Finding True Riches in Hong Kong
HONG KONG is a place where a lot of money can be made in a short time—if all factors are in your favor. In the last 40 years or so, that British colony has grown from a sleepy port to an economic force to be reckoned with not only in Southeast Asia but also on the worldwide business scene.
A low tax rate attracts foreign investors and provides incentive for the industrious work force found among Hong Kong’s six million residents. Favorable, too, is its location as the gateway between southern China and the Asian-Pacific region and beyond. With modern transportation and communications systems and a well-developed wholesale and retail network, Hong Kong is geared to respond quickly to the demands of international trade.
Economic success has given Hong Kong one of the highest living standards in the world. However, has all the material prosperity brought contentment and lasting happiness to Hong Kong’s residents? No, but some have sought and found riches of a far better kind.
They Found Spiritual Riches
Among those who have found priceless spiritual riches is Hong Kong-born Alfred. He had a successful career as a director of an international business conglomerate with headquarters in Britain. Like many others in Hong Kong, his goal in life was to earn a lot of money, to have his own house, to eat well, and to live a good life. With his position and income, he seemed to have achieved all of that. But was he happy? “I learned through experience that money really does have its limitations,” Alfred lamented. He constantly worried about how long his savings would last if he lost his job. When he devoted more time to his job, family problems began to develop. His wife, Emily, was distressed when their son suddenly died. “I wanted to know where he was so I could do something to help him,” she said. Since she could do nothing, she became very depressed.
Justina lost her father at an early age. But by applying herself she graduated from prestigious Hong Kong University. This led to a job with the government. In Cantonese this is called gum fan woon, a golden rice bowl—job security and good pay. Yet, Justina was neither happy nor satisfied. She often wondered what the purpose of life was and what the future would hold. Her husband, Francis, also felt that life was purposeless. He felt like a cog in a giant machine, a nobody, caught in an endless routine.
Then there is Ricky, the manager of a business. Though he was making a lot of money, he began to see another side of life—cutthroat competition among fellow workers and problems in his marriage. Money could not help him solve these problems. To his wife, Wendy, a respectable career, plenty of money, and living in a politically stable society meant security. But how long would her seemingly secure life last? That troubled her because the reality of death left her feeling that her life was meaningless and purposeless.
David has his story to tell. His university education brought him a good job and economic security, but he found no satisfaction. Why? He was steeped in evolution and philosophy, and he believed that life does not go beyond this present existence. David felt that he had nothing to look forward to, and all his material riches did not prevent him from feeling helpless.
Although these individuals had rather different backgrounds, they had one thing in common. All of them had achieved what they thought would bring a life of happiness and satisfaction. However, when they reached the point where they thought their dreams would be fulfilled, their lives were empty.
Becoming Rich Toward God
The situation of Alfred, Justina, and the others just mentioned was much like that of the rich man in Jesus’ parable. He ‘laid up treasure for himself but was not rich toward God.’ (Luke 12:21) Happily, however, they did find something better—a life filled with real riches. Those who desire true happiness and satisfaction must “rest their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17) Yes, coming to know the true God, Jehovah, and putting their trust in him made the difference in the life of each of these individuals. Let us see how all of this came about.
Alfred and Emily were devastated when their son died suddenly, and all their material things could not relieve their pain. They went to church but still felt empty and dissatisfied. Then one of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to their door and asked: “What is man’s hope for the future?” Alfred replied according to what he had been told in church about heaven and hell. However, from the Bible he was shown that the dead “are conscious of nothing at all” and that those in God’s memory are in the common grave of mankind awaiting a resurrection. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; John 5:28, 29) This sounded logical and reasonable to Alfred. Now he realized that his son was not suffering somewhere but was asleep in death, with the hope of perhaps being reunited with his family through a resurrection. What a comfort and relief! In time Alfred and his wife accepted a home Bible study and started on the way to getting a firm hold on the real riches the Bible offers.
Justina was disillusioned when she failed to find among her fellow workers a willing spirit to help care for people. A devout Catholic, she was frustrated when she noted that the priest would smoke and go dancing, just like other men. Then she came in contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses and began to get satisfying Scriptural answers to many questions. The priest had given her nothing but his personal opinion, and she had not opened a Bible in 16 years, even though she was a regular church attender and had been a lay worker for 10 years.
As the Witnesses studied the Bible with Justina and her husband, Francis, he was impressed by their worldwide unity in belief and action. Francis became convinced that God is real. After all, only a living, true God could wield such influence over an international group of people. How happy this married couple are that they have found real riches!
Ricky and Wendy knew that they had to do something when they saw that they were gradually becoming engulfed in serious personal problems. Since both of them had been in touch with Jehovah’s Witnesses in the past, they separately took the initiative to find them again. Through earnest effort, Ricky and Wendy found not only practical solutions to their problems but also true riches in a personal relationship with “the happy God,” Jehovah.—1 Timothy 1:11.
David’s life also changed when Jehovah’s Witnesses called on him. With the intention of exposing their errors, he agreed to have them come back. In time, however, his eyes were opened, for he began to see that the Bible is accurate scientifically, historically, and otherwise. All of this helped David to view the Bible as a book of truth that gave him real purpose in life. What a happy and enriching transformation for him!
Helping Many Others to Find Real Riches
In the teeming population of Hong Kong, Alfred, Emily, Justina, Francis, and the others mentioned here are merely a few of those who have found the real riches of Bible truth and faith in Jehovah God. In 1992 some 2,600 Witnesses of Jehovah spent a total of nearly 900,000 hours calling on the people of Hong Kong and conducting over 3,800 home Bible studies with them. However, the pace of life in Hong Kong is fast, and people are busy. In addition to calling from house to house, therefore, Kingdom proclaimers are having much success in street witnessing. They also contact people at their places of work by calling on office workers, storekeepers, farmers, and men returning from fishing trips in the South China Sea.
It can truly be said that “the harvest is great, but the workers are few” in Hong Kong. (Matthew 9:37) At present, the ratio of Witnesses to the population is 1 to 2,300. Appreciating the urgency of the harvest work, nearly 600 of the 2,600 Kingdom publishers there are pioneers, or full-time preachers of the good news. Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hong Kong, like those elsewhere, realize that ‘the blessing of Jehovah makes one rich.’ (Proverbs 10:22) Hence, they are working very hard to help many more people in that prosperous community to find true riches.
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