By Jim Mathis
身 為一個專業的攝影師，我的工作是在人和所有的事物當中找到最美好的那一面。在這方面，我能輕易做到，我發現如果你願意在每件人、事、物，尋找美和卓越，你 就很容易就會看到美和卓越。身為一個專業的工商人士，我們有這個權利也有這樣的義務，把這樣的理念傳達到我們的公司和公司同事和顧客身上。
你是否發現自己即使在順境當中仍然會有不安的感覺。如果有的話，你覺得造成你負面思考的原因是甚麼？ 我們普遍認為這個社會或是世界上越來越糟，在你看來，是因為媒體和政治不斷的訊息轟炸，或是還有其他原因？分享你的看法。 你認為自己是樂觀的人或是悲觀的人？你的理由是甚麼？ 從屬靈的角度來看，對神的信仰和信心是否會造成我們在生活方向的不同，無論是在一個廣泛，一般意義上的生活，還是在我們每天所經歷的具體工作和責任上？從你的經驗來看，信仰是否改變了你的生活？
FEELING BADLY WHEN WE HAVE IT GOOD
By Jim Mathis
More than 20 years ago, the September 14, 1992 issue of Forbes magazine carried an article entitled, "Why Do We Feel So Bad When We Have It So Good?" I kept the issue because there has not been a time since then, or at any time before for that matter, when this has not been the case. For some reason we have a tendency, even at the best of times, to moan and groan about things being or becoming bad.
Part of the problem, it seems, is that politicians spend much of their time telling us how bad off we are, individually and as a society. They issue broad promises that they will make things better. That is, if they are elected. Both incumbent officials and those aspiring to public office assure us they want to "make our country great again," implying that at some unspecified time in the past, things were better.
But making us feel badly when things actually are good is not the exclusive domain of politics – or the media. Some people simply have a predisposition toward pessimism, a “glass half-empty” way of looking at life. Other people take a totally different perspective, leaning decisively toward optimism, wearing the proverbial rose-colored eyeglasses to view containers that are half-full. Philosophers, very adept at being able to support whichever perspective you prefer, assert that whether you think things are getting better or are convinced they are getting worse, you are correct. We always find what we are looking for.
Personally, I am one of those glass half-full types. Yes, we can find reasons to complain, but the many opportunities we have today are unprecedented. We have the world at our fingertips for the first time in history. As a result, it is easier than ever for creative, energetic, industrious people to start businesses.
But therein lies the secret: Being creative, energetic and industrious. We cannot wait for opportunities to suddenly appear on our doorsteps. We must seek them aggressively, and then pursue them with great determination. From a spiritual perspective, our faith and trust in God should give us even more reason for abounding optimism. The Bible assures us that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13), and also, “my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
So in one respect, it begins with our attitude and our outlook. The apostle Paul made reference to this when he wrote, “Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return. The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).
As a professional photographer, my job is to find the best in people and look for beauty in everything. I have no trouble finding it. I have discovered that if you look for beauty and excellence in everything and everyone, it is easy to see. As business and professional people, we have the privilege – and the responsibility – to model this approach for our companies, our colleagues, and our customers.
When Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14), He was calling each of His followers to shine the light of His love, grace and hope, even at times when things truly do seem dark. We should be ready at all times to demonstrate that even when things seem to be taking a negative turn, the “worst of times” can be the best of times as we follow Jesus.
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.
Do you sometimes find yourself feeling badly, even when it seems you should be feeling good about the circumstances you are experiencing? If so, what factors cause you to fall into negative thinking? The pervasive messages we hear about how bad things have become in our society and around the world – in your view, are these largely a result of relentless, negatively oriented media reporting and political posturing? Or is there more to it than that? Explain your answer. Are you typically a glass half-empty or glass half-full type of person? Why do you think this might be? From a spiritual perspective, should faith and confidence in God make a difference in how we approach life, whether in a broad, general sense, or in the specific tasks and responsibilities we carry out each day? In your experience, does this make a difference for you?
NOTE: 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: Psalm 37:1-7, 118:24; Proverbs 3:5-6; Luke 6:38; Philippians 4:8,14-18