計算工作的代價

By Jim Langley

洛杉磯時報(Los Angeles Times)的一篇文章,讓我對一家大型航空公司的新執行長做了一些研究。這位執行長在擔任職位的六週內,就因為嚴重的心臟病住院,並接受了心臟移植。那篇文章說,在他的移植手術後不久,他就決定回去全時間工作,而且那份工作需要長時間,辛苦地去外地出差,為的是要扭轉陷入困境的公司營運。

根據那篇文章所言,從表面上看來,公司對他的要求底線似乎是,若他能連續六個月不再請假,就會得到一大筆報酬。當我讀那篇文章時,我很想知道,剛剛從那麼嚴重、侵入性的手術走出來,他是否知道冒著生命危險去追求一大筆財富的真正代價?

其實,不需要透過器官移植,就能認清我們把工作排在第一優先,是會影響我們的生命或是我們親人的生命。我想那位執行長不只是為了金錢才回去工作。他或許將翻轉公司營運視為挑戰,所以願意冒著有可能心臟衰竭,甚至死亡的風險。另一篇文章指出,那航空公司要求這位執行長在心臟移植後兩個月就要回去工作,實在是「無情的行為」。

可能你也曾面對和那執行長相似的困境。我就曾經如此。工作常常要求我們付出許多,並且對我們的生命造成傷害,甚至對那些身體健康的人也是如此。

讓我們看看聖經對於我們人生決定的相關代價是怎麼說的。耶穌對祂的跟隨者說了一個比喻:「你們那一個要蓋一座樓,不先坐下算計花費,能蓋成不能呢﹖恐怕安了地基,不能成功,看見的人都笑話他,說:這個人開了工,卻不能完工。或是一個王出去和別的王打仗,豈不先坐下酌量,能用一萬兵去敵那領二萬兵來攻打他的嗎﹖若是不能,就趁敵人還遠的時候,派使者去求和息的條款。這樣,你們無論什麼人,若不撇下一切所有的,就不能作我的門徒」(路加福音14章28-33節)。

在聖經另一處經文,耶穌對優先順序作了一個明確的聲明。祂說:「一個人不能事奉兩個主;不是惡這個,愛那個,就是重這個,輕那個。你們不能又事奉神,又事奉瑪門(瑪門:財利的意思)」(馬太福音6章24節)。

20多年前我考慮到代價,就決定要讓上帝掌管我的生命。這意味著我不再做我事業的奴隸。我了解到我與上帝的關係是第一順位。今天,工作仍然很重要,它可以支付帳單來供應我深愛的家人,但我也學習要把我的家庭和其他事放在工作之前。當我們單單地信靠 主時,上帝的供應不斷地滿足我們的需要,讓我對祂的供應感到驚奇。身為一個「滿意的顧客」,我強烈地建議你,當你在處理生命中的困難決定時,要考慮其代價。

吉姆.朗立自1983年起就擔任紐約人壽的保險經紀人和特許人壽保險承銷商,從1987年起他也是美國加州聖塔巴巴拉CBMC分會的活躍會員。此篇文章改編自他的「第四半場策略」的討論,這些討論是為了在基督徒工商專業人士點一把火,使他們為耶穌基督在職場上更有效能。他的網站是www.fourthquarterstrategies.com

省思/討論題目

你對於那位執行長在經過重大手術,並且還在復原階段,就決定回去全時間工作,有甚麼看法?若是你也會做同樣的決定嗎? 一個人該如何評估他的優先順序?又怎麼知道那順序在他的生命中是否洽當? 本篇週一嗎哪談到計算工作的代價。你是否曾花時間評估過,你的工作讓你付出多少代價--不僅對你個人,還包括你的家人以及其他關心你的人?若你發現那代價太高時,你會採取什麼步驟? 當工作似乎苛求太多時,你是否曾經採取修正的措施?或者你能想到你認識的人曾經怎麽做?當健康、婚姻或家庭幸福因工作受到威脅時,要做改變會有哪些困難?

註:若你想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:馬太福音16章26節;路加福音9章25節;哥林多前書10章31節;歌羅西書3章17、23-24節;帖撒羅尼迦前書4章9-12節

COUNTING THE COST OF A CAREER

By Jim Langley

A business article in the Los Angeles Times caused me to do some research on the new CEO for a major airline. Within six weeks of taking on this position, the top executive had been hospitalized after a suffering serious heart attack. Months later, while on leave of absence, he received a heart transplant. The article stated that not long after his transplant surgery, this CEO had decided to return to work full-time with the long, arduous hours and extensive travel needed to turn the struggling airline around.

At least on the surface, according to the article, the bottom line for him seemed to be a very large compensation package he would receive if he completed six straight months without any more leaves of absence. As I read the article, I wondered whether he had truly considered the cost of pursuing such a sizable financial reward, risking his health and recovery from very serious, invasive surgery?

However, it is not necessary to go through an organ transplant to recognize the impact our work priorities might have on our life and the lives of those closest to us. I imagine the airline CEO is not returning strictly for the money. He likely also loved the challenge of turning an organization around and was willing to take the calculated risk of potential heart failure, even death. Another article suggested the airline's demand that the top executive return to work just two months after his heart transplant could be considered a "heartless act."

Perhaps you can relate to this executive's dilemma. I certainly can. Work is often very demanding and can truly take a toll on a life, even for those enjoying good health.

Let us consider what the Bible says about the cost associated with our life decisions. Speaking to some of His followers, Jesus offered an analogy: "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to finish it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one who is coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:28-33).

Elsewhere Jesus made a definitive statement about priorities, observing, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

More than 20 years ago I considered the cost and decided it was time to let God have control of my life. This meant I would no longer be a slave to my business; I had come to understand my relationship with God was my top priority. Today, work remains important to pay the bills and provide for my loved ones, but I have also learned to put my family and others before the office as well. God's providence continues to amaze me as He meets all of our needs as we simply trust in Him. As a “satisfied customer,” I strongly recommend you also consider the cost as you deal with life's tough decisions.

© 2016, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been an agent and chartered life underwriter (CLU) with New York Life since 1983 and an active member of CBMC of Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. since 1987. Adapted from one of his “Fourth Quarter Strategies” discussions, these are designed to “light a fire under Christian business and professionals to become more effective in the marketplace for Jesus Christ.” His website is: www.fourthquarterstrategies.com

Reflection/Discussion Questions

What do you think of the corporate CEO”s decision to return to his full-time responsibilities while still in the process of recovering from a major health setback? Would you be tempted to do the same? How can a person evaluate what his or her priorities are, and whether they are in the proper order in their lives? The title of this Monday Manna refers to counting the cost of a career? Have you ever taken the time to determine how much your work is costing – not only for you personally, but also for your family and others who care for you? What steps would you take – if any – if you were to determine the cost was too high? Have you ever taken corrective measures when a job seemed to be demanding too much of you? Or can you think of someone you know who has done that? What are some of the difficulties in making such changes when health, marriage or family well-being are at stake?

NOTE: If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following passages: Matthew 16:26; Luke 9:25; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17,23-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

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