為重要的事物「預留空間」 ──MARGIN: MAKING ROOM FOR THE IMPORTANT

MONDAY MANNA

雖然我們經常忘記要珍視「預留空間」這件事,它對我們日常生活的很多層面都非常重要。例如,打字頁面上的留白有助於眼睛專注於文字上,如果整張紙都被文字覆蓋,周圍沒有「預留空間」,閱讀就會很乏味,甚至根本做不到。

不幸的是,我們很多人都沒有意識到「預留空間」在我們的財務和日程表上的重要性。即使知道無法處理所有的事,我們也會盡可能地把時間表填滿。於是到最後,我們累積了無數壓力。

一個名為Gather Ministries的組織提供了這樣的訊息:「「預留空間」是我們為了維持生產力、穩定性和完整性,而保留下來的時間、金錢或其他事物。『行程表上的「預留空間」』是指預留休息、獨處和與他人相處的時間。『財務上的「預留空間」』意味著在自己的財務能力範圍內生活,甚至在必要時改變生活方式。『工作上的「預留空間」』則是專注在我們該做的事情上,排除那些我們不需要做的事。」

很多人都會問:「行程表「預留空間」?財務「預留空間」?工作「預留空間」?這是什麼?!」因為我們的生活方式充塞著承諾、義務和花費。我們工作過度,只為要買更多我們自認為需要的東西。在這個過程中,我們犧牲了更重要的東西:例如人際關係、個人身體和精神恢復的時間、體驗真實而非短暫的快樂,以及最重要的,在動盪世界中持久的平安。

儘管我們的社會文化鼓勵我們追求忙碌的生活方式,但聖經告誡我們要採取相反的做法:減速、休息、停下夠長的時間來享受這一刻。約伯記的幾位主要人物說出了我們大多數人都有共鳴的話:「我不得安逸,不得平靜,也不得安息,卻有患難來到。」(約伯記3章26節)但生活可以不是如此。以下是聖經告訴我們的一些事情:

花時間休息。很多時候,工商社會的口號就是:「做點什麼、任何事都好——現在就做!」有時候,當天的壓力似乎壓跨了我們,我們所能做的最好的事情就是按下「暫停」鍵,等待上帝要我們做的事情。「你當默然倚靠耶和華,耐性等候他。」(詩篇37章7節)

花時間尋求上帝。我們如果經常忙於日常生活和行程表,就很容易忽視上帝以及祂在我們生活中的地位。但是當決策懸而未決、危機迫在眉睫時,有時候最好的對策就是反直覺行動。我們可以拒絕瘋狂工作,反而如詩篇46章10節所說:「你們要休息,要知道我是 神!我必在外邦中被尊崇,在遍地上也被尊崇。
 
專注於永恆的事物。許多時候,我們努力工作和用睡眠換來的成就,很容易隨著時間失去價值與意義。「你們為何花錢(原文是平銀)買那不足為食物的?用勞碌得來的買那不使人飽足的呢?你們要留意聽我的話就能吃那美物,得享肥甘,心中喜樂。」(以賽亞書55章2節)

以上帝的優先為優先。當我們把上帝放在首位並努力按照祂的指示行事時,祂有辦法豐盛有餘地滿足我們日常所需。「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6章33-34節)

© 2019. 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。也與導師之心的作者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, 他的雙週部落格為: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com

反省與討論問題

  1. 你如何定義生活和工作中的「預留空間」?你有在生命中「預留空間」嗎?請解釋你的答案。
  2. 有哪些原因使我們無法在日常生活「預留空間」?
  3. 你能如何在生活中「預留空間」?如果想更多地在生活中「預留空間」,需要做什麼必要的改變?
  4. 如果想更多地為生活「預留空間」,挪出更多「空間」給突發狀況以及更重要的事物,聖經的哪一段經文對你最有幫助?這段經文如何幫助你?

備註:如果你手上有聖經,想要閱讀更多的內容,請參考下面的經文:

王上3章7-15節
3:7 耶和華─我的 神啊,如今你使僕人接續我父親大衛作王;但我是幼童,不知道應當怎樣出入。
3:8 僕人住在你所揀選的民中,這民多得不可勝數。
3:9 所以求你賜我智慧,可以判斷你的民,能辨別是非。不然,誰能判斷這眾多的民呢?」
3:10 所羅門因為求這事,就蒙主喜悅。
3:11  神對他說:「你既然求這事,不為自己求壽、求富,也不求滅絕你仇敵的性命,單求智慧可以聽訟,
3:12 我就應允你所求的,賜你聰明智慧,甚至在你以前沒有像你的,在你以後也沒有像你的。
3:13 你所沒有求的,我也賜給你,就是富足、尊榮,使你在世的日子,列王中沒有一個能比你的。
3:14 你若效法你父親大衛,遵行我的道,謹守我的律例、誡命,我必使你長壽。」
3:15 所羅門醒了,不料是個夢。他就回到耶路撒冷,站在耶和華的約櫃前,獻燔祭和平安祭,又為他眾臣僕設擺筵席。

詩篇112篇1-5節
112:1 你們要讚美耶和華!敬畏耶和華,甚喜愛他命令的,這人便為有福!
112:2 他的後裔在世必強盛;正直人的後代必要蒙福。
112:3 他家中有貨物,有錢財;他的公義存到永遠。
112:4 正直人在黑暗中,有光向他發現;他有恩惠,有憐憫,有公義。
112:5 施恩與人、借貸與人的,這人事情順利;他被審判的時候要訴明自己的冤。

箴言8章18-21節
8:18 豐富尊榮在我;恆久的財並公義也在我。
8:19 我的果實勝過黃金,強如精金;我的出產超乎高銀。
8:20 我在公義的道上走,在公平的路中行,
8:21 使愛我的,承受貨財,並充滿他們的府庫。

以賽亞書33章5-6節
33:5 耶和華被尊崇,因他居在高處;他以公平公義充滿錫安。
33:6 你一生一世必得安穩─有豐盛的救恩,並智慧和知識;你以敬畏耶和華為至寶。

提摩太前書4章8節
4:8 「操練身體,益處還少;惟獨敬虔,凡事都有益處,因有今生和來生的應許。」


MARGIN: MAKING ROOM FOR THE IMPORTANT

By Robert J. Tamasy

Margin. It is critical for our lives in many ways, even though we often fail to appreciate it. For instance, the margins on a typewritten page help the eyes in focusing on the words. If the entire sheet of paper were covered with words, with no white space around them, the task of reading would be tedious at best, even impossible.

Unfortunately, many of us fail to appreciate the importance of margin in our finances and our daily schedules. We attempt to cram in as much as possible, even if we know we cannot possibly handle everything we are trying to accomplish. As a result, we experience stress – lots and lots of stress.

A communication from an organization called Gather Ministries offered this description: “Margin is the amount of time, money, or whatever, that we hold back – in order to maintain productivity, stability, integrity. ‘Calendar margin’ means reserving time for rest, for solitude, for other people. ‘Financial margin’ means living within our means, even changing our lifestyles, if necessary. ‘Work margin’ means focusing on what we’re made to do, and excluding the things we aren’t.”

Many of us would respond, “Calendar margin? Financial margin? Work margin? What is that?!” Because our lifestyles are packed with commitments, obligations – and expenses. We work to excess to acquire an excess of things we think we need; in the process we sacrifice things that are far more important – like relationships, being able to set aside time for personal, physical and spiritual restoration, experiencing true joy rather than temporary happiness, and most of all, an abiding sense of peace in a world filled with unrest.

Even though our social culture encourages us to pursue hectic lifestyles, the Bible admonishes us to do the opposite: to slow down, to rest, to pause long enough to enjoy the moment. In the book of Job, the central character uttered words most of us can identify with: “I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil” (Job 3:26). But life does not have to be that way. Here are some things the Scriptures have to say:

Take time to rest. So many times it seems the rallying cry of the business world is, “Do something, anything – just do it now!” Sometimes, even when the pressures of the day seem to be bearing down on us, the best thing we can do is hit the “pause” button and wait for what God wants us to do. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7).

Take time to seek God. We tend to get so caught up in our activities and schedules, we easily lose sight of God and where He fits into our lives at the moment. But when decisions are pending and crises seem looming, there are times when the best thing is to act counter-intuitively. Instead of working up a frenzy, we can, as Psalm 46:10 urges, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Focus on what will last. Much of our hard work and sleep-deprived days are devoted to achievements and acquisitions that lose value and meaning over time. “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare” (Isaiah 55:2).

Make our priorities God’s priorities. When we put God first and strive to do as He directs, He has a way of ensuring that our daily needs are more than satisfied. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well” (Matthew 6:33-34).

© 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. How would you define “margin” in our lives and our work? Do you have it in your life? Explain your answer.
  2. What are the factors that oppose being able to create margin in our daily lives?
  3. How can you go about seeking to build margin into your life? What changes would be necessary to have more of it?
  4. Which of the Bible passages cited seems most helpful for you in terms of finding more margin in life, more “space” for the unexpected and what is most important? In what ways?

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

1 Kings 3:7-15; Psalm 112:1-5; Proverbs 8:18-21; Isaiah 33:5-6; 1 Timothy 4:8

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