你在討誰的喜悅?

By Rick Foster

隨著科技進步,許多產品的設計都是在模仿真實的事物。塑膠木板看起來像真的木板,乙烯地板看起來像磁磚。我們可以購買假皮草、假珠寶、假鼻子、假髮、以及其他的身體部位。買這些東西背後的目的相當清楚,但噴灑泥土罐是要做甚麼呢?

噴灑泥土罐的設計是要用來噴在越野跑車外面。其目的是要讓別人以為越野跑車的車主不只用這昂貴又耗油的車子送小孩去練習足球。若你把那泥土噴在車上,朋友會認為你剛從野外探險回來。若你想要讓別人有這種印象,絲毫不必麻煩及費力,得真正到野外的泥濘路上開車,你只要去買一罐美金15元的噴灑泥土罐就可以偽裝了!

在工商專業界我們也常看到類似的作法,男男女女都試圖讓自己看起來具有更成功、更能幹、更有經驗的形象,但就是不像自己。人們虛構履歷表,在面試時誇大自己的成就,對潛在顧客做出不實的承諾。這些全是為了要討他們歡心並獲得他們的青睞。

在別人的身上觀察到這些行為,應該讓我們問自己:我想要討誰的喜悅?

我們若在聖經中尋找類似的狀況,會發現沒有比使徒保羅更好的例子,但他卻是與那些取悅人的成為強烈的對比。他在古城腓立比傳講耶穌基督的福音時,有過慘痛的經歷,之後他就去帖撒羅尼迦。他在腓立比被鞭打又被關在監牢裡,別人可能認為他應該學到功課,到下一座城就會改變他的信息或策略。但是我們在帖撒羅尼迦前書2章2節讀到:「靠我們的上帝放開膽量,在大爭戰中把上帝的福音傳給你們。」

是什麼促使一個人「堅持原來的作法」,堅持自己的信念、價值觀和信息,不願意買一罐美金15元的泥土,讓自己看起來好像有那麼回事。對保羅而言,這答案很簡單:就是上帝。這也是我們今天在職場上所面對的抉擇,選擇去取悅我們周圍的人?還是取悅我們上頭的那一位?就如一位知名的喜劇演員曾經說過:「我不知道成功的關鍵是甚麼,但失敗的關鍵就是想要取悅每一個人。」

為什麼討上帝的喜悅位居保羅優先順序的最高位?因為他了解上帝的觀點。保羅寫道,他服事「不是要討人喜歡,乃是要討那察驗我們心的上帝喜歡。」(帖撒羅尼迦前書2章4節)換句話說,上帝不會因為你噴了一罐美金15元的任何東西就喜歡你。我們很不容易看到外表之外的東西,但上帝沒有這種問題。聖經告訴我們:「我-耶和華是鑒察人心、試驗人肺腑的, 要照各人所行的和他做事的結果報應他」(耶利米書17章10節)。而且「主啊,你知道萬人的心」使徒行傳1章24節。

保羅不願用噴灑的作法去面對試驗人心的上帝。這就影響他生活中的三個層面:他的話(「我們從來沒有用過諂媚的話」);他的財務(「也沒有藏著貪心」);他的狀態(「沒有向別人求榮耀」)。知道這一點是否會讓我們也有同樣的反應?給智慧人的話:省下美金15元,做你自己吧!

瑞克.符思特在「遺失谷牧場」擔任多年的員工,那是在美國柯羅拉多州柯羅拉多州泉的一個民宿牧場。現在他是美國北卡羅萊納州的一位臨時牧師, 並且為「挑戰通訊」(The Challenge newsletter)寫文章。

省思/討論題目
為何我們普遍會想戴上一個「美好的外表」,偽裝我們的外表,去隱藏我們真正的內在? 你可否想到有一次你想要用「噴灑泥土罐」的作法去面對某個人嗎?不論是一個你剛剛遇到的人、你的同事、或是一位顧客?結果如何--你是否成功地讓他們相信,你想要讓他們相信的事? 為何以模仿別種樣貌,而不願呈現真正實情的這種作法,會帶來許多問題? 使徒保羅寫道,他唯一的動機就是要討上帝的喜悅。你是否也將此視為首要目標?你覺得為何我們常常會想取悅別人,而不是取悅上帝?你認為,我們應該怎麼解決這種錯誤?註:若你有聖經且想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:撒母耳記上16章7節;箴言10章9節,11章3節,16章2、9節,20章14節,21章2節;帖撒羅尼迦前書3章13節

WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO PLEASE?
By Rick Foster

Many products are designed to imitate the real thing. There is plastic decking that looks like real wood, and vinyl flooring that appears to be ceramic tile. We can purchase fake fur or jewelry, phony noses, hairpieces, and other body parts. The purpose behind all of these items is fairly obvious, but what about a canned product called “Spray-on Mud”?

Spray-on Mud was designed for use on the outside of a sport utility vehicle. Its purpose was to make it appear that the owner of the SUV uses the expensive gas-guzzler for more than taking the kids to soccer practice. If you sprayed it on, friends would think you have just returned from a wilderness adventure. If you wanted this seemingly authentic look, without the trouble of actually attempting a rigorous off-road drive, you could buy this produce for $15 a can!

We see similar practices every day in the business and professional world, men and women trying to make themselves seem to be something they are not – more successful, more skilled, more experienced. People fictionalize resumes, exaggerate achievements during job interviews, make unrealistic promises to potential customers. All in the attempt to please others and win their favor.

Observing such behavior in others should prompt us to ask ourselves, “Who am I trying to please?”

Looking for a biblical parallel, we find no better example than the apostle Paul, who presented a striking contrast from that of the people-pleaser. After a brutal experience sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the ancient city of Philippi, Paul headed into Thessalonica. After being beaten and jailed, one might think he would have learned his lesson and changed his message or his tactics as he entered this next town. Instead, we read in 1 Thessalonians 2:2, "we had the boldness to speak to you amid much opposition." 



What motivates a man or a woman to "stay the course," holding firm to their beliefs, values and message, being unwilling to settle for the equivalent of buying a $15 can of “authentic” appearance? For Paul the answer was simple: God. This is the option we face even today in the decisions we make in the workplace, choosing between wanting to please those around us – or the One above us. As one celebrated comedian once remarked, "I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

Why was pleasing God so high on Paul’s priorities? Because he understood God”s perspective. Paul wrote he served, "Not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts" (1 Thessalonians 2:4). In other words, the Lord is not impressed with a $15 can of spray-on anything. We have a difficult time seeing beyond outward appearances, but He never has a problem with it. The Scriptures tell us, "I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve" (Jeremiah 17:10). And, "Lord, you know everyone’s heart" (Acts 1:24).

Paul was unwilling to use a spray-can approach in dealing with a heart-examining God. That influenced three specific areas of his life: his words (“we never came with flattering speech”); his finances (“nor with a pretext for greed”); or his status (“nor did we seek glory from men”). Does knowing this get the same response from us?
Word to the wise: Save $15 and be yourself!

Copyright 2016. For many years Rick Foster was on the staff of Lost Valley Ranch, a guest ranch in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A. He now serves as an interim pastor in North Carolina, and writes on occasion for The Challenge newsletter.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Why is it so common for us to try and put on a “good front,” seeking to disguise our outward appearance to conceal what we truly are on the inside? Can you think of a time when you took the “spray-on can” approach in dealing with someone, whether a person you just met, someone you work with, or a customer? What was the outcome – did you convince them of what you wanted them to think about you? Why can this approach, trying to represent ourselves with an imitation rather than the real thing, be so problematic? The apostle Paul wrote that his sole motivation was to please God. How often is this true of you? Why do you think we are more inclined to seek to please people rather than God? What can we do about this – what should we do about this, in your opinion?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: 1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 10:9, 11:3, 16:2,9, 20:14, 21:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:13

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