思想 / 討論題目
TIME TO REVISIT THE “GOLDEN RULE”?
By: Robert J. Tamasy
Modern-day business could be described as the relentless “pursuit of gain”: gaining customers, gaining market share, gaining a competitive edge. Daily stock market reports declare “gains and losses.” Of course, as the economic downturn has lingered with no major reversal in sight, there are many who have not gained. Whether due to job terminations and layoffs, foreclosures, overextended credit, significant investment losses – or any combination of these – individuals and families have been scrambling simply to meet their financial obligations.
Perhaps now would be a good time for business and professional leaders around the globe to revisit the so-called “Golden Rule.” You may recall this originally appeared in the Bible”s New Testament when the apostle Paul quoted Jesus, who stated, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts. 20:35).
Although some cynics today would tell us that the “Golden Rule” has been redefined to mean, “He who owns the gold rules,” the basic principle still holds true – even in these days when materialism and consumerism have taken such a strong grip on society. Generosity seems more the exception than the rule, yet there is something curious, even paradoxical, about the reality that giving often is more beneficial and rewarding than receiving.
It could be that whenever we give, not only to do others receive much-needed aid, but we also receive – the satisfaction of knowing we have the conduits through which assistance came. It seems that as we give, we gain (there is that word again). There also is an understanding that we could not have achieved our successes alone, that we received help from people along the way. Offering help to others – whether in the form of other tangible resources, time, wise counsel, or encouragement – is one way of giving back for the generosity of which we have been recipients.
The Bible says much more about giving and generosity, information that is especially meaningful at a time when needs that surround us seem more acute and intense than ever. Here are some examples:
Generosity is right. In the workplace we often discuss “what is right.” Clearly, doing good to others when we have the opportunity is right – and we are likely to see that investment pay healthy dividends. “The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath. One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:23-25).
Generosity promotes good. Giving generously sets a strong, positive example to others in how they should conduct themselves. “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice…. He has scattered his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever…” (Psalm 112:5, 9).
Generosity honors God. Love and compassion lie at the heart of God”s character, and what better way to reflect His character than to give from resources He has enabled us to accumulate? “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Proverbs 14:31).
Generosity reflects our hope. Is our trust in things that can easily be lost or in God, the ultimate source of all we have? “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran of 38 years in professional journalism, he is the author of Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential.
What is your impression of the so-called “Golden Rule”?
Who is the most generous person you know? Describe this person and how you think generosity has affected his or her life.
How would you rate yourself in terms of generosity? Does it come easily for you, or is it something you struggle with? Explain your answer.
If the focus in the business world were to shift from “gain” to “give,” emphasizing generosity, what do you think would be the overall impact? Is it even realistic to envision such a change? Why or why not?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review some other passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses:
Psalm 37:21; Proverbs 3:27-28, 11:26, 21:13, 22:9; Luke 12:48; Corinthians 9:6-7; 1 Timothy 6:17-19