獨特和更好永遠有市場

By: Jim Mathis

我年輕的時候,因為4-H青年農業俱樂部計畫,買了100小雞,然後突然發現自己做起賣蛋的生意了。十六歲買了第一輛車之後,我開始送蛋到家的行程。

人們願意付比較多的錢去買比一般商店更大和更好的雞蛋,這件事讓我大感吃驚。我把我的蛋稱做「新鮮農場」,用現在的話來說就是「放養的有機蛋」。

因為那時沒有錢去買關雞的籠子,我讓雞抓自己蟲吃或是吃自己喜歡吃的東西,結果雞和我都很滿意。對我來說,很省力,對雞來說,牠們想吃什麼就吃什麼。自由自在的雞生產出高品質的雞蛋。

第一個生意的冒險行動間接引導我走向了畢生致力的專業-攝影。我用賣雞蛋的錢買了第一台錄音機和35厘米的照相機。錄音機後來過時了,但是那台照相機卻開啟了我用影像對捕捉人和事物的熱愛。

在這個過程裡,我學到起頭和創新的價值。但也許我學到更重要的一課是「獨特和更好永遠有市場」,尤其是跟那些大型企業生意相比較時。這個生意哲學跟著我一路到現在。

特別是在充滿科技和電腦的許多領域裡,這個原則屢見不鮮。大企業也許有更多的資源、人力和市場通路,但是如果你能獨樹一格,做得更好,你就非常有希望能成功。

幾年前,我發現把這個原則應用在屬靈的的領域也是行得通。很多信仰專注在行為儀式和規條,希望能成為神聖。然而,神卻給我們很獨特的聖經的真理: 愛、恩典和能自由給予的憐憫。事實上,從聖經中我們知道,神「他便救了我們;並不是因我們自己所行的義,乃是照他的憐憫,藉皀重生的洗和聖靈的更新。」(提多書3:5)

耶穌也向我們保證一個超過我們所求所想的永生,祂說: 「…我來了,是要叫羊( – 或譯:人)得生命,並且得的更豐盛。」(約翰福音10:10) 這不是一個空洞的承諾,而是我親身經歷過的。

有時候,我們覺得工作、家庭或是個人的追求都落空時,神在以賽亞書給我們一個重新的開始: 「看哪,我要做一件新事; 如今要發現,你們豈不知道嗎? 我必在曠野開道路, 在沙漠開江河。」(以賽亞書43:19)

在聖經中還有更多應許符合這個條件,如果你用獨特和更好的角度來看。

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。

省思/討論題目
想想看有什麼產品或是服務新推出時,因為很獨特和更好很吸引你?為什麼你對它感興趣? 你是否同意「獨特與更好永遠有市場」這個觀念?如果你贊同,你認為人們為什麼傾向用舊的方式做事? 在你所處的企業或是職場,你是否曾經用獨特和更好的點子帶來更大的成功?如果有,描述一下你的經驗。 當與其他宗教比較的時候,你認為聖經對是否提供了更獨特和更好關於生活和信仰的方式?如果你想要看看或是討論聖經中與這主題相關的經節,請參考:耶利米書29章11-13節、33章3節;羅馬書6章4節、11節;歌羅西書2章20節;以弗所書 3章20節;哥林多後書5章17節

ALWAYS A MARKET FOR UNIQUE AND BETTER

By Jim Mathis

When I was a young person, I bought 100 baby chicks for a 4-H agricultural youth club project. Before long I found myself in the egg business. After getting my first car when I was 16 years old, I started an egg route, delivering eggs to customers directly to their homes.

It was a great surprise for me to discover people were willing to pay a premium price because my eggs were bigger and tasted better than the "store-bought" variety they were accustomed to eating. I called my eggs, "Farm Fresh." The modern term for this would be "Free-range organic."

Since I could not afford to buy cages for my chickens, I let my hens fend for themselves and eat bugs or anything else they liked to eat. As a result, the hens and I were all content. This meant less actual labor for me, and the chickens could eat whatever they chose – whenever they chose to eat it. They were “free range” fowl, and happily produced excellent, high-quality eggs.

This first business venture indirectly led to the profession I would pursue for a lifetime – photography. I used the egg money I earned to purchase my first tape recorder and also a 35-millimeter camera. The tape recorder became of lesser importance over time, but the camera birthed my love for capturing images of people and objects on film.

Through this process I learned the value of initiative and innovation. But perhaps an even more important lesson was that there always will be a demand for something unique and better, especially when compared to what the established, big-business guys are doing. This philosophy has served me well throughout the course of my career.

We have seen this demonstrated in many areas of business, especially in the world of technology and computers. Large corporations may have greater resources, manpower and marketing networks, but if you can create something unique and better, you have a great chance for success.

Years ago I discovered this principle applies to the spiritual realm as well. Most belief systems focus on behavior,rituals and rules, ways for supposedly earning divine approval. In encountering the truths of the Bible, I learned God also offers something unique and better – love, grace and mercy that are given freely. In fact, we learn the God of the Bible “saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5). This is unique, totally different from any religion.

Jesus also promised a quality of life beyond anything we could ever imagine. He said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). This was not an empty promise, but something I have truly experienced in my own life.

For times in life when we realize things are not working – on the job, in our homes, or our personal pursuits – God offers the opportunity to make a fresh start.In Isaiah 43:19 He declares,“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

If we think in terms of “unique and better,” these and many other biblical promises fit the description.

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, 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
Think of a product or service that first appealed to you because it seemed unique and better. What was it, and why did it interest you? Do you agree with the concept that there is always a demand for something that is unique and better? If so, why do you think people tend to remain attached to old ways of doing things? Have you ever come up with a “unique and better” idea that paved the way for greater success, whether in your own business or where you work? If so, describe that experience. What do you think of the idea that the Bible offers a way for living and believing that is unique and better when compared to all other belief systems and religions?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: Jeremiah 29:11-13, 33:3; Romans 6:4,11; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17

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