Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Vine Media

葡萄樹傳媒

當一帆風順的時候還是感覺不安?

By Jim Mathis

二十年前,1992年9月14日出版的富士比雜誌登載了一篇報導,標題是:當我們一帆風順的時候,為什麼我們還是會感覺不安?我保留了那本雜誌,因為在那之前或之後,我沒有看過類似的文章。人們為什麼有一種傾向,即使在最好的時候,還是會唉聲嘆氣的覺得事情可能會變糟。

其中一個原因,大概是因為政客一直告訴我們不論個人或是整個社會,都糟透了!他們聲稱如果自己當選了,會讓社會變得更好。現職的官員和競選人也都告訴我們,他們想要讓我們的社會「再一次」變好,言下之意就是說在過去的某個不確定的時間,以前的社會「曾經」是好的。

政治家或是媒體會告訴我們:即使狀況還不錯,這個社會還是越來越糟,這是一種宣傳手段。除此之外,社會上有一些人容易負面思考,永遠用杯子裡面只剩半杯水的想法來看事情。另一些人則是抱著完全相反的態度,對每件事情都太過樂觀,覺得杯子還有半杯水,已經很好了! 哲學家很擅長順應你喜歡的觀點,告訴你認為事情會越來越好,事情就會越來越好。你認為事情會越來越糟,事情就會越來越糟。我們會預言自己的未來。

以我個人來說,我是樂觀的人。也許我們有正當理由可以抱怨,但是今天我們也有絕佳的機會可以改變現狀。我們手上擁有的時間就是歷史上第一個能夠改變現狀的時間點。所以讓今天成為更加有創造力、更有活力和更有生產力的時刻。

但是有一個祕訣: 要想更加有創造力、更加有活力和更加有生產力,我們不能只是坐著等待機會從天上掉下來。我們要努力地有決心地追求他們。從屬靈的角度來說,我們的信心和對神的信任會給我們更多理由更加樂觀。因為聖經告訴我們:「我靠那加給我力量的,凡事都能做。」(腓立比書4章13節)又說:「我的上帝必照他榮耀的豐富,在基督耶穌裏,使你們一切所需用的都充足。」(腓立比書4章19節)

所以一方面來說,機會是從我們的態度和看法來的。使徒保羅告訴我們:「不要自欺,上帝是輕慢不得的。人種的是甚麼,收的也是甚麼。順情慾撒種的,必從情慾收敗壞;順聖靈撒種的,必從 聖靈收永生。」(加拉太書6章7-8節)

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。

當耶穌說:「你們是世上的光。城造在山上是不能隱藏的。」(馬太福音5章14節),祂在呼召每一個跟隨祂的人,將祂的愛、恩典和希望如同在黑暗當中的明光照耀出去。最黑暗的時刻,大家認為最糟的時候,就是我們跟隨耶穌的最佳時刻。

吉姆.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。他曾是一家咖啡店的經理,也曾是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

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?

備註:如果你想要查考聖經當中與這個主題相關的經文,請參考:詩篇37篇1-7節、118篇24節;箴言3章5-6節;路加福音6章38節;腓立比書4章8節、14-18節

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.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

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

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