我們真的甚麼都帶不走嗎?

By: Robert J. Tamasy

偶爾我們會聽到這句老話:「你甚麼都帶不走。」這句話是說,在我們離開這世界的時候,我們無法將此生所擁有的東西裝在行李箱裡一併帶走。靈柩車的後面不會跟著行李車。一位國際聞名且富有的企業家過世後,人們問到他留下了多少財產?他公司的發言人準確地回答:「全部!」

然而,奇怪的是,我們的行為却好像不認為這句話是真的。很多人在有生之年盡可能地利用自己的收入累積財物。也許是房子、車子、是衣櫃裡多得足夠讓第三世界國家內整個村子穿的衣服、是昂貴的渡假、或是足夠用好幾輩子的器具。我們為投資而煩惱,當獲利降低時就悶悶不樂,當獲利升高時就興高采烈(暫時的)。

然而,在我們嚥下最後一口氣時,我們所積聚的一切都只能留在世上,可能留給家人和所愛的人,或者甚至是以遺產稅的形式留給政府。實際上我們不能帶走任何財物,但為何我們的所作所為,看起來好像能夠帶走畢生的積蓄?

這並不是說財物--電視、手機、電腦、房屋、各式各樣的交通工具、襯衫、裙子、褲子、書籍、遊艇、甚至保齡球--都是不好的。但若它們佔據了我們全部的注意力和精力,那麼我們最好要重新檢視我們的優先順序和熱愛的事物。我們發現在聖經中對「財物」有非常不一樣的觀點,值得我們思考:

財物不是好主人。我們可以將自己所擁有的財物當作工具或僕人,發揮功效讓我們有機會用它們去做有意義的事。但有些人會將它們當成崇拜的對象,而為此消耗掉寶貴的時間、才幹和精力。耶穌說:「一個人不能事奉兩個主;不是惡這個,愛那個,就是重這個,輕那個。你們不能又事奉神,又事奉瑪門(瑪門:財利的意思)」(馬太福音6章24節)。

財物佔據人的愛。我們在銀行帳戶裡有足夠的金錢不是壞事,除非我們無法定義「足夠」二字。但是,有太多人不自覺地著迷於存摺裏的數字和損益,而疏忽了周圍需要被關愛的人。這就是為何耶穌說:「不要為自己積儹財寶在地上;地上有蟲子咬,能銹壞,也有賊挖窟窿來偷。只要積儹財寶在天上;天上沒有蟲子咬,不能銹壞,也沒有賊挖窟窿來偷。因為你的財寶在那裡,你的心也在那裡」(馬太福音6章19-21節)。祂所謂的「天上財寶」是甚麼意思呢?

財物永遠都不夠。你遇過多少人能夠誠心地說:「我已經擁有所需要的一切。」?即便有,可能也不多。然而,「多少才算足夠?」在回答這問題時,若我們誠實的話,大部分的人會說:「只要再多一點就好。」關於這一點,被譽為史上最有智慧之人--以色列王所羅門寫道:「貪愛銀子的,不因得銀子知足;貪愛豐富的,也不因得利益知足…貨物增添,吃的人也增添,物主得甚麼益處呢?不過眼看而已…他怎樣從母胎赤身而來,也必照樣赤身而去;他所勞碌得來的,手中分毫不能帶去」(傳道書5章10-15節)。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。

省思/討論題目
當有人說:「你不能帶走」,或其他類似的話,你會想到甚麼? 你會如何描述金錢和財物在你生活中的重要程度或優先順位? 你是否認識某個人過度重視財富並且為了獲取,甚至危及自己的生命?對於他們的生命,你觀察到甚麼? 知道並了解無論我們這一生賺取多少財富,在我們死後都無法帶走的事實後,該如何改變我們對自己財物的態度和行為,使那些財物不致「擁有」我們?我們又該如何能像耶穌所說:「積儹財寶在天上」?註:若你有聖經且想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:箴言11章4、18、25、28節,15章6節,18章11節,19章4、17節;傳道書2章10-11節,4章8節,9章7-10節

IS IT TRUE WE CAN”T TAKE IT WITH US?
By Robert J. Tamasy

Occasionally we hear the cliché, “You can”t take it with you.” The implication is that on the day we pass from this life, we will not be taking suitcases filled with our belongings. No moving van will be following the hearse. Following the death of a wealthy, internationally famous entrepreneur, when asked how much the businessman had left behind, a company spokesman accurately responded, “All of it!”

Strangely, however, often we do not act as if that is true. Many of us accrue as many material things as our incomes allow. For some people this means multiple homes, numerous cars, closets filled with attire that could clothe entire villages in Third World countries, expensive vacations, enough gizmos and gadgets to occupy several lifetimes. We fret over investment portfolios, agonizing when returns drop and rejoicing (temporarily) when they soar.

Yet, upon taking our final breath, everything we have amassed remains behind, left perhaps to family members and loved ones, or even to the government in the form of inheritance taxes. So if in reality we can”t take it with us, why does our behavior make it appear we think otherwise?

This is not to say material things – TVs, cell phones, computers, houses, various forms of transportation, shirts and skirts and slacks, books, boats, even bowling balls – are inherently wrong. But if they demand our full attention and devotion, it might be good to re-examine our priorities and passions. We find a decidedly different perspective on “stuff” in the Bible, one worthy of our consideration:

Material possessions make a poor master. We can use the things we possess as tools, or servants, enabling us to do the good things we have the opportunity to perform. Or they can become objects of worship, consuming our time, talent and energy. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the others. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24).

Material possessions demand our affections. Having enough money in our bank accounts is not bad, unless we have trouble defining what “enough” means. Too many people, however, have been driven by their obsession with bank balances and bottom lines, at the expense of deserving people around them. This is one reason Jesus said, “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). What did He mean by “treasures in heaven”?

Material possessions are never enough. How many people have you met who have sincerely stated, “I have everything I need. I never want another thing”? Probably not many people, if any at all. In answer to the question, “How much is enough?”, most of us if we were honest would reply, “Just a little bit more.” About this Israel”s King Solomon, reputed to be the wisest man who ever lived, wrote, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income…. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them…. Naked a man comes from his mother”s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-15).

© 2016. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
When someone says, “You can”t take it with you,” or something to that effect, what comes to your mind? How would you describe the degree of importance or priority that money and material possessions have for your life? Have you known someone whose excessive focus on wealth and acquiring material things worked to their detriment? What did you observe about their life? Armed with the knowledge and awareness that no matter how much we acquire in this life, we will not be able to take any of it with us after we die, how should that change our attitudes and actions toward the things we own – so that they do not “own” us? How can we, as Jesus said, “store up treasures in heaven”?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:4, 11:18,25, 28, 15:6, 18:11, 19:4,17; Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, 4:8, 9:7-10

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