最好的將要來臨

By Fritz Klumpp

「若要能及格,我必須仔細聽教授說的每句話。」這是幾十年前我在美國海軍學院(U.S. Naval Academy)掙扎著苦修一門工程課時心中的想法。我不記得是哪種工程學,但我記得我讀得很辛苦。然而,當時我望向我的左邊,我注意到我的朋友保羅讀得一點也不辛苦。他坐在那裡…正在譜寫樂曲!那時我才知道他在一架與我們大多數人非常不一樣的飛機上執行任務。

保羅.羅勃.柯連道弗(Paul Robert Kleindorfer)被喜愛他的美國海軍學院同學們暱稱為「麋鹿」。他是我認識所有人中最聰明的人之一。麋鹿從印第安納州的北猶得森市(North Judson)來到海軍學院,他不只在學業上傑出,在運動方面、男聲合唱團、詩班、和管樂團也表現卓越。雖然他有好的成就,但我們許多人最記得的是他的好個性和顯著的幽默感。

畢業後,麋鹿在軍中擔任軍官的任務。當我受海軍飛行訓練時,他在埃格林空軍基地(Eglin Air Force Base)受特種部隊的訓練,我與妻子就到佛羅里達州的潘撒科樂市(Pensacola)拜訪他,我們很享受與他的團聚。那是多年來我最後一次見到他。

今天麋鹿,或者更恰當地稱呼是柯連道弗博士,是世界工商管理學院(INSEAD, the Business School for the World, INStitut Européen d’ADministration des Affaires)科技及經營管理系的教授。他也是賓州大學華頓商學院(Wharton School of Business)管理科學系的榮譽教授,他也在卡內基美侖大學(Carnegie Mellon University)、麻省理工學院(the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)、華頓商學院、以及許多大學和國際研究機構任教。他已出版了25本以上的書籍和許多研究論文。

我最後一次看到麋鹿是在我們海軍學院50年的同學會上。那時麋鹿告訴我他得了肌肉萎縮性脊髓側索硬化症(amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS),這是腦部和脊椎內控制隨意肌活動之神經細胞的疾病。

因為他與妻子住在法國巴黎,我不容易得知他健康狀況,但最近麋鹿透過電子郵件告訴我們他最新的情況。這可怕的疾病對他的傷害極大,現在他必需倚賴別人照顧他的基本需要。

在郵件最後他寫道:「最好的將要來臨。」我朋友麋鹿這充滿盼望的話深深感動並啟發我。只有認識上帝的人才能這麼有把握地談論他的未來。

聖經這麼說:「這見證就是 神賜給我們永生;這永生也是在他兒子裏面。人有了 神的兒子就有生命,沒有 神的兒子就沒有生命」(約翰一書5章11-12節)。這段經節告訴我,在上帝永恆的計畫裡,實際上只有兩種人,而在最後重要的不是我們的成就,而是我們與基督的關係。

若你處於保羅的情況,你也能夠說:「最好的將要來臨」嗎?

弗瑞茲.柯藍普和他的妻子安(Ann)住在美國維吉尼亞州的Ashland。他曾是美國海軍的飛行員,曾打過越戰。自達美航空的機師職位退休後,他曾在美國CBMC擔任多年的執行總幹事。他也曾就職於房地產業。他的網站是http://fritzklumpp.com。

省思 / 討論題目
你對本文作者這位有高度成就、非常成功的朋友的故事有何看法? 當你聽到非常有天份且有恩賜的人忍受嚴峻的折磨與艱難時,你有何感覺? 當面對極大的困難,尤其是不太可能,或甚至完全不可能有快樂的解決辦法時,我們如何能維持正向、樂觀的看法? 在本篇「週一嗎哪」最後,作者問你若處於類似保羅的情況,你能夠說:「最好的將要來臨」嗎?你可以真心誠意地說這句話嗎?為什麼?註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
以賽亞書41章10節;耶利米書29章11-13節;羅馬書5章1-5節,8章28-29節;哥林多後書12章79-102節;雅各書1章2-8節

“THE BEST IS YET TO COME”
By Fritz Klumpp

“If I am going to keep my head above water I need to hear everything the professor is saying.” Those were my thoughts as I struggled in an engineering class I was taking decades ago at the U.S. Naval Academy. I do not recall which class it was, but do remember having a difficult time. Looking to my left, however, I noticed my friend Paul was not struggling at all. He was sitting there…writing music! It was then I realized he was operating on a very different plane of performance than most of us.

Paul Robert Kleindorfer, affectionately known by his U.S. Naval Academy classmates as “Moose,” is one of the brightest men I have ever known. Upon arriving at the Naval Academy from North Judson, Indiana, U.S.A., Moose distinguished himself not only in academics, but also on the athletic field, the glee club, choir, and concert band. In spite of his accomplishments, many of us remember him best for his good nature and outstanding sense of humor.

Following graduation, Moose took an officer”s commission in the Army. My wife, Ann, and I enjoyed visiting with him in Pensacola, Florida where I was going through Naval Flight Training while he was going through Special Forces training at Eglin Air Force Base. That was the last time I would see Moose for many years.

Today Moose, or more appropriately Dr. Kleindorfer, is a distinguished research professor in technology and operations management at INSEAD, the Business School for the World. He also is professor emeritus of management science at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and has held university appointments at Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Wharton School, and several universities and international research institutes. He has published more than 25 books and numerous research papers.

The last time I saw Moose was at the 50th reunion of our Naval Academy class. It was then that Moose informed us he has what is commonly known as Lou Gehrig”s Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS), a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

Since he and his wife are living in Paris, France, it is not easy to keep up with the state of his health, but recently Moose gave us an update on his condition via e-mail. The terrible disease has taken such a toll he is now dependent on others for his most basic needs.

He ended his update by simply saying, “The best is yet to come.” I do not know if I have ever been more deeply moved or inspired than I was by those words of hope written by my friend Moose. Only a man that knows God can speak of his future with such certainty.

The Bible makes this statement: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life: he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11,12). What this passage says to me is that in God”s eternal plan, there are really only two kinds of people, and in the end it is not our accomplishments but only our relationship with Christ that matters.

If you were in Paul”s situation, could you also say, “The best is yet to come”?

Fritz Klumpp and his wife, Ann, live in Ashland, Virginia, U.S.A. nHe was a U.S. Navy pilot, having served during the Vietnam War, retired after a career as a jet pilot for Delta Air Lines, served several years as executive director for CBMC-USA, and has been in the real estate business. He has a website, http://fritzklumpp.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
What is your reaction to Fritz Klumpp”s story about his very accomplished, highly successful friend? When you hear about very talented and gifted individuals that endure severe afflictions and hardships, how does that make you feel? How is it possible to maintain a positive, optimistic outlook when confronted with great difficulty, particularly circumstances in which it appears a happy resolution is unlikely, or even impossible? At the end of this “Monday Manna,” Mr. Klumpp asks if you found yourself in a situation similar to what Paul is facing, would you be able to say, “The best is yet to come.” Could you say that with sincerity? Why or why not? NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Isaiah 41:10; Jeremiah 29:11-13; Romans 5:1-5, 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; James 1:2-8

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