立即滿足還是長期收穫?──IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION OR LONG-TERM GAIN?

MONDAY MANNA

回顧自己的生命,我發現自己經常甚麼都要。而且大多數情況下,我都想要馬上得到!所以,我專心致志,把所有時間和精力都投注在實現自己「想要」得到的事上。我竭盡所能的鞭策自己,大多數時候我順利得到了想要的東西,但我卻沒有得到平安、滿意或知足。我會發現當下的滿足感很快就消失了,而且馬上思考下一個「想要」的追求是什麼。

你呢?你是否感到快樂,對自己所在的位置和所擁有的感到滿意?還是你一直在為下一件事努力,決意要滿足當下心中的目標?

其實,你可以有另外一個選項。是你個人可以做出的選擇。我們可以把時間、才幹和財力,投入到實現對生命而言有真實長遠價值的事,而非滿足生活或事業上立即的慾望。

例如,我花了幾年時間和數千美元來獲得商學院的碩士學位,因為當時我認為這對我職涯上的成功非常重要,甚至是必不可少的。但是多年後,我意識到自己當初如果把相同的時間和精力放在查考聖經上,得到上帝關於金錢、事業與關係的智慧,而不是錯以為只能透過大學的商學院學位習得這些知識,我其實可以有更多的收穫。

我也花了太多時間在物質生活上:用我沒有的錢買我不需要的東西,用來取悅那些我不在乎的人。我真希望自己能早點明白耶穌基督所說,追求金錢只是徒勞且僅能購買有形之物的教導。耶穌在「登山寶訓」中說到:「不要為自己積攢財寶在地上;地上有蟲子咬,能銹壞,也有賊挖窟窿來偷。只要積攢財寶在天上;天上沒有蟲子咬,不能銹壞,也沒有賊挖窟窿來偷。因為你的財寶在哪裏,你的心也在那裏。」(馬太福音6章19-21章)

的確,我為過去自己浪費的精力、時間和金錢感到遺憾。但是,正如人們所說的,「逝者已矣」,過去的時間和資源已經一去不復返,我能做的就是重新定義自己生命的優先順序,調整我的時間和精力的運用。因此,現在我努力把自己的「黃金時段」(每天最佳狀態的時間)投入到追求更親密地認識基督,藉由讀聖經和禱告與耶穌建立關係,有意識地為祂而活。

即使家財萬貫,財富也會很快消失。我所認識許多最富有的人都發現金錢的價值很容易被高估。它無法買到幸福、平安、滿足或成就感。也許它可以帶來樂趣,卻稍縱即逝,即使我們得到時是全新的東西,最終也會老化、受損或壞掉。

另一方面,時間可以帶給我們上述的一切——只是取決於我們的使用方式。時間是我們最重要的資產,你我的時間都正在快速地消失,當我們了解人在地上的生命極其短暫,就更能明白「活在當下,預備永恆」的重要。

我們每天都面臨選擇:要立即的滿足,還是長期的收穫。你會選擇哪一個?你今天的決定將會如何影響你的永生?

Ken Korkow居住在美國內布拉斯加州的奧馬哈市,他擔任該地的CBMC區域總監。本篇文章改編自他的「生活傳真」專欄。經許可使用。

反省與討論問題

  1. 你如何定義立即滿足?在你自己或他人的生命中,有哪些代表性的例子,請分享。
  2. 你認為立即滿足的陷阱是什麼?「我想要,現在就要!」的態度有何益處?
  3. 相反的,把注意力放在長期收穫上有什麼好處?這種思維有陷阱嗎?
  4. 在這篇「週一嗎哪」的最後,我們被問到今天做出的決定會如何影響我們的永生,你的答案是什麼?你認為日常的決定會產生永恆的影響嗎?請解釋原因。

備註:如果你手上有聖經,想閱讀更多,請參考以下內容:

箴言22章4節
22:4 敬畏耶和華心存謙卑,就得富有、尊榮、生命為賞賜。

馬太福音6章33節
6章33節 你們要先求他的國和他的義,這些東西都要加給你們了。

馬太福音16章24節
16:24 於是耶穌對門徒說:「若有人要跟從我,就當捨己,背起他的十字架來跟從我。

路加福音14章28節
14:28 你們哪一個要蓋一座樓,不先坐下算計花費,能蓋成不能呢?

路加福音16章11節
16:11 倘若你們在不義的錢財上不忠心,誰還把那真實的錢財託付你們呢?

哥林多前書15章5-8節
15:5 愚妄人藐視父親的管教;領受責備的,得著見識。
15:6 義人家中多有財寶;惡人得利反受擾害。
15:7 智慧人的嘴播揚知識;愚昧人的心並不如此。
15:8 惡人獻祭,為耶和華所憎惡;正直人祈禱,為他所喜悅。

加拉太書6章9節
6:9 我們行善,不可喪志;若不灰心,到了時候就要收成。


IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION OR LONG-TERM GAIN?

By Ken Korkow

Looking back over my life, I see many times when I wanted it all. And most of those times, I wanted “it” – whatever that was – NOW! So, I stayed focused, concentrating and dedicating all of my time and energy toward achieving what I wanted. I pushed – and pushed hard. Much of the time I got what I wanted. But what I did not get were peace, satisfaction, or contentment. I found that instant gratification came – and left – quickly, leaving me to decide which “want” I should pursue next.

How about you? Do you find yourself happy, content with where you are and what you have? Or are you always striving for the next thing, determined to gratify whatever objective occupies your mind at the moment? 

There is an alternative, you know. We do have an option – a personal choice. Instead of seeking to find instant gratification for our desires, whether they are personal or professional, we can invest our time, talent, and treasure in achieving things that really matter for the long-run.

For example, I spent a couple years and many thousands of dollars to get a post-graduate college degree in business, because at the time I thought that was important, even essential, for professional success. But many years later I realized I would have been further ahead to have invested the same amount of time and effort in searching the Bible to gain God’s wisdom about money, business and relationships, the things I falsely believed could be obtained with a university business degree. 

I also spent too much time on materialism: buying things I did not need, with money I did not have, to impress people I did not care about. If only I had learned earlier what Jesus Christ said about the futile pursuit of money and the tangible things it can buy. In what has been called His “sermon on the mount,” Jesus said:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, whether moth and rust can destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21-21).

Yes, I now find myself sorry for and regretful for my wasted efforts, wasted time, and wasted money. However, as they say, that is “water under the bridge.” The time and resources have passed. What I can do is redirect my time and energy and redefine my priorities. So now I seek to invest my “prime time” – the best hours of each day – in seeking to know Christ intimately, building my relationship with Him by reading the Scriptures and praying, and to live for Him more intentionally.

Money, even if you have a lot of it, can disappear very quickly. Even the richest people I have known, and I have known a lot of them, have discovered the value of money can be very overrated. It cannot buy happiness, peace, contentment or fulfillment. It can bring enjoyment, but that is only temporary – things we acquire, even if brand new when we get them, will eventually become old, damaged or worn out.

On the other hand, TIME can bring us any and all of these things – it just depends on how we use it. Time is our most essential asset, and your clock (and mine) is clicking away fast. When we consider how short our lives are on earth, it becomes important to realize that how we live NOW prepares us for ETERNITY.

Every day we are faced with choices – instant gratification, or long-term gains. Which will you choose? How will the decisions you make today affect the quality of your eternity?

Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from his “Fax of Life” column. Used with permission.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. How would you define instant gratification? How do you typically see this demonstrated, whether in your own life or in the lives of others?
  2. What, in your opinion, are the pitfalls of the impulse for instant gratification? What are the benefits, if any, of the “I want it – and I want it NOW!” attitude?
  3. By comparison, what would you consider to be the benefits of focusing on long-term gains? What could be the pitfalls of this approach?
  4. At the end of this “Monday Manna,” we are asked how the decisions we make today will affect the quality of our eternity. What comes to your mind when you read that? Do you think daily decisions can have an eternal impact? Why or why not?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:

Proverbs 22:4; Matthew 6:33, 16:24; Luke 14:28, 16:11; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9


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