By By Jim Mathis
省思 / 討論題目
哪些東西是你目前所擁有且重視的，但你知道它們很快會老舊或過時，而讓你會丟棄它們？ 現在，想想那些可長久耐用的東西。你比較重視哪一種，壽命較短或存留較久的東西？為什麼？ 若你要評估你的生命和優先次序，你如何使用你的時間和精力－－用在最終會被丟棄或失去的東西上，或有永恆價值的事物？請解釋。 你認為你是否需要重新評估並調整你在這一方面的生活重心？為什麼？若你想看或討論聖經對此主題的其他部份，請看以下經文：箴言3章27-28節，11章24-26節，19章17節，22章2、9節，27章20節，28章8節
HOW LONG DO THINGS LAST?
By Jim Mathis
Over the past 15 or 20 years, I have owned about a dozen cell phones. Almost all had to be replaced because they stopped working. They were not built to last for very long. Similarly, most computer people I know agree if a computer is more than three years old, it is rapidly advancing into technological old age.
On the other hand, as a musician when I perform in concerts, I regularly use a 60-year-old guitar amplifier that I still consider very reliable. My wife and I have furniture in our house we have owned for more than 40 years that we have no intention of replacing. These all were built to withstand the ravages of time.
Some do not need to last because they become obsolete before they wear out, like computers and other technological devices that seem outdated almost before you get them home from the store. Other things, such as plastic packaging, have a lifespan far beyond their usefulness.
I have been struggling with this issue of reasonable usefulness and obsolescence because my car is getting older. Today it has accumulated more miles than any of the previous 34 cars I have owned. Yet it remains just as tightly constructed and solid as the day I bought it 11 years ago. Since the car is still in excellent operating condition, I think I will keep driving it.
When I got involved with photography in the 1960s, it was said black and white photographs would last about 100 years and color photographs would last less than twenty years. Most people ignored this fact, assuming their pictures would last forever. Now in the business of restoring old photographs, I have found these predictions accurate. Black and white photos from the early 20th century are usually merely torn or damaged from handling or poor storage; color prints from the last half of the 20th century are badly faded.
Let”s apply this understanding of the temporary nature of things we possess to the spiritual realm. Jesus often spoke about this, urging listeners not to become too attached to what they owned. For instance, He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust can destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, whether moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).
Jesus was citing the futility of devoting our lives to the pursuit of things that wear out, become damaged, or grow obsolete. He was saying it is far wiser to focus on things that are eternal, those that will never grow old. Then He made an additional comment: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Jesus astutely observed if money and what we possess hold our top priority, we become devoted to seeking and accumulating things we cannot keep forever.
On another occasion, He spoke about a rich man who decided to build a larger barn to stockpile his overabundance of crops. He told himself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink and be merry.” That night, however, the rich man died, leaving all of his earthly possessions for someone else to claim. Jesus closed with the comment, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:18-21).
The question we each must ask ourselves is this: Am we spending our time, energy and talent primarily to acquire things we will discard or lose, or investing those in things that will last for eternity?
Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio 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.
What are some things you currently have and value that you know will soon wear out or become obsolete, causing you to discard them? Now, think of other things that have been made to last for a long time. Which do you value the most – and why? The short-term things or ones that are longer lasting? If you were to assess your life and priorities, how are you devoting most of your own time and energy – toward things that ultimately will be discarded or lost, or things that have eternal value? Explain your answer. Do you think there is a need to re-evaluate and redirect your focus in this respect? Why or why not?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 3:27-28, 11:24-26, 19:17, 22:2,9, 27:20, 28:8