做你所喜愛的工作

By:Jim Mathis

我要告訴你一個我認識的人,我叫他「畫家鮑伯」。鮑伯喜歡去美術館,所以他決定要成為畫家。他研究大師們的作品,並開始學習臨摹,一筆一筆地畫。他學習色彩和質地。最後他就成為一個技巧非常好的畫家。

他最喜愛的藝術家是梵谷,所以他決定臨摹梵谷的所有畫作。他變得非常擅長於複製梵谷的作品。而且最後他甚至可以不需看原作,就複製這位有名畫家的作品。

鮑伯把他的畫拿去參加藝術展,但評審只笑著說:「這些只不過是梵谷的複製品,這些作品已經有人畫過了。」鮑伯因為這批評而感到傷心,但他還是去參觀那個藝術展。在那裡他發現許多激勵人的新畫作,與以前他在美術館的任何畫作都不一樣。他在畫展的每個角落都發現很棒的新作品。

當樂團為這藝術展提供餘興節目時,鮑伯坐下來思考。第一個樂隊演奏一些他在收音機裡聽過許多次的熟悉歌曲。後來一個有名的樂團出來演唱,這樂團的聲音就像是他最喜歡的1964年的樂團。這樂團唱了原唱樂團在1964到1968年錄製的許多好歌。事實上,這樂團唱得與原唱樂團一模一樣。

鮑伯發現有人付幾百美元給這個樂團,要他們唱得像過去那個樂團。而畫家和其他藝術家卻被要求付幾百美元去展示他們創新的作品。他變得非常困惑。他不明白為何在某種藝術裡模仿可被接受,但在另一種藝術裡模仿卻完全不被接受。

最後在沮喪中,鮑伯決定放棄他的畫家夢想,改行去做會計師。在會計的領域中,每分錢都有其道理。他不再需要決定是否複雜大師的作品,或畫出新的創作。鮑伯那天就死了--雖然他是在54年後才被埋葬。

我的重點不是要討論為何模仿別人表演的音樂可被接受,而複製畫作就不行。這故事告訴我們的是,鮑伯讓自己的夢想死去。他放棄自己所喜愛的--那可能是上帝呼召他做的事,卻選擇一個比較可預測且沒人批評的道路。

若鮑伯發現會計是他所熱愛的,他的決定就是好的。但因他向龐大的障礙低頭,他的藝術目標(以及可能是他最大的潛能)就永遠無法實現。他既已證明自己擅長臨摹大師的作品,他也可能發現自己的風格,成為一個現代的雷諾瓦或高更,但我們永遠不會知道。

你又如何呢?你是否追尋你所熱愛的事、生命的夢想,也就是會讓你每個早晨想跳下床,準備去擁抱每個機會?或者你陷入一個你自己不感滿足的工作?聖經教導我們:「無論作什麼,或說話或行事,都要奉主耶穌的名,藉著他感謝父神」(歌羅西書3章17節)。當你做的是自己所喜愛的工作,就比較容易做到聖經的這個教導。

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。最近他開了一所攝影學校。他曾是一家咖啡店的經理,也曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

思想 / 討論題目
回顧你的職業生涯到如今,你是否覺得自己正走在你希望成為的道路上?為什麼? 若不考慮薪水和其他福利,你可以做任何你想要的工作,你是否願意繼續做你目前的工作?若否,你會怎麼做? 若你不滿意自己目前的工作--或甚至你的職業,你今天可以開始做什麼改變,使自己走向一個你真正喜愛的職業?若你在自己的工作中能找到快樂與滿足,你會給對自己工作不滿意的人什麼建議? 本篇「週一嗎哪」所引述的聖經說我們的工作應該「都要奉主耶穌的名,藉著他感謝父神」。你相信上帝真的對你做什麼工作,以及你工作的品質感興趣嗎?請解釋。註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
箴言12章11節,13章4節,22章29節;傳道書12章13-14節;哥林多前書3章9節;歌羅西書3章23-24節

THE DANGER OF NOT DOING WHAT YOU LOVE

By: Jim Mathis

I want to tell you about a man I knew, someone I called “Bob the Painter.” Bob loved to go to art museums, so he decided he would become a painter. He studied the art of the old masters and began learning to copy their work, brushstroke by brushstroke. He learned about colors and textures and eventually became a very skilled painter.

His favorite artist was Vincent Van Gogh, so he decided that he would duplicate all of Van Gogh”s paintings. He became very good at copying Van Gogh”s works and eventually could make exact replicas of the famed artist”s paintings without even looking at the originals.

Bob entered his paintings in an art fair, but the judges just laughed and said, “These are just copies of Van Gogh. These have already been done.” Bob was saddened by the criticism, but attended the art fair anyway. There he found many kinds of inspiring new paintings, unlike anything he had seen in the museums. He found wonderful new artwork around every corner.

Then Bob sat down to think while listening to bands that were providing entertainment for the art fair. The first band played some familiar songs he had heard on the radio many times. Then the headline band got up to play. They looked and sounded just like his favorite band from 1964, and the band played many of the original group”s great songs that had been recorded from 1964 to 1968. In fact, the band at the art fair sounded identical to the original band.

Bob discovered this band had been paid hundreds of dollars to sound like the old band, while the painters and other artists had been required to pay hundreds of dollars to display their new and innovative works. He became very confused, wondering why it was acceptable to replicate one form of art while it was deemed totally unacceptable to copy art in another genre.

Eventually, in discouragement, Bob decided to forsake his artistic dreams and become an accountant where, as they say, cents makes sense. He no longer had to decide whether to copy the work of the old masters or make new art. Bob died that day – even though he was not buried until 54 years later.

My point is not to debate why copying performed music is acceptable, while replicating paintings is not. The “moral of this story” is that Bob let his dream die; he abandoned what he loved – perhaps what God had called him to do – to take a safer, more predictable course that no one would criticize.

If Bob had discovered that accounting was his passion, his decision would have been a good one. But because he bowed to formidable obstacles, his artistic aspirations – and perhaps great potential – were never realized. Having proved adept at copying the work of old masters, Bob might have discovered his own style and become a modern-day Renoir or Gauguin. We will never know.

What about you – are you pursuing your passion, that life dream that makes you want to leap out of bed each morning ready to embrace the opportunities it presents? Or are you mired in a job you find far from satisfying? The Bible teaches, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). It is much easier to do that when you are doing the things you love.

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and recently has opened a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Reviewing your career path to this point, do you feel you are on course for where you hope to be one day? Why or why not? Assuming that compensation and other benefits were not at issue, and you could do anything you wanted to do, would you continue doing the kind of work you are doing now? If not, what would you do? If you are not content with your current job – or even your career in general – what changes could you initiate today to redirect yourself into a vocation that you would truly enjoy? Even if you do find happiness and contentment in your work, what advice might you offer to someone who lacks that kind of satisfaction? The Bible passage cited in this “Monday Manna” states we should do our work “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father.” Do you believe that God really has a personal interest in the kind of work – and the quality of work – that you do? Explain your answer. If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 12:11, 13:4, 22:29; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; 1 Corinthians 3:9; Colossians 3:23-24

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