By Robert D. Foster
本文改編自「週一早晨觀點」，這是一系列由羅勃．符思特所寫的默想文章。他不收費，鼓勵人們複製，只要註明出處即可。若有任何問題或評論，請寫信到29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135, U.S.A.或傳真 (303) 647-2315。符思特先生最近剛慶祝他91歲生日。就像他的勸勉，他每一天都繼續「抓住這一天！」
思想 / 討論題目
你如何定義「快樂」？你要擁有什麼才覺得快樂？ 本文作者說：「快樂是生活中唯一無法靠尋求而得到的。」你是否同意？為什麼？ 你對快樂與喜樂的區別有何看法？若你必須選擇其中一項，你會選擇哪一個？請解釋。 本篇「週一嗎哪」的結論之一是真正的喜樂來自與上帝的關係。你對這結論有何看法？若你想要看有關此主題的其他經文，請看：
THE POINTLESS PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
By Robert D. Foster
At the annual National People’s Congress, the prime minister of China ordered officials to make a determined, concentrated effort to "make people happy." HAPPY has become a buzzword, the new rallying cry, for bureaucrats in that vast, powerful nation, displacing the most recent favorite: "harmony."
"Happy, happy, happy." That seems to have become the only word that counts at the moment in a country with over 1.3 billion people who purportedly have "a keen eye for the hollowness of propaganda campaigns." But I wonder: What about food? Or housing? Or clean water? Or education?
Years ago I read the following statement in a popular British magazine: “Happiness is the one quality in life which can never be found by seeking. If we quest for knowledge, we can apply ourselves to study; if we quest for power, it is possible, in a variety of ways, to obtain that coveted possession. Most things in life may be found IF we seek with sufficient persistence and determination.”
As the writer of the magazine article pointed out, however, that is not the case with happiness. It cannot be acquired and possessed by relentless pursuit.
In my more than nine decades of experience in life, having the opportunity to interact with people in many parts of the world, it has been my observation that the people who are trying to be happy are, for the most part, depressed and dissatisfied. Happiness, as the very word itself suggests, depends ultimately on happenings – things that happen – which many times are totally beyond our control.
Not only in China, but also everywhere around the globe, we find men, women and even children in the perpetual quest of happiness, which means their state of mind is conditioned upon responding to what happens. This is true in every segment of society, including the business and professional world where circumstances can shift dramatically in an instant, displacing happiness with despair.
Faced with this reality, it is important to realize there is a wonderful, much better alterative: JOY.
Author Karen Mains offers this insight: "Joy doesn’t fluctuate with the ups and downs of life. Joy rises above my circumstances. Joy is a state of inner gladness and well-being as well as its exuberant outward expressions." She reminds us that joy cannot be manufactured; joy cannot be summoned; joy cannot be demanded.
Here is a description that clearly distinguishes lasting joy from temporary happiness: “Joy is an inward singing which cannot be silenced by outward negative circumstances.”
Ultimately, as Ms. Mains points out, joy is a byproduct of a healthy, growing relationship with God. She writes: "We must root ourselves in the Godhead. We must increase our worship of the Father, identify more the presence of Christ in our everyday living, and become increasingly obedient to the Holy Spirit."
This is why the Bible makes this simple declaration: "The fruit of the Spirit is joy" (Galatians 5:22). In a typical day, happiness can come and go. But even in the workplace, true joy can endure even adversity.
Taken and adapted from Take Two on Monday Morning, written by Robert D. Foster. Permission to reproduce with proper credit is freely given and encouraged. For questions or comments, write: 29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135, U.S.A., or fax (303) 647-2315. Mr. Foster recently celebrated his 91st birthday. He continues to “seize the day” on a daily basis.
How would you define happiness? What do you require to feel happy? Mr. Foster includes the statement that, “Happiness is the one quality in life which can never be found by seeking.” Do you agree? Why or why not? What is your reaction to the distinction between made between happiness and joy? If you had to choose one or the other, which would you rather have? Explain your answer. One of the conclusions of this “Monday Manna” is that true joy ultimately comes out of relationship with God. What are your thoughts about that?If you would like to consider other Bible passages that relate to this topic, look up the following:
Psalm 126:5-6; Isaiah 61:10; Romans 5:2-5; Philippians 2:2-4; James 1:2-4