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 (Manna 22: Indifferent Neighbors)
The Diary of Vexed Lot
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The Diary of Vexed Lot

Adapted from a series of letters received from an anonymous brother

7June 1993, Monday

It’s black Monday again! Business is brisk as usual and Boss has been yelling the whole day. It’s ironic that instead of bringing more happiness, more business means more frustration, stress and shouting.

Because worries and talks about nothing but business. He often tells me to make sure that the shop is “nice and presentable” and that it is our “rice bowl”. His hobby and past-time one can say, is WORRYING, FRETTING and GRUMBLING.

Because he speaks very little English and knows nothing about accounting, his main worry is TAXES. He has always been telling me to be “careful” with the accounts, because many businesses have been fined for being “naughty”. I once had a conversation with a friend and he said that if the Tax Man is investigating any business, it is not a question of whether you get fined, but how much. He also said that if anyone disputes an appeal against the decision, he’s in big trouble. I asked him what he meant. He said that if you dispute the figure, they will come sit with you at your business (during opening hours, of course!). Very few are therefore brave enough to challenge the Tax Man.

I often think that if that Tax Man comes for tea, I will invite him to eat fried rice with me. If he does not come I will drag him in! In fact he can sit with me for a month! I will prove to him that my accounts are at least 99% accurate and true, sometimes overtrue! I know no one can be 100% perfect, but one should be willing and pray that he can be perfected. The Lord is coming soon. He will reward with TRUE LUXURY and ETERNAL LIFE. We should not boast in our wealth or our takings. If we boast, we boast in the truth only. The Lord is perfect and holy. We strive to be the same.

8 June 1993, Tuesday

Went bowling today with cousins and friends. I noticed that most of them had personal bowling shoes and bowling balls. What really “bowled me over” was this little packet of white powder they used to make the floor less slippery. Such serious attitude! Great enthusiasm and eagerness indeed!

Often when we attend church, we arrive just on time or a little late. Sometimes we get tired of doing church work. Whatever happened to the enthusiasm at the bowling alley? Where is our eagerness to serve God?

9 June 1993, Wednesday

Read something on ex-communication today. I think it is a serious matter worth much thinking about.

This subject is rarely mentioned in sermons. It’s one of the most sensitive, embarrassing and delicate matters. Mention the word and it will send shudders down the spine. Few would want to explore such a topic. Nevertheless, sooner or later, this serious matter must be examined.

In the past, most of the ex-communications in the True Jesus Church were due to adultery and sexual immorality. We have heard from sermons that if a believer commits adultery he commits a deadly sin and should be expelled. This is no doubt true (1 Cor 5:1-3, 13). But what if a believer from time to time engages in debauchery – drunkenness and immoral pleasures? (1 Cor 5:11) What about swindling (eg. Tax evasion, etc)? (1 Cor 6:9-10). Or greed? (1 Cor 3:5-6). What if a believer causes dissensions? (Prov 6:16-19). What if a believer habitually lies? (Prov 6:16-19) Or gossips? (1 Tim 5:13-15) Or slanders? (1 Cor 3:8). I found other useful bible references:

·         1 Tim 6:10, II Tim 2:22-23, 3:1-7, 4:3-4

I am led to think about the adulterous woman in John 8.

Verse 3: “The Scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst”.

The woman was sexually immoral. Perhaps she had committed many sexual offences but was not caught till now. Did she back understanding in God’s law? Could it be that the teachers of the law rarely spoke about sexual immorality? Or perhaps she was only a part-time church goer?

Verse 5: “Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” I have no doubt that to ex-communicate those who have committed mortal sins is a right thing to do, for the Bible teaches so.

On balance, God extends His kindness when we sin out of ignorance. But He says “Go and sin no more.” The great day of judgment is near!

·         Rom 13:8-14, II Pet 3:3-4, 1 Thess 5:2-3, II Tess 2:3-4, 9-10

If we refuse to repent, we will ultimately be cut off (Lk 13:5, Rom 11:22) Do we have any excuse?

This is my solemn, contrite prayer to God:

Have mercy on us, O God, according to Your unfailing love,

According to Your great compassion blot out our transgressions.

For we know our trespasses and sins are always before us.

All glory be unto You, O God. Amen.

10 June 1993, Thursday

We humans are strong creatures sometimes. Often we are willing to suffer, but unfortunately for the wrong reasons. For example in our working life, for the sake of money, we are willing to suffer insults, abuses, mockery, etc.

If we work for others, it may be difficult to control or limit our working hours, but if we do our own business, surely we can. But most people slog all their lives to accumulate money which they do not have much time to enjoy. Work drains their energy, morale and interest for other things. Yet for the sake of extra income they suffer unnecessarily. Sometimes I wonder : If the only reward of our tail and suffering is money, is it worthwhile? Shouldn’t we reserve more of our energy toward for Jesus willingly? We will then be able to rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that our reward is true and lasting.

            1 Tim 6:10: “For  the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wondered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.”

11 June 1993, Friday

Cousin May gave birth to her third child today. Sadly, the baby’s not normal, just like the rest. Her second child died when he was barely fine months old. Now she’s got two abnormal children to take care of. When she heard about the condition of the new-born today, she kept asking, “Lord, why me?” Yes, why she? No matter what answers we humans give, none will truly satisfy.

When we suffer, for example illness, bereavements, we may ask the same question: “Why me?” We know that such questions cannot be easily answered. But one thing to remember is that we ought to always rely on God. In our sorrow we must never doubt His love or lose trust in Him. We should all the more pray for His strengthening.

Thank God May and Eric are believers. There is Someone they can turn to, unlike unbelievers who would just blame everything on their ill-luck and live in hopeless pessimism.

For myself, one thing I’ve learnt is never to take God’s blessings for granted. We seldom thank God for the good things but always question Him for the bad things. Though we have no answers to many things we face in life, I know He’s up there, waiting to tell us, someday.

12 June 1993, Saturday

Although we in the True Jesus Church may work on the Sabbath Day, I feel we often abuse this liberty. If we work for a non-member, we may not be able to dictate our working hours, but if we operate our own business, surely we can control our operating hours. Surely if we close on Saturday, our income wouldn’t be severely affected. Surely we can still make enough.

Sometimes, we squeeze a full day’s work into a Saturday morning and then rush to church. And while at church our mind is somewhere else.

This weekend, I’m taking a short break here in the north. The Sabbath service here is at 11am. After the service everybody rushes off to his respective business. Each time I come here I feel very disturbed, for nobody takes care of the truthseekers except a handful of foreign students who have nowhere else to go after service. Often even these are not enough. Why is business more important than people’s souls? The foreign students have to leave one day. Who then will take care of the truthseekers?

Why the rush on the Sabbath Day of rest?

What do we gain by all this?


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