忍耐

By: Jim Langley

在一個追求快速的社會中,「忍耐」不是一個受歡迎的話題,但它值得我們好好地討論。我們一生當中,無論在哪裡,對於是否要忍耐繼續堅持下去或者改變策略,都要做決定。很多人以為做決定是一件簡單的事情,在情況不看好的狀況立刻轉彎就對了。

然而,我卻很享受走較少人走的路。這條路通常比較有挑戰性,但是當你到達目的地的時候,獎賞也是更大的。我的朋友克里斯.海居司(Chris Hedges)就是一個最佳的範例。

在幾個月前,我在克里斯第一次的巡迴簽書會上認識他。他的書: 一個平凡人”喬”的故事-信心的條件,這不是一本屬靈書籍,但是認識這個作者以及了解他的生命故事給了我更大的啟發。克里斯自從邁阿密大學畢業之後就一直在跟癌症對抗。在完成20,000英里的全國簽書巡迴之後,他就進了佛羅里達州的住院治療了十天。然而,他現在已經開始在著手他的第二本著作了。有人在Twitter上面留言暱稱他是這個世代的「耐力先生」,這我一點也不驚訝。

我從未親自見過「驚人的查理‧瓊斯」本人(Charles "Tremendous" Jones),他是一個成功的保險業務員,後來成為激勵人心的演講家,但關於他的故事很多。查理寫了九本勵志書籍並且持續演講到他八十幾歲,在2008年過世。他最被廣為人知的就是無人賣保險比他更有耐心。在工作中,他體驗到耐心是非常重要的。

在我的專業-保險業上能保持耐心的同事並不太多。但是三十幾年來我的確看到有些特例。事實上,他們跟你我一樣都是普通人,但是他們願意去學習「耐心」這項功課,持續去接觸以及不放棄每一個潛在的客戶。

但是有一個人,特別有耐心,祂的名字就是耶穌基督。對很多人來說祂是拯救者也是主,有一天萬膝都要向祂跪拜。以賽亞書50章7節提到彌賽亞的預言說:「 主耶和華必幫助我, 所以我不抱愧。 我硬著臉面好像堅石;我也知道我必不致蒙羞。」當我想到耶穌是神卻以肉身忍耐各樣的試練時,我在生活中所遇到的似乎就不太重要了。

耶穌不只是忍耐的絕佳示範,祂也給門徒有能忍耐的力量。靠著聖靈,每天我們能面對這個充滿困難的世界。生活絕對是艱難的,但是我知道有祂的忍耐,我能夠過每一天。

我想有些讀者也許正經歷生命中的一些困難,但這正是他們學習耐心的機會。有一個信主多年的客戶告訴我,在耶穌裡面有極大的能力能夠忍耐,然而我們必須用信心去跟隨,你就會像使徒保羅所說的: 「所以,我親愛的弟兄們,你們務要堅固,不可搖動,常常竭力多做主工;因為知道,你們的勞苦在主裏面不是徒然的。」 (哥林多前書15章58節)

回應與問題討論
在大部分的狀況下,在遇到困難、延遲或是轉變的時候,你會如何反應?說說你的答案。 你覺得耐心是一項很難養成的特質嗎?什麼原因會影響你去選擇比較輕鬆的路而非作者所說的:較少人走的路? 你能想到在你人生的某個時刻,你下定決心要忍耐,不管困難並且在最後得到獎賞嗎?說一說你的經驗。 你覺得和神的關係能讓你下定決心忍耐嗎?你相信了解神的屬性能讓你不同嗎?說明一下你的理由。如果你手上有聖經,想要查考或討論關於這個主題的經文,請參考:雅各書 1章12節;希伯來書 12章1節、10章36-39節;帖撒羅尼迦後書3章5節;腓立比書 3章13-14節

THE PREROGATIVE TO PERSEVERE
By Jim Langley

Perseverance, in our quick-fix, must-have-it-now society, is not a popular topic. But that does not mean it is not worth a good discussion. Throughout our lives, at work and away from work, we often must make a choice – either to persevere and stick with the process, or take a diversion. Many people see the choice as an easy one – find a diversion if results fail to come as quickly as desired.

However, I have always enjoyed taking what is sometimes called “the road less traveled.” This road is usually more challenging, but is also more rewarding once you have reached your goal. My friend, Chris Hedges, serves as an excellent example of this.

I met Chris a few months ago while he was making his first book tour. The book, Average Joe’s Story: Quest for Confidence, is inspirational, but getting acquainted with the author inspired me even more than his literary work. You see, Chris has been battling cancer since he graduated from the University of Miami. Upon finishing his 20,000-mile national book tour, Chris “celebrated” by spending 10 days in a Florida hospital for treatment. He is already working on his second book, and it will not surprise me if someone tags him with the appropriate nickname, “Mr. Perseverance,” one of these days. Perhaps I did just that!

I never met the late Charles "Tremendous" Jones, yet stories about this successful insurance agent turned motivational speaker are plentiful. Charlie wrote nine motivational books and continued to speak into his 80″s. He went to be with his Lord and Savior in 2008. One of his best-known quotes about the insurance business is, "No one has endurance like the man who sells insurance." He understood this firsthand.

Not all of my colleagues in the insurance profession have the endurance to persevere, but I have witnessed some exceptional people in my 30-plus years in the business. Actually, they were not exceptional – they were normal people like you and me, only they embraced the task of never giving up and strived continuously to reach one more potential client before calling it a night.

There is one person, however, who truly stands out to me as the epitome of perseverance. His name is Jesus Christ. He is both Savior and Lord to many, and one day we will bow down before Him. The Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 50:7 states, "Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know I will not be put to shame." When I consider the many trials Jesus endured as God in the flesh, persevering through trials I face in life seems inconsequential.

Jesus is more than the perfect example. He is the One who gives His followers power to persevere, with His Holy Spirit encouraging us daily as we muddle through life on this often-troubled earth. Life is not easy under any circumstances, but I know my life would be much more difficult without His presence in my life.

I suspect some people reading this “Monday Manna” are attempting to get through life on their own – and that is certainly their prerogative. However, as a satisfied customer who has personally followed Jesus for many years, let me simply say there is great strength to persevere in this most important of all relationships found in Him alone. I highly recommend that you take this step of faith if you have been considering it. Then you, like the apostle Paul, can “stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain!” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

© 2015, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been an agent and chartered life underwriter (CLU) with New York Life since 1983 and an active member of CBMC of Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. since 1987.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
In most cases, what is your first inclination – to persevere through adversity and delays, or to shift to a diversion when it presents itself? Explain your answer. Why do you think perseverance is such a difficult quality to cultivate? What factors do you think influence us to choose a path of least resistance rather than the “road less traveled,” as Mr. Langley describes it? Can you think of a time when you decided to doggedly persevere, ignoring discouragement, and were rewarded for your resolve? What was that experience like? How do you think a personal relationship with God can make a difference in our determination to persevere despite obstacles and adversity? Do you believe knowing God does in fact make a difference? Why or why not?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: James 1:12; Hebrews 12:1; Hebrews 10:36-39; 2 Thessalonians 3:5; Philippians 3:13-14

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