Saturday, May 18, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

東西能存留多久?

By By Jim Mathis

過去15或20年間,我曾擁有大約12支手機。幾乎每一次換手機都是因為它們壞了。商人製造它們時本來就不是讓它們長久耐用。同樣的,大部份我認識的人都同意,若一個電腦超過三年,就迅速進入科技的老年期。

但在另一方面,身為一個音樂家,當我在演奏會上表演時,我都會用我那已用了60年但仍然非常可靠的吉他擴音器。在我們家中有已超過40年的傢俱,而我妻子和我都沒打算要更換。這些東西都經得起時間的摧殘。

有些東西不需要有太長的壽命,因為在它們磨損之前就已過時,例如電腦和其他科技發明,在你從商店把它們買回家前就似乎過時了。其他的東西,像塑膠包裝的壽命就比它們被使用的時間長太多了。

我一直在合理可使用和過時的這兩個考量之間掙扎,因為我的汽車已經老舊。今天它累積的里程數已超過我過去34年間所擁有的任何一輛車。然而它還是和我11年前買它時那樣堅固。因為這輛車仍然還在絕佳的狀況,我想我將會繼續開它。

當我在1960年代從事攝影業時,人們說黑白照片可維持大約100年,而彩色照片只能維持不超過20年。大多數人都忽視這個事實,以為他們的照片可以永遠存在。現在我在修復舊照片的行業,我發現當時的預言是正確的。二十世紀初期的黑白照片通常只是因為沒有好好保存而破損;而二十世紀後半期的彩色照片卻嚴重褪色。

讓我們把對東西短暫本質的了解應用在屬靈領域。耶穌常常談到這一點,勸導人們不要太依戀所擁有的。例如,他說:「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」(馬太福音6章19-20節)。

耶穌說,把我們的生命獻身於那些會變舊、損壞、過時的東西是無益的。祂說,專注在那些能存到永恆,絕不會變老舊的東西才是有智慧。然後祂又加上一句話:「因為你的財寶在那裡,你的心也在那裡」(馬太福音6章21節)。耶穌敏銳地觀察到,若我們把金錢和所擁有的財物作為我們第一優先的事,我們就是獻身去尋求並積儹我們無法永遠保有的東西。

在另一個場合,祂談到一個財主決定要建一個更大的穀倉,以貯存他大豐收的農作物。他告訴自己:「你有許多財物積存,可作多年的費用,只管安安逸逸的吃喝快樂吧!」然而,那天晚上,那財主死了,留下他所有的財物給別人。耶穌用這句話來總結:「凡為自己積財,在神面前卻不富足的,也是這樣」(路加福音12章18-21節)。

我們每一個人必須要問自己的問題是:我們是否把自己大部份的時間、精力、和才幹都用在獲取我們將會丟棄或失去的東西,或是投資在會存到永恆的事物?

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。他曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

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to last because they become obsolete before they wear out, like computers and other technological devices that seem outdated almost before you get them home from the store.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.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
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

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