在不滿足的世界裡找到滿足──FINDING CONTENTMENT IN A WORLD OF DISCONTENT

幾十年前,早在網路和社交媒體出現之前,一位非常富有的人接受記者的採訪。會議接近尾聲時,記者看著這位億萬富翁的工業大亨,大膽問道:「先生,多少錢對你來說才夠?」這位顯赫的富商微微一笑,兩根手指微微分開,接著說:「就是再多一點。」

這似乎是我們這個物質時代的座右銘:「就是再多一點。」或者換一種說法:「再多也永遠不夠。」因為我們已經習慣於永不滿足於我們所擁有的。

我記得有一位職業運動員在我最喜歡的球隊打球,姑且稱他為 H 先生吧。在簽下了這項運動史上最豐厚的合同後,他對球隊如此重視他和他的才華,表現出溢於言表的感恩。而幾週後,一名來自競爭球隊的球員獲得了一份更豐厚的合同。突然間,H 先生不再快樂或感激了- 因為他不再是這項運動中收入最高的球員,於是他開始抱怨。就像上面的富商一樣,他想要再多一點。

然而,這並不是只有那些非常富有的人,才會遇到的陷阱。我記得自己在職業生涯的早期,每當我得到加薪時,我都會感到興奮和感激。然而,幾週以後,我就會習慣新的薪水,並迫不及待的期望下一次加薪。即便我的老闆決定將我的薪水提高三倍,不久之後這似乎也不夠了。

那麼,我們該如何應付這種人性的傾向呢?我們是否應該任憑自己,不斷地感到不滿和不知足呢?在研讀聖經的過程中,我發現了一種非常不同的方法,包括學習在我們所有的一切找到滿足。以下是聖經教我們的:

現實裡,永遠都不夠。以色列的所羅門王是箴言書大部分內容的作者,他獲得了難以想像的財富,然而他很明白那想要「就是再多一點」的陷阱。他寫道: 陰間和滅亡永不滿足;人的眼目也是如此。」(箴言 27章20節)

財富充其量只是暫時的。有句話叫「來得容易,去得也快」,對於物質財富來說,確實如此,因為它可以像獲得時一樣容易失去。不要勞碌求富,休仗自己的聰明。你豈要定睛在虛無的錢財上嗎?因錢財必長翅膀,如鷹向天飛去。」(箴言 23章4-5節)

正確的生活方式會帶來持久的回報。金錢買不來一切,包括內心的喜樂和幸福生活的滿足感。同時,過分強調財富也會帶來痛苦。義人家中多有財寶;惡人得利反受擾害。」(箴言 15章6節)

學習在任何情況下都滿足。使徒保羅一生經歷了豐盛和貧乏。他寫道:「我知道怎樣處卑賤,也知道怎樣處豐富;或飽足,或飢餓;或有餘,或缺乏,隨事隨在,我都得了祕訣。(腓立比書 4章12節)。在這個過程中,保羅得出結論說:「然而,敬虔加上知足的心便是大利了;因為我們沒有帶甚麼到世上來,也不能帶甚麼去。只要有衣有食,就當知足。但那些想要發財的人,就陷在迷惑、落在網羅和許多無知有害的私慾裏,叫人沉在敗壞和滅亡中。貪財是萬惡之根。有人貪戀錢財,就被引誘離了真道,用許多愁苦把自己刺透了。」(提摩太前書 6章6-10節)

© 2021. Robert J. Tamasy 是企業巔峰: 給今日職場從箴言而來永恆的智慧 一書的作者。也與導師之的作者David A. Stoddard 合著Tufting Legacies。編輯多本著作包括Mike Landry. Bob的書: 透過苦難成長。Mike Landry. Bob的網站為www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com

備註:如果你手上有聖經並想閱讀更多內容,請考慮以下經文:

箴言11章28節
11:28 倚仗自己財物的,必跌倒;義人必發旺,如青葉。
箴言13章11節
13:11 不勞而得之財必然消耗;勤勞積蓄的,必見加增。
箴言15章16節
15:16 少有財寶,敬畏耶和華,強如多有財寶,煩亂不安。
箴言18章11節
18:11 富足人的財物是他的堅城,在他心想,猶如高牆。
箴言22章7節
22:7 富戶管轄窮人;欠債的是債主的僕人。
腓立比書 4章10-13節
4:10 我靠主大大地喜樂,因為你們思念我的心如今又發生;你們向來就思念我,只是沒得機會。
4:11 我並不是因缺乏說這話;我無論在甚麼景況都可以知足,這是我已經學會了。
4:12 我知道怎樣處卑賤,也知道怎樣處豐富;或飽足,或飢餓;或有餘,或缺乏,隨事隨在,我都得了祕訣。
4:13 我靠著那加給我力量的,凡事都能做。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你會如何回答「多少才夠?」這個問題?
  2. 如果你用「滿足量表」給自己打分,最低是 1分,最高是 10分,你會給自己打幾分?請解釋你的答案。
  3. 對於現今的世界想要找到並保持滿足感,會有哪些障礙呢?工作場所中的哪些因素(如果有的話)是會誘使你不斷地只想追求更多呢?
  4. 對你來說,「敬虔加上知足的心便是大利了」是什麼意思?你如何定義「敬虔」?這和在生命中獲得滿足到底有什麼關係?


FINDING CONTENTMENT IN A WORLD OF DISCONTENT

By Robert J. Tamasy

Decades ago, long before the Internet and social media were a thing, a very wealthy man was being interviewed by a reporter. Toward the close of the meeting, the reporter looked at the billionaire industrial magnate and boldly asked, “Sir, how much is enough?” With a slight grin, the prominent business leader responded by holding two fingers slightly apart and saying, “Just a little bit more.”

That seems to be the motto of our materialistic times: “Just a little bit more.” Or to put it another way, too much is never enough. Because we have become conditioned to never be satisfied with what we have.

I remember a pro athlete who played for my favorite team. Let’s call him Mr. H. After signing the most lucrative contract in the history of his sport, he overflowed with gratitude for how much his team valued him and his talents. A few weeks later a player from a rival team was rewarded with an even richer contract. Suddenly, Mr. H was no longer happy or thankful –no longer the best-paid player in his sport, he began to complain. Like the wealthy businessman above, he needed more.

This is not a pitfall for only the incredibly rich, however. I remember early in my own career, whenever I received a raise in pay, I would feel excited and grateful. However, after a few weeks I would become accustomed to the new paycheck and grow impatient for my next increase in pay. Even if my boss had decided to triple my salary, before long that would not have seemed to be enough.

So, how are we to deal with this very human tendency? Should we resign ourselves to continually feeling dissatisfied and discontented? In studying the Bible, I have discovered a very different approach, including learning to find contentment in whatever we have. Here are a few of the things it teaches:

In reality, there will never be enough. King Solomon of Israel, writer of most of the book of Proverbs, acquired unimaginable wealth and yet he understood the trap of wanting “just a little bit more.” He wrote, “Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man” (Proverbs 27:20).

Riches are temporary at best. There is a saying, “Easy come, easy go,” and that is certainly true of material wealth that can be lost as easily as it was gained. “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Proverbs 23:4-5).

Right living brings a lasting reward. Money cannot buy everything, including inner joy and a sense of fulfillment for a life well-lived. At the same time, overemphasis on riches can bring misery. “The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings them trouble” (Proverbs 15:6).

Learning to be content in all circumstances. The apostle Paul had experienced both prosperity and poverty during his life. He wrote that he “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12). In the process Paul concluded that, “godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it…. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:6,10).

© 2022. Robert J. Tamasy has written Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart, coauthored with Ken Johnson; andThe Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. How would you answer the question, “How much is enough?”
  2. If you were to rate yourself on a “contentment scale,” low being 1 and high being 10, what score would you give to yourself? Explain your answer.
  3. What are some of the obstacles to finding and maintaining a sense of contentment in today’s world? What factors, if any, in your workplace tempt you to always be striving for more?
  4.  For you, what does “godliness with contentment is great gain” mean? How would you define “godliness,” and what in the world does that have to do with achieving contentment in life?               

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
Proverbs 11:28, 13:11, 15:16, 18:11, 22:7; Philippians 4:10-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-10


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