By: Jim Mathis
喜樂應該常與我們同在。 如果有人跟你說，他們一直都很快樂，這句話其實令人懷疑。因為他們也會遇到不快樂的事。但是內在的喜樂，不是依靠外在的情況。所以我們被教導要 :「..常常喜樂」(帖撒羅尼迦前書 5:16)
喜樂，不是由外在的情況來定義。 如果有人告訴你:「無論處於什麼狀況都要快樂。」你同意這句話嗎？但是，聖經是這麼說的: 「我的弟兄們，你們落在百般試煉中，都要以為大喜樂；因為知道你們的信心經過試驗，就生忍耐。但忍耐也當成功，使你們成全、完備，毫無缺欠。」(雅各書1章2-4節)
就你的了解，喜樂和快樂有什麼不同？你是否同意即使環境讓你不快樂，你仍然可以有喜樂？分享你的看法。 你知道有人遇到困難或是患難，但是仍然充滿喜樂嗎？請描述這個人，以及你覺得是什麼原因讓他仍然擁有喜樂？ 你在職場上，遇到什麼不快樂狀況但仍保有內心的喜樂？請描述你的經驗。 不管外在環境如何充滿壓力和挑戰，你認為如何做才能培養 常常喜樂 ？備註: 如果你手上有聖經想要看看聖經中和這個主題相關的經節，請參考：尼希米記8章10節；以賽亞書51章3節；路加福音2章10節；加拉太書5章22-23節；約翰一書1章3-4節；約翰三書4節
CONFUSING JOY WITH HAPPINESS
By Jim Mathis
My topic for today – joy – is not something we often talk about in the business and professional world. We commonly speak about happiness and being happy, whether it concerns finalizing a contract, attracting a new client, making a sale, receiving a promotion or a pay raise, or finding a new job we feel certain will be more fulfilling and rewarding. Such events make us happy. But when was the last time you heard someone speak about experiencing joy?
Recently some friends and I were talking about these two seemingly similar words, joy and happiness. However, during the course of our discussion we realized that in important ways, they are very different. Happiness, for example, has a lot to do with what is happening at the moment. I can feel happy because it is not raining, or I might become unhappy simply because my coffee got cold. Joy, on the other hand, is more about attitude. Joy is a way of life, how we approach everyday events, both good and bad, while happiness typically is situational. Joy also can be more of a personality trait, an inner quality of well-being that permeates every part of person”s life.
An observation that came from our discussion was how our level of joy can have an effect on what brings us happiness. For example, if we are joyful, we tend to see the good in many things: little pleasures will make us happy, and problems can be viewed as challenges rather than as insurmountable obstacles. People without joy in their lives will have a lot of trouble finding happy moments, and every problem they encounter will be perceived as a major hassle.
I consider myself joyful, which means even seemingly inconsequential things can make me happy. I am fortunate that every business I have been involved in was designed to make people happy. Whether as an entertainer, photo finisher, coffee house owner, or most recently, a restorer of old photos, I have seen most people I have worked with leave with big smiles on their faces. A good cup of coffee can bring a smile to a coffee lover’s face, but not nearly as much as seeing old family pictures brought back to life.
Interestingly, the Bible says little about “happiness,” but it speaks extensively about “joy.” Here are a few things it tells us about how we should approach each day, whether we are at work, in our homes, or pursuing our favorite interests and hobbies:
Joy should be a constant companion. If someone tells you they are always happy, be skeptical. Because everyone faces unpleasant situations in life. But inner joy is a quality that is not dependent on outward circumstances. So we are told to, “Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
Joy is not defined by circumstances. If someone told you, “Be happy, no matter what happens,” would you agree? And yet the Bible instructs us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
Joy is dictated by our faith and trust in God. Another passage, also written by the apostle Paul, who was no stranger to adversity, declares joy a byproduct of growing faith in God. “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope…” (Romans 5:2-5).
Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.
Based on your understanding, what is the difference between happiness and joy? Do you agree that it is possible to possess joy, even if circumstances are making you unhappy? Why or why not? Can you think of a person you know who seems to exhibit a sense of joy, even when he or she is facing times of hardship or adversity? If so, how would you describe that person – and what do you think makes that individual that way? Describe a situation at work in which you might be able to experience the inner quality of joy, as Mr. Mathis describes it, even if what is occurring at the moment might not be filling you with happiness? What difference would it make, in your view, to be able to cultivate a sense of joy on a consistent, everyday basis, regardless of how stressful or demanding things might get at work?NOTE: 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: Nehemiah 8:10; Isaiah 51:3; Luke 2:10; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 John 1:3-4; 3 John 4