….”
I Decide to Go With the Tide to Make Money
One day a customer came in with a motorcycle that needed repair. I saw that it was the carburetor leaking fuel, but just as I took it off and was going to fix it, I thought of what those guys had told me about just putting a new one in. I started moving a bit slower and felt really nervous, asking myself, “Fix it or replace it?” If I fixed it I could only charge 10 yuan for labor, but if I put a new one in, I’d earn several times that amount. But what if the customer figured it out? That wasn’t very likely—that’s what everyone else does and they never have any problems, and if I kept on dutifully doing business this way, when would I ever earn some real money? I figured I’d take the other shop owners’ suggestion this time. Tamping down the fear in my heart, I feigned calm and said to the customer, “Sir, your carburetor is broken. I need to replace it.” He agreed readily. Once he was gone I had an uneasy feeling I couldn’t put words to. Wasn’t that scamming people? But I saw that hundred yuan bill in my hand and I thought that everyone’s like that these days, and if I didn’t keep up with the trend, I would never be able to build up a family fortune. I felt like I had no choice but to continue on like that.
One time a customer wanted to buy a brand name scooter, and even though it was a good brand, my profit would have been 500 or 600 yuan less than the profit from an off-brand model. I did my utmost to recommend one of the off-brands so I could make a better profit. “If you put a bigger battery on this one it’ll go more than 100 kilometers. It’ll cost you less and you can go really far on it—you can kill two birds with one stone.” The customer didn’t know any better and ended up being duped into buying the off-brand scooter by me. After he left I felt some self-reproach, but then I changed my mind, thinking that even if I hadn’t lied to him, any other shop he went to would have done the same. I didn’t feel quite as bad. So, I gradually became comfortable doing things that way and learned how to size people up, how to lie.
With time, my wallet got fatter and I was living very comfortably, but I didn’t actually feel happy. Sometimes when I thought of those underhanded things I was doing I felt a sense of dread I couldn’t put words to; I was always afraid of getting my comeuppance. But distressingly, when faced with the profit, when I wanted to rein myself in I just couldn’t do it.
Lost and in Pain, I Hear the Gospel
Just as I was descending into evil and was unable to extricate myself, my wife shared God’s gospel of the kingdom with me and read me a couple of passages from God’s words: “My kingdom requires those who are honest, those who are not hypocritical or deceitful. Are not the sincere and honest people unpopular in the world? I am just the opposite. It is acceptable for the honest people to come to Me; I delight in this kind of person, and I also need this kind of person. This is precisely My righteousness.” “To have the speech and comportment of a normal human being is to speak coherently, saying ‘yes’ when you mean ‘yes,’ and ‘no’ when you mean ‘no.’ Stick to the facts and speak appropriately. Do not cheat, do not lie.”
My wife said, “After being corrupted by Satan, we become really selfish and deceitful by nature; we lie and cheat for our own benefit, even without any scruples. We don’t remotely have the likeness of honest people. God has told us that He likes honest people and He requires us to be honest people. Whether it’s in our interactions with others or when conducting business, we have to be honest—we should call a spade a spade and do business honestly. That’s the only way to gain God’s blessings and approval, and the only way we can have peace and ease within our hearts. Think of when we first started this business, we were totally honest with everyone—we stuck to the bottom line of being a good person. But when we saw that being so up front wasn’t really making us any money, we started to use underhanded methods, actively trying to cheat customers. Even though we started making more money, God is disgusted with us and that’s why we’ve never felt at ease and have been living in pain.”
I was very much in agreement with my wife’s fellowship. I thought to myself, “It’s true! Ever since I started cheating people in my business I’ve had an uneasy feeling and have even been worried that what goes around comes around. My life has been painful. It turns out that God likes honest people and being honest is the only way to have peace and ease in my heart.” God’s salvation is like a ray of light in the darkness allowing me to find my way forward. From then on I joined my wife in her faith, read God’s words every day, and lived a life of the church.
I saw at church that all the brothers and sisters sought to be honest people; they were very up front in their words and actions and were all simple and open about any issues. Everyone was very close—compared to the outside world, it was like night and day. I became even more certain that I had found the right path in life and being an honest person according to God’s requirements became the object of my seeking. But little did I know that I had been so deeply corrupted by Satan that being an honest person wasn’t nearly as simple as I had imagined …
Knowing the Truth but Powerless to Practice It
One time an old man pushed his electric pedicab into the shop to get it fixed. I saw that the battery had been overcharged and the controller wire had oxidized. I thought to myself, “In this kind of situation fixing it will buy him a little time, but it won’t last for long. If I fix it today and then it breaks again after a little while, he’ll probably go to someone else to have them replace the parts. Then wouldn’t I miss out on that money? If I switch these two parts out I’ll earn 300 yuan more, so I should just do that, right?” But as soon as it occurred to me that God likes honest people, I hesitated and thought about clearly explaining the situation to the man and fixing it for him. But then my mind went back to those 300 yuan and I felt an itch inside of me. I decided to be an honest person the next time. I said to him, “Sir, your battery is broken, and so is your controller. Both of them need to be switched out—it’ll be a few hundred yuan.” Hearing this, the old man hesitated for a moment, then pushed his pedicab back out. A few days later he came back and said with an angry look on his face, “Young man, God can see everything we do. As people we have to have a conscience! When I was here before you said that fixing my pedicab would cost hundreds of yuan, but later I went to someone I know who fixed it up for me for just 10 yuan. I’m still using it and it’s perfectly fine.” His words were like a slap in the face. I went beet red and longed for a hole to crawl into and hide. I realized that God had allowed this to happen to me, so I quickly prayed to God and repented, “God, I was wrong. I really want to dutifully be an honest person in a disciplined way, but when I’m faced with profit I just can’t do it. God, please help and guide me so that I can live by Your words.”
Later on, I read this passage of God’s words, “People in the past ran their business so that nobody was cheated; they sold items at the same price regardless of who was buying. Is not some element of good conscience and humanity conveyed here? When people conducted their business like this, in good faith, it can be seen that they still had some conscience and some humanity at that time. But with man’s ever-increasing demand for money, people unknowingly came to love money, gain, and pleasure more and more. In short, people came to view money as more important than before. When people view money as more important, they unknowingly begin to attach less importance to their reputation, their renown, their good name and their integrity, do they not? When you engage in business, you see others using various means to swindle people and get rich. Although the money earned is ill-gotten, they become richer and richer. Though they may engage in the same business as you, their whole family enjoys life more than you do, and you feel bad, saying to yourself, ‘Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I earn as much as they do? I must think of a way to get more money, to make my business prosper.’ You then do your utmost to ponder how to make lots of money. According to the usual method of making money—selling things at the same price to all customers—any profit you make is made in good conscience. However, this is not the way to get rich quick. Driven by the urge to make a profit, your thinking undergoes a gradual transformation. During this transformation, your principles of conduct also begin to change. … In your unawareness, you give approval to your own cheating behavior and accept it. In unawareness, you take cheating to be a legitimate commercial behavior and the most useful means for your survival and livelihood; you think that by doing this you can quickly make a fortune. This is a process: In the beginning, people cannot accept this type of behavior and they look down on this behavior and practice. Then they begin to experiment with this behavior themselves, trying it out in their own way, and their hearts begin to gradually transform. What kind of transformation is this? It is an approval and admission of this trend, of this idea instilled in you by the social trend. Without realizing it, if you do not cheat people when doing business with them, you feel you are worse off; if you do not cheat people, you feel as though you have lost something. Unknowingly, this cheating becomes your very soul, your backbone, and an indispensable type of behavior that is a principle in your life.”
God’s words really deeply touched my heart, and I only then knew why I had become slick and deceitful, and deceptive by nature. I knew very well that God likes honest people, but I was unable to practice that aspect of the truth. It was entirely because I had long ago been assimilated by all those pervasive satanic laws of survival such as “Money makes the world go round,” “Heaven destroys those who are not for themselves,” “A man without a second income will never get rich just like a horse starved of hay at night will never put on weight,” and “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.” I was living by those laws of survival; I had become selfish and despicable, and put personal profit before everything. I put so much importance on money that I was willing to throw away my character and dignity, being underhanded and cheating others just to earn more money. I was always sizing up my customers and cheating them. I had gradually lost my conscience and the baseline of being a good person; what I was living out was entirely the likeness of Satan, lacking all humanity and reason.
I thought back to how I started out doing business in a really straightforward way. I wouldn’t replace parts on anything that I could fix, and when something really did need to be replaced I would charge a reasonable price. But when I saw that after busily working that way for several years I’d hardly earned any money while those other shop owners had gotten rich off of swindling and bluffing, I felt displeased. Faced with the temptation of money and their advice, I also adopted the perspective of “A man without a second income will never get rich just like a horse starved of hay at night will never put on weight,” thinking of money as above all else, and that having money was having everything. So in order to get more money, I ignored my conscience and started playing tricks, changing parts on vehicles I could fix, and trying everything to get customers to buy vehicles that were low price, high profit. Even though I did end up making more money, I felt afraid in my heart, worried that I’d get my payback for doing all those things against my conscience. And even though I wanted to stop, I just couldn’t do it—I was living in a painful struggle. But now I understood that my life had been so painful because I had been relying on erroneous thinking and perspectives in my life. Once I realized that, I resolved that I would definitely break ties with Satan and would no longer live by satanic philosophy, playing tricks and cheating others for my own benefit. I would carry out God’s words, be an honest person, live out saintly decorum, and bear witness to God.
Being an Honest Person According to God’s Words and Feeling Peace and Joy in My Heart
One day, a customer came to get a large, four-seater electric pedicab fixed, and based on its behavior, after inspecting it I found out that the controller was no good. That kind of controller costs at least 500 yuan and the circuitry is different from that of other pedicabs. On top of that, the lines connecting to the electric lock were hard to get. I custom-ordered a controller just for that vehicle and then spent over a day getting the lines matched up properly to the electric lock, and after getting it installed I also put a new throttle grip on it. I tested it out and everything worked well. Then it suddenly occurred to me, “Could it be that it wasn’t the controller that was broken, but just the throttle?” So I put the original controller back in with a new throttle grip, and the pedicab was fine! I was really having an internal battle just then. I thought, “I told him I was going to install a new controller, plus the guy who owns it has a lot of money. He said that as long as it was fixed, he didn’t care how much it cost. I got a custom controller just for that pedicab, which won’t be easy to return after it’s been used. Besides, I worked for more than a day on it before getting it running. If I don’t put the new controller in I’ll only make less than 100 yuan in labor charges at most. That would be such a loss! Maybe I should just switch it out anyway. In any case, the guy doesn’t care about money; it would be a waste not to take it.” Just as I had decided to do that I felt a lot of self-reproach, and I realized that I was going to do something dishonest again for my own benefit, so I prayed to God. In my seeking, I thought of a passage of God’s words: “You ought to know that God likes those who are honest. In essence, God is faithful, and so His words can always be trusted; His actions, furthermore, are faultless and unquestionable, which is why God likes those who are absolutely honest with Him.”
I pondered God’s words and really experienced God’s earnest intentions. His essence is of faithfulness; what He says and does is all incredibly sincere and can be relied upon. God likes honest people because honest people can do things by their consciences, while no matter what they do, deceitful people act according to their own benefit and will stop at nothing, and even in their faith they conduct transactions with God. This is why deceitful people possess poor humanity and God will not save them. I believe in God now, so if I continue to cheat people for the sake of profit, what difference is there from a nonbeliever? I knew that I couldn’t continue my incorrect ways, but I had to let go of my own interests and put the truth into practice; I had to be an honest person who God would like. After thinking through all of this, I explained the situation to the customer and only charged him for labor and the throttle grip. He was delighted. I let out a long breath and felt very calm and at ease in my heart and felt that being an open and aboveboard honest person is so wonderful. Thanks to God, in the days that followed I gained more and more confidence in seeking the truth and being an honest person, and whether repairing or selling vehicles, I would do it before God and accept His scrutiny. I only earned money I could earn in good conscience, and I regained that feeling of ease and peace deep within my heart.
One day, an older lady came into my shop to buy a scooter. Once she had picked one out, she inquired after the price. I told her truthfully that it was 2,800 yuan and she said happily, “Sure enough, you are honest. I’ll buy it. I’m not kidding you, I’ve been to other shops and the first price they ask for is hundreds of yuan higher than that. A friend told me that you’re really straightforward and you won’t cheat your customers, which is why I came in. Now I see it really is true.” I gave thanks to God in my heart when I heard her say that. It was entirely God’s words that had changed me, allowing me to live out a bit of a true human likeness. What really surprised me was that once I stopped using deceitful tactics in my business, it actually flourished more and more and soon I had a lot of customers. Many of them were seeking me out because of my reputation. I realized that the secret to a thriving business is being an honest person.
I give thanks to God that through the guidance of His words, I can taste the joy of being an honest person and have gained ease and enjoyment in my heart that money could never buy. Thanks to God for guiding me out from the shackles of money and profit, I’ve learned how to be an honest person.