有人陪伴,是最好的生活──LIFE IS USUALLY BEST WITH OTHERS

MONDAY MANNA

今年年初的一個星期天,我和太太去教會。在我們的教會,一起敬拜彷彿是為上帝開的派對,大家都很開心。即使正式聚會只有一個小時,但我們通常會待上至少三個小時:喝咖啡、與老朋友聊天,以及認識新朋友。就像是聖經所說的:「你們不可停止聚會,好像那些停止慣了的人,倒要彼此勸勉。」(希伯來書10章25節)

那天下午聚完會,我和稅務公司一起開始季節性的報稅工作。當天適逢美國職業橄欖球賽超級盃(Super Bowl)的開賽日,所以工作進度緩慢,但我們在國際辦公室裡,和一些聰明、有趣、不同移民背景的稅務專業人士在一起,很快就度過了這一段歡樂時光。

之後,參加了由房東協會舉辦的超級盃慶祝派對。在家裡,我可能根本不會看比賽,但是和鄰居們一起出去玩、聊天、享受彼此的陪伴,使我度過了一個美好的夜晚。

身為一個天生內向的人,像這樣花一整天的時間待在人群裡之後,我需要有一些獨處、重整自我的時間。但我可以毫不遲疑地說「有人陪伴,生活更好」。如果我們有鄰居、同事、教會肢體、朋友和親戚可以分享,那麼美好的時光會更美好 ,而不好的時刻,也不會那麼糟糕。

在聖經中,我們讀到很多和人相處的美德,這不僅是為了社交,也是為了完成重要的工作。以下是聖經中教導我們一些能普遍應用的原則:

分擔使重擔加倍的輕。兩匹馬同時出力,所能拉動的重量是一匹馬的數倍。這個原則同樣適用於我們的工作場所,特別是當我們承擔特別具有挑戰性的工作時。「兩個人總比一個人好,因為二人勞碌同得美好的果效。若是跌倒,這人可以扶起他的同伴;若是孤身跌倒,沒有別人扶起他來,這人就有禍了。……有人攻勝孤身一人,若有二人便能敵擋他;三股合成的繩子不容易折斷。」(傳道書4章9-12節)

一同努力可提升彼此的技能。即使是最有才華的人也能從與他人的互動中受益。我們可以強化彼此的優勢,提出改進的建議,甚至指出彼此的盲點。「鐵磨鐵,磨出刃來;朋友相感(原文是磨朋友的臉)也是如此。」(箴言27章17節)

我們可以共同承擔一個人無法獨自承負的責任。摩西被賦予了帶領以色列人脫離埃及的責任。但不久,他就意識到自己無法解決所有問題和衝突。所以上帝任命長老(受人尊敬的領袖)擔負較輕的責任,讓摩西能夠處理最重要的事務。必要時,我們最好尋求類似的幫助。 「管理這百姓的責任太重了,我獨自擔當不起。」(民數記11章14節)

我看著日曆,心想:這一週將是美好的一週,因為我有四次和朋友聚在一起吃早餐、午餐,或單純聊天的機會。當我們把生命視為”團隊運動”時,生活才會是最美好的。所以無論你在哪裡,找到朋友,一起生活、一同工作。
Jim Mathis是美國堪薩斯州歐弗蘭帕克攝影工作室的老闆,專門從事商業和戲劇肖像攝影,並經營著一所攝影學校。 他以前是密蘇里州堪薩斯城咖啡店的經理和CBMC的執行理事。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你會如何比較內向和外向的人?有人把外向的人定義為從人們身上獲得能量並需要人群圍繞的人;而內向的人則是因為和人在一起而逐漸消耗能量的人。你同意嗎?請說明原因或理由。
  2. 你的個性偏外向或內向?這種特質如何在你的生活中表現出來?
  3. 你同意不管一個人是害羞或內向,他們仍然需要與人在一起,自發的與人社交互動或合作嗎?不花時間和人在一起有甚麼缺點?
  4. 創世記2章18節中,上帝說:「這個人獨處是不好的。」你認為祂指的是陪伴嗎?這個原則適用於其他生活領域嗎?請解釋你的答案。

備註:如果你手上有聖經,希望閱讀更多和這個主題相關的經文,請參考:

出埃及記18章18節
18:18 你和這些百姓必都疲憊;因為這事太重,你獨自一人辦理不了。
馬可福音6章7-8節
6:7 耶穌叫了十二個門徒來,差遣他們兩個兩個地出去,也賜給他們權柄,制伏污鬼;
6:8 並且囑咐他們:「行路的時候不要帶食物和口袋,腰袋裏也不要帶錢,除了柺杖以外,甚麼都不要帶;
使徒行傳13章2-5節
13:2 他們事奉主、禁食的時候,聖靈說:「要為我分派巴拿巴和掃羅,去做我召他們所做的工。」13:3 於是禁食禱告,按手在他們頭上,就打發他們去了。
13:4 他們既被聖靈差遣,就下到西流基,從那裏坐船往塞浦路斯去。
13:5 到了撒拉米,就在猶太人各會堂裏傳講 神的道,也有約翰作他們的幫手。
哥林多後書5章20節
5:20 所以,我們作基督的使者,就好像 神藉我們勸你們一般。我們替基督求你們與 神和好。
提摩太後書2章2節
2:2 你在許多見證人面前聽見我所教訓的,也要交託那忠心能教導別人的人。


LIFE IS USUALLY BEST WITH OTHERS

By Jim Mathis

On a Sunday early this year, my wife and I went to church. At our church, worship could best be described as a party for God. We always have a great time. Even though each service officially lasts only an hour, typically we are there for at least three hours, drinking coffee, talking with old friends, and meeting new ones. This seems to be part of what the Bible means when it says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25).

Later that afternoon I went to my seasonal job with a tax preparation company. Since it was the day for professional football’s Super Bowl, business was slow, but we have an international office with some brilliant, funny, immigrant tax professionals. We had a good time and the hours went by quickly.

After that I went to a Super Bowl watch party put on by our homeowner’s association. I probably would not have even watched the game if I had been at home, but hanging out with the neighbors, talking and enjoying each other’s company made for a good evening.

Being a natural introvert, I need a few hours by myself to regroup after spending an entire day being around people like that, but I can say without a doubt that “life is better together.” The good times are better – and the bad times are not so bad – if we share them with neighbors, co-workers, church family, friends and relatives.

In the Scriptures we read a lot about the virtues of being with other people, not only for socializing but also for accomplishing important work. Here are some principles it teaches that have universal application:

Together we can share the load. It has often been observed that two horses pulling together can move multiple times the load that one horse can pull. The same often applies for us in the workplace, especially when the project we undertake is especially challenging. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity that man who falls and has no one to help him up!… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

Together we can work to improve our skill levels. Even the most talented individuals can benefit from interacting with others. We can reinforce one another’s strengths, make suggestions for improvement, and even point out one another’s blind spots. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Together we can shoulder responsibilities that one person cannot bear alone. Moses had been given the responsibility of leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Before long he realized he was incapable to resolving all of their problems and addressing their conflicts. In response, God appointed elders – other respected leaders – to take on the lesser responsibilities and free Moses to deal only with the most important issues that arose. We would be wise to seek similar assistance when needed. “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me” (Numbers 11:14).

Looking at my calendar, I can see that this is going to be a good week because I have four times scheduled to get together with friends for breakfast, lunch, or just to talk. Life is best when we treat it like a team sport. Live it – and work it – with friends wherever you find them.

© 2019. 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 executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. How would you compare a person who is introverted with a person who is extroverted? Someone has defined an extrovert as some who draws energy from people and needs to be around them, while an introvert is someone whose energy is gradually drained by being with people. Do you agree with that? Why or why not?
  2. Which do you tend to be – more extroverted, or more introverted? How do you find that trait being manifested in your life?
  3. Do you agree that even if a person is shy, or an introvert, they still need to be with people, willingly interacting with them not only socially but also in working cooperatively? What can be some of the pitfalls of not spending time with people?
  4. In Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Do you think He was referring to companionship, or does this principle apply to other areas of life? Explain your answer.

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Exodus 18:18; Mark 6:7-8; Acts 13:2-5; 2 Corinthians 5:20; 2 Timothy 2:2

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