慶祝豐收和感恩

By: Jim Mathis

我愛感恩節。不是因為有機會可以大啖美食,也不是因為可以利用機會去大賣場血拼。而是因為慶祝努力工作和豐收的傳統。

就像每一個文化都有一些慶祝收成的慶典。感恩節的精神是: 過去一年我們辛勞地在自己的工作領域付出,現在有收成了,我們也準備好過冬了,因此值得有一個節日來慶祝。

在工業革命之後,尤其是二十世紀,大部分的美國人離開農場,一個星期中有四十個鐘頭埋首工作,領薪水過活。在這個過程當中,我們逐漸失去對耕種、撒種和收成的基本認識。

現在工業時代即將結束,特別是在美國和西方國家,我們需要重新認識這些原則。對商界來說,耕種是一個象徵:要得到收成必須要耕種、播種,努力工作、照顧生產設備、有智慧地使用這些資源也是必要的。這些原則不僅適用在農耕上,在職場和個人也是如此。

很多企業失敗,不是因為缺乏資金或是其他財務的問題,而是因為他們試著在自己沒有播種的地方收成。

工業革命要求我們要準時上班、做到被要求的,我們的老闆或是負責人就會在週五付我們薪水。做一個普通的工作,做的不錯的話會得到不錯的薪水。

然而我們必須再想一想農人和農場主人。對他們而言,工作是-整天努力工作、使用擁有的資源,並相信神會一如往常地供應我們-天氣、時間、土地、機會,並用愛和憐憫幫助我們。

同時,耕地、照顧牲畜、盡我們所能,並且等待到收成的時間。然後我們就能夠好好地慶祝豐收。雖然我們感恩,對過去的一年表達感謝,我們仍有感恩節這個特別的日子。聖經告訴我們爲什麼要感恩?

神獎賞那些相信他的人。「你當倚靠耶和華而行善,住在地上,以他的信實為糧; 要以耶和華為樂,他就將你心裏所求的賜給你。當將你的事交託耶和華,並倚靠他,他就必成全。他要使你的公義如光發出, 使你的公平明如正午」。(詩篇37篇3-6節)

神的祝福超過我們的想像。「那倚靠耶和華、不理會狂傲和偏向虛假之輩的,這人便為有福!耶和華-我的上帝啊,你所行的奇事,你向我們所懷的意念甚多,不能向你陳明; 若要陳明,其事不可勝數。」(詩篇40篇4-5節)

Jim Mathis是美國堪薩斯州攝影工作室的負責人,專長在執行、商業和劇場人像的攝影。他也經營攝影學校。

回應與問題討論
你今天爲什麼感恩? 當你想到自己生命中的好事,許多人說那是「祝福」的時候,你是否視它們是神所賜的或是自己努力的成果?解釋你自己的答案。 當一個人遇到極大的困難時候,如何感恩?例如,家裡的問題、經濟的掙扎或是職場上遇到的挑戰?你能在那樣的時刻仍然感恩嗎?解釋你的答案。 思想在這篇週一嗎哪中提到的耕種比喻-播種、培養和收成,它和二十一世紀的職場有什麼相關?如果你想要看看或是討論其他關於這個主題的經節,請參考下面的經節: 詩篇 96:1-13, 98:1-9, 105:1-7, 106:1-3, 147:1-20; 箴言 20:4, 27:18, 28:19


CELEBRATING HARVEST AND THANKSGIVING
By Jim Mathis

I love Thanksgiving Day. Not because it is a chance to gorge ourselves with good food, or take advantage of overhyped sales at the mall. I love Thanksgiving because of the tradition of celebrating our hard work, and of being grateful for a bountiful harvest.

Just about every culture and tradition has some sort of harvest celebration. The idea that all year we have worked hard in the fields of our particular endeavors, and now the harvest is in and we are ready for winter, deserves a holiday.

Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, and especially in 20th century America, most people left the farms, lured by the comfort and security of the 40-hour workweek and a regular paycheck. In the process, we collectively have lost the basic understanding of cultivating, sowing, and harvesting.

Now that the Industrial Age is coming to a close, particularly in the United States and the Western world, we need to redevelop an understanding of these principles. Farming is a great metaphor for all types of business. Not only is cultivating and sowing necessary for a harvest; but other ideas, such as working hard, being resourceful, caring for our equipment, and using all the resources we have wisely, also are necessary.This applies not just for farming, butforthe workplace and our individual lives as well.

Too many businesses fail, not because they are undercapitalized or due to some other fundamental problem, but simply because they try to harvest where they have not sown.

The Industrial Age taught us to show up on time and do what we were told. The "man" – the owner or person to whom we reported – would write us a check on Friday. Good people got good pay for doing average work.

As a society we need to start thinking like farmers and ranchers again. That means working hard all day, relying on the resources we have, and trusting that God will provide as He always does – weather, time, place, opportunity, and a good helping of love and mercy.

In the meantime, work the soil, keep watch over the herds, do our best and wait for the right time to harvest. Then we can rightfully celebrate the bountiful harvest we have been given. Although we can feel thankful and express gratitude year-round, we especially can do so on the day designated Thanksgiving Day. Here are some thoughts from the Bible about how we should be thankful:

God rewards those who trust in Him. “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:3-6).

God”s blessings exceed our imagination. “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare” (Psalm 40:4-5).

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

Reflection/Discussion Questions
What are some things for which you feel grateful today? When you consider the good things in your life, things many people refer to as “blessings,” do you regard them as coming from God or solely as the result of your own hard work and initiative? Explain your answer. How does a person feel thankful when confronted with times of great adversity, such as family problems, financial struggles or difficult workplace challenges? Are you able to feel and express gratitude at such times? Why or why not? Thinking about the farming analogy in this “Monday Manna” – sowing, cultivating and harvest – what could be its applications for the 21st century workplace?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: Psalm 96:1-13, 98:1-9, 105:1-7, 106:1-3, 147:1-20; Proverbs 20:4, 27:18, 28:19

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