我們手所做的工

By:Jim Mathis

每個星期,我都會多次和專業人士以及個人討論一些重要的議題。最近我所屬的CBMC聚會中,讀到詩篇90篇-摩西之詩。在90篇末了,摩西-以色列民族的領袖代表所有的以色列民說: 「願主-我們上帝的榮美歸於我們身上。 願你堅立我們手所做的工; 我們手所做的工,願你堅立。」(詩篇90篇17節)在這裡,「堅立」的意思是讓一件事廣為人知並且流傳萬代。

這提醒了我,幾千年前摩西或更早以前,人們已經想要做一些有長遠影響和有價值的事情。詩篇90篇12節裡面,摩西祈求神教導他們怎樣數算自己的日子,好叫他們得智慧的心,因為知道我們在地上的日子不長,我們希望做一些事能被數算,並且使我們的生命以及我們所遇到的人生命能有所有不同。

「我們手所做的工」對每個人的意義不同。對某些人來說,意味著搭一座連結世代的橋或是創辦自己的生意、或是寫一本能改變人的書或是歌、找到能醫治致死疾病的解藥,又或者是拍攝或雕塑能感動人心的作品。

無論我們手中所做的工對每個人的特殊意義是什麼?我想所有的人類都有一個渴望能用某種方式留芳萬代。在我們內心深處,都想做一些有價值的事情,超越我們個人的生命,讓這個世界更好的事。

我喜歡修復舊照片的原因之一,不僅是因為它是生意的項目之一,更是因為它能幫助人們將過去傳承給未來的下一代。每當我將舊照片交給客戶之後,他們常常會盯著照片凝視許久。有些照片改變了一些人的生命,有些甚至改變了全世界。

對跟隨耶穌的人來說,這更是意義重大。在耶穌的登山寶訓中,祂提到我們手所做的工對別人有永恆的影響力。「你們的光也當這樣照在人前,叫他們看見你們的好行為,便將榮耀歸給你們在天上的父。」 (馬太福音5章16節)我們手中所做的工,以及我們做工的方法都在人前表現出我們和神之間的關係。

接下來,耶穌談到我們做工時應當有的眼光:「不要為自己積攢財寶在地上;地上有蟲子咬,能銹壞,也有賊挖窟窿來偷。只要積攢財寶在天上;天上沒有蟲子咬,不能銹壞,也沒有賊挖窟窿來偷。」(馬太福音6章19-20節)

如果我們想做一些能改變生命、有永恆價值的事,最好的事就是做那些能使轉向神、生命以及永恆生命的工。

省思 / 討論題目
你認為什麼是你「手中的工」?對你來說這工重要嗎? 作者提到人們的內心深處有都一個渴望,期待能用某種方式留芳萬代,通常是透過他們手所做的工。你同意這樣的看法嗎?解釋你的答案。 你認為自己的工作能帶改變別人的生命嗎?如果是,是透過什麼方法?如果答案是否定的,你是否能做些事來改變這樣的狀況? 在你看來,做工的時候有永恆的眼光是不是一件很重要的事?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24節、22章29節、27章18節;以弗所書2章10節;歌羅西書3章17節、23-24節;提摩太後書3章16-17節

THE WORK OF OUR HANDS
By Jim Mathis

Several times each week I get together with men to talk about important issues, both professional and personal. In our CBMC group recently, we were reading Psalm 90. This psalm is attributed to Moses, and at the end of it the leader of the Israelites is addressing God on behalf of all people. He says, "Establish the work of our hands; yes, establish the work of our hands" (Psalm 90:17). In this particular case, “establish” means to cause something to become widely known or last for a long time.

This reminded me of the fact that since the time of Moses thousands of years ago, and even before that, people have wanted to do things that would be long-lasting and worthwhile. Earlier in verse 12 of the same psalm, Moses asks God to help us number our days wisely. Knowing that our time on earth is short, we desire to do something that will be remembered and make a significant difference in the big picture of our lives and the lives of people we encounter.

What “the work of our hands” means is different for each of us. To some it may be constructing a building, a bridge or a business that will benefit people for generations. For others it might be writing a book or a song that will change people’s lives, or finding a cure for a deadly disease. To other people this might involve artwork – making a photograph, painting or sculpture that will touch people’s hearts.

Regardless of what “the work of our hands” means to a specific individual, I think all people have a yearning to achieve some measure of immortality. We share a deep longing to do something of value, something that will outlive us and make the world a better place.

One of the reasons I enjoy the photo restoration part of my business is not only getting to practice a craft I have developed over the years, but also helping people to pass down their heritage or a piece of history to future generations. In almost every case, people will be looking at the work of my hands long after I am gone. In some cases a photo can change somebody’s life – maybe even the world.

For those that follow Jesus Christ, this has even greater magnitude. During His so-called “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus referred to the eternal impact our work can have on others. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The work we perform – and the manner in which we do it – is a reflection of our relationship to the God we claim to believe in and serve.

Later in the same message, Jesus talked about the perspective we should keep as we do our work. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

If we truly want our lives to make a difference that endures, to have an impact that results in some measure of immortality, what better way than to perform “the work of our hands” in a manner that directs people to God and the life – eternal life – that comes after this one?

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.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
What do you consider to be the “work of your hands”? Why is it important to you? Mr. Mathis expresses the opinion that people have a yearning to achieve some measure of immortality, often through their work. Do you agree? Why or why not? Do you think your work is making a difference in the lives of others? If so, in what ways? If you were to conclude it is not having a positive difference in others” lives, what could you do to change that? Is it important, in your view, to have an eternal perspective as you approach your work? 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 12:24, 22:29, 27:18; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17, 23-24; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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