磨利鋸子的重要性

By Robert J. Tamasy

你曾否盡可能地努力工作,但卻沒有做成多少事?我想我們都曾有這樣情況。有時,即使我們下定決心也盡了全力,但我們的所有努力卻沒有什麼成果。

然而,缺乏生產力有時是因為沒有「磨利我們的鋸子」。請思想以下的互動:

主管:「路易士,你在做什麼?」
路易士:「我在鋸這些木板,還有好多需要鋸。」
主管:「對,還有很多。但是在我看來,你的鋸子看起來需要磨利。」
路易士:「老闆,你的眼睛像老鷹一樣銳利。這鋸子確實比奶油刀還鈍。」
主管:「所以,若你不介意我問,路易士你告訴我,為什麼你不把鋸子磨利?」
路易士:「喔,老闆,我現在沒辦法去磨。我要忙著鋸這些木板!」

你曾在這樣的情況中嗎?美國總統亞伯拉罕.林肯曾說:「若我有八個小時去砍倒一棵樹,我會花六小時去磨利我的斧頭。」聖經舊約中也有這樣的想法:「鐵器鈍了,若不將刃磨快,就必多費氣力;但得智慧指教,便有益處」(傳道書10章10節)。

努力工作、決心和活力只能完成這麼多。有時一位工作者最需要的是「把鋸子磨利」。但我們要怎麼做,尤其當我們有許多要做的事,擁有的時間卻很少?我們可以受特別的訓練,接受更多教育,或參加有幫助的研習會和會議。但聖經有一些較不費時的建議:

足夠的休息。有時因為有最後期限的壓力,我們就想要更長時間工作並犧牲睡眠。那可能在短時間有效,但最後因缺乏所需要的休息會造成重大的損害。「你們清晨早起,夜晚安歇,吃勞碌得來的飯,本是枉然;惟有耶和華所親愛的,必叫他安然睡覺」(詩篇127篇2節)。

將你的工作交託給上帝。你工作背後的動機是什麼:專業上的晉升、更多錢、自我成就感?智慧的作法是將你的工作交託給上帝,並尋求在你所做的事上榮耀祂。「你所做的,要交託耶和華,你所謀的,就必成立。」(箴言16章3節)。

信靠祂的引導。我們的工作常常是複雜的,而且我們發現有許多不同的做法。哪一種是最好、最有效率、最不費時的?我們可能不知道,但聖經說上帝知道。「人心籌算自己的道路;惟耶和華指引他的腳步」(箴言16章9節)。

禱告求智慧。知識與技術都是好的,但通常擁有知道如何有效去工作的智慧是更好的。「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」(雅各書1章5節)。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的通訊部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有40年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心」(The Heart of Mentoring)。要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com以及www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com 。

思想 / 討論題目
當你覺得在工作上非常沒有生產力時,你是否發現了常常導致你工作沒有果效的原因?那原因是什麼? 你能否說明本文故事中那個忙著鋸木板的工人為何不覺得自己有足夠的時間去磨利他的鋸子?這種情形曾經發生在你身上嗎?或者你曾在職場上觀察到這種情況?請解釋。 當你要將「磨利斧頭」應用到你的某項工作責任和挑戰上,你會想到什麼? 引述自聖經的哪項原則對你個人最有意義?註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
箴言11章14節,15章22節,19章20節,20章13節,22章29節,24章30-34節;傳道書9章10-11節;歌羅西書3章17、23節

IMPORTANCE OF “SHARPENING THE SAW”
By Robert J. Tamasy

Do you ever have days when it seems you have been working as hard as possible, yet you have not accomplished much – if anything? I think we all have days like that. Sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions, there is little fruit for all of our labors.

Sometimes, however, lack of productivity can be attributed to failure to “sharpen our saw.” Consider the following interaction:

Supervisor: “What are you doing, Louis?”
Louis: “I am sawing these wooden boards – and I have a lot to do!”
Supervisor: “Hmmmm. Yes, but Louis – I cannot tell for sure from this angle, but it looks like your saw needs to be sharpened.”
Louis: “You have the eyes of a hawk, boss. I have seen sharper butter knives.”
Supervisor: “So tell me, Louis, if you do not mind me asking – then why not sharpen your saw?”
Louis: “Oh, I am not able to do that now, boss. I am too busy cutting these boards!”

Have you ever been in a situation like that? U.S. President Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I would spend six hours sharpening my ax.” This thought is echoed in the Old Testament of the Bible: “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success” (Ecclesiastes 10:10).

Hard work, determination and energy can accomplish only so much. Sometimes what a worker needs most is to “sharpen the saw.” But how do we do that, especially when we have much to do and little time in which to get it done? We can pursue specialized training, receive additional education, or attend helpful seminars and conferences. But here are some less time-consuming suggestions from the Bible:

Get enough rest. Sometimes when pressed by deadlines, we feel tempted to work longer and sacrifice sleep. That might work for a brief time, but eventually the lack of much-needed rest will take a toll. “It is useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Do you not know he (the Lord) enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” (Psalm 127:2).

Dedicate you work to God. What are the motives behind your work: professional advancement, more money, self-gratification? It would be wise to dedicate your work to God and seek to honor Him in what you do. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3).

Trust in His direction.
Often our work is complex, and we find many alternatives we could pursue. Which is the best, most efficient, least time-consuming direction to take? We might not know, but the Bible says that God does. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

Pray for wisdom. Knowledge and skill are good, but most often, wisdom in how to proceed most effectively with our work is even better. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to anyone without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
On those days when you feel most unproductive at work, do you find a recurring cause for your failure to get much accomplished? If so, what is that reason? Can you relate to the story about the worker that was so busy cutting wooden boards that he did not feel he had enough time to sharpen his saw? Has this happened to you, or have you observed this kind of situation occurring in the workplace? Explain your answer. When you think of “sharpening your ax” as it applies to your specific work responsibilities and challenges, what comes to your mind? What principles cited from the Bible – if any – seem most meaningful for you personally? NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 19:20, 20:13, 22:29, 24:30-34; Ecclesiastes 9:10-11: Colossians 3:17,23

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