By Jim Mathis
然後我們的早餐談話轉向「選擇」。 重要的選擇至少可以追溯到高中時期，有些時候甚至可以追溯到我們學齡前的時代。 我們所做的每一個選擇都會影響我們的生活。 即使是很小的選擇也會對未來產生巨大的影響。
這讓我想起了掉進井裡的驢子這個寓言，在故事裡沒有人想得出要如何把牠救上來。 最後，他的主人決定要把驢子活埋在井裡，認為這是憐憫驢子。 他們開始鏟土，每鏟一次土，驢子就把土甩掉，抖落的土最後變成土堆。 隨著土越堆越高，驢子就站在土堆上。 最後井裡的土堆得很高，高到驢子能夠安全從井裡走出去。
在聖經裡面，我們可以找到許多個人和團體的例子，這些人決心不向他們的問題屈服。 他們祈求智慧和徹底的拯救，然後制定策略來應對挑戰。 這就是為什麼羅馬書5章3-5節告訴我們:「不但如此，就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的；因為知道患難生忍耐，忍耐生老練，老練生盼望； 盼望不至於羞恥，因為所賜給我們的聖靈將 神的愛澆灌在我們心裏。」
聖經告訴我們不要屈服於逆境的壓力，而是要依靠上帝的力量來忍受我們的艱辛，通過這些歷練成長，加強我們的決心，克服挑戰，以便我們能夠在個人和專業方面更加成長和優秀。 雅各書1章3-5節告訴我們：「因為知道你們的信心經過試驗，就生忍耐。但忍耐也當成功，使你們成全、完備，毫無缺欠。你們中間若有缺少智慧的，應當求那厚賜與眾人、也不斥責人的 神，主就必賜給他。」
你可以這麼說，只要我們仍然在地球上行走，我們就永遠不會完全脫離「井」； 只要我們活著，就要面對不斷的挑戰。 但是靠著上帝的力量和引導，我們可以克服這些挑戰。 讓我們不斷地站上土堆，面對挑戰！
Jim Mathis是美國堪薩斯州歐弗蘭帕克攝影工作室的老闆，專門從事商業和戲劇肖像攝影，並經營著一所攝影學校。 他以前是密蘇里州堪薩斯城咖啡店的經理和CBMC的執行董事。
你認為為什麼有些人好像遇到了一個接著一個的問題，而且每個問題都越來越複雜？ 你是否同意作者的觀點: 這些問題往往是我們過去做出的選擇所導致的？
你以前聽過驢子的寓言故事嗎？ 從這個故事，你學到甚麼經驗或是教訓？ 你認為自己現在是否也深陷在甚麼「井」當中嗎？
在困難的時候，其他人是如何尋求上帝的力量、引導和智慧呢？ 你有這樣的經歷嗎？ 分享你的答案。
3:18 然而，我要因耶和華歡欣，因救我的 神喜樂。
1:5 你們中間若有缺少智慧的，應當求那厚賜與眾人、也不斥責人的 神，主就必賜給他。
SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!
By Jim Mathis
I was having breakfast with some friends when one of them mentioned a co-worker who was always having bad things happen. He had been suspended from work because he was late too many times. He was late because he ran out of gas. He ran out of gas because his fuel gauge didn't work.
Presumably, he could not afford to get the fuel gauge repaired because he was suspended from his job.
Apparently he failed to realize that he could just keep track of how far he had driven and fill up every few hundred miles, even though the trip odometer makes a good substitute for a fuel gauge. His story of woe became even longer with additional problems arising due to not taking control of common situations.
Our breakfast conversation then turned to choices. Important choices start at least as far back as high school; some can date back to our pre-school days. Every choice we make has an effect on our life. Sometimes even small choices have a huge impact for the future.
This reminded me of the fable about the donkey that fell into a well, and nobody could figure out how to get it out. Eventually the townspeople decided to be merciful on the donkey by burying it alive in the well. They began to shovel in dirt, but with each shovelful, the donkey shook off the dirt and stepped up onto the growing pile of dirt. As dirt filled the well, the donkey continued stepping up. Eventually the mound of dirt inside the well had piled so high, the donkey was able to step out of the well onto level ground and safety.
This story”s moral is a simple one: The donkey could have decided he was doomed and accepted his fate. He could have given up at any time and become buried under the dirt. Instead, he kept shaking it off and rising up under the challenge until he had overcome his dilemma and stepped out into freedom.
Like the donkey, in the business and professional world we often find ourselves deep in a “well” of difficulties, with people shoveling dirt on us, trying to cover us up. This leaves us with a choice: We can either become buried by the adverse circumstances, or keep stepping up to confront the new challenge.
In the Bible, we can find many examples of individuals and groups that determined not to succumb to their problems. They would pray for wisdom, sometimes for outright deliverance, then devise strategies to address their challenges. This is why passages like Romans 5:3-5 tell us to “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us.”
This means rather than bowing down to the pressures of adversity, we can rely on God”s strength to endure our hardships, grow through these experiences, strengthen our resolve, and overcome our challenges so we can excel and thrive, both personally and professionally. James 1:3-5 offers similar sentiments: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
One could say that we are never completely out of the “well” as long as we are still walking around on Planet Earth. There are constant challenges to face and dirt to be shaken off as long as we live. With God”s strength and guidance, we can overcome them. Keep stepping up!
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 a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.
Why do you think some people seem to encounter one problem after another, each one compounding what”s gone before? Do you agree with Mr. Mathis that these adversities can often result from choices we have made in the past? Had you heard the fable of the donkey before? What lessons or practical insights does it provide for you? What deep “well” do you find yourself stuck in at the moment? If you are familiar with some of the stories in the Bible, who can you think of that was able to overcome extremely difficult circumstances by rising up to face and overcome them? How can someone seek the power, guidance and wisdom of God for facing times of great difficulty and hardship? Have you had experiences like that yourself? Explain your answer.
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Habakkuk 3:16-18; Psalm 27:114; Matthew 6:1-12; James 1:5-7,12; 1 Peter 1:6-9