在不確定的時代規劃未來──PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

一個年度結束,又到了反思和展望未來的時候了: 回顧過去的一年、期待即將開始的新年。今年對你來說是怎麼樣的一年呢?完全符合你所期望的?比你所預期的更好?還是完全不像你所預期的那樣呢?

隨著全球疫情繼續控制著我們許多人,大家的生活在很多方面發生了變化。「常態」已有了新的含義,對很多人來說,「一切照舊」已經不再具有任何意義了。因此,隨著 2021 年步履蹣跚地離開,2022 年的不確定性也來敲門,我們許多人都絞盡腦汁,也不知如何有效地規劃未來。

當然,這不是世界各地的人們第一次面對未知。未來總是不可預測的,因此我們必須做出相應的計劃。預備所有無法預料的情況,你就不會感到驚訝了。即便如此,我們仍能從聖經中看到許多關於如何計劃和準備未來的智慧。以下是我們在聖經中找到指引的幾個例子:

不要浪費時間向後看。我們可以從過去吸取教訓,但沉溺於過去 – 尤其是我們的失敗,是徒勞無益的。使徒保羅有很多他可以後悔的事,但他選擇只專注於現在和有著應許的未來。這不是說我已經得著了,已經完全了;我乃是竭力追求,或者可以得著基督耶穌所以得著我的(或作:所要我得的)。弟兄們,我不是以為自己已經得著了;我只有一件事,就是忘記背後,努力面前的,向著標竿直跑,要得 神在基督耶穌裏從上面召我來得的獎賞。」(腓立比書3章12-14節)

不要被焦慮控制。與疫情相關的無法預期已經令人不安了,但對未來可能發生的事情造成擔憂和恐懼,則會讓我們的計劃完全癱瘓。每天只專注一天的生活和工作是個可靠的策略。耶穌勸誡門徒說:「所以我告訴你們,不要為生命憂慮吃什麼,喝什麼;為身體憂慮穿什麼。生命不勝於飲食嗎?身體不勝於衣裳嗎?……你們哪一個能用思慮使歲數多加一刻呢?……所以,不要為明天憂慮,因為明天自有明天的憂慮;一天的難處一天當就夠了。」(馬太福音 6章25-34節)

制定計劃時完全交託給主。很多時候,我們的計劃和策略沒有考慮到上帝可能的旨意。以色列王大衛對激烈的反對和艱鉅的挑戰並不陌生,但他明白這一點。這就是為什麼他可以寫道:「你當倚靠耶和華而行善,住在地上,以他的信實為糧;又要以耶和華為樂,他就將你心裏所求的賜給你。當將你的事交託耶和華,並倚靠他,他就必成全。」(詩篇 37篇3-5節)

當計劃被打亂時,持續相信上帝會直接參與。有時我們定了計劃,確信它們符合上帝的旨意,但它們並沒有像我們預期中那樣實現。與其屈服於挫折或絕望,我們可以相信祂的計劃比我們自己的更好。「你要專心仰賴耶和華,不可倚靠自己的聰明,在你一切所行的事上都要認定他,他必指引你的路」(箴言 3章5-6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,想閱讀更多內容,請考慮下面的經文:
詩篇 23篇1-6節
23:1 耶和華是我的牧者,我必不致缺乏。
23:2 他使我躺臥在青草地上,領我在可安歇的水邊。
23:3 他使我的靈魂甦醒,為自己的名引導我走義路。
23:4 我雖然行過死蔭的幽谷,也不怕遭害,因為你與我同在;你的杖,你的竿,都安慰我。
23:5 在我敵人面前,你為我擺設筵席;你用油膏了我的頭,使我的福杯滿溢。
23:6 我一生一世必有恩惠慈愛隨著我;我且要住在耶和華的殿中,直到永遠。
箴言 16章3、4、9節
16:3 你所做的,要交託耶和華,你所謀的,就必成立。
16:4 耶和華所造的,各適其用;就是惡人也為禍患的日子所造。
16:9 人心籌算自己的道路;惟耶和華指引他的腳步。
箴言19章21節
19:21 人心多有計謀;惟有耶和華的籌算才能立定。
箴言20章24節
20:24 人的腳步為耶和華所定;人豈能明白自己的路呢?
箴言27章1節
27:1 不要為明日自誇,因為一日要生何事,你尚且不能知道。
馬太福音 6章19-24節
6:19 「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。
6:20 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。
6:21 因為你的財寶在哪裏,你的心也在那裏。」
6:22 「眼睛就是身上的燈。你的眼睛若瞭亮,全身就光明;
6:23 你的眼睛若昏花,全身就黑暗。你裏頭的光若黑暗了,那黑暗是何等大呢!」
6:24 「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)。」
路加福音 9章57-62節
9:57 他們走路的時候,有一人對耶穌說:「你無論往哪裏去,我要跟從你。」
9:58 耶穌說:「狐狸有洞,天空的飛鳥有窩,只是人子沒有枕頭的地方。」
9:59 又對一個人說:「跟從我來!」那人說:「主,容我先回去埋葬我的父親。」
9:60 耶穌說:「任憑死人埋葬他們的死人,你只管去傳揚 神國的道。」
9:61 又有一人說:「主,我要跟從你,但容我先去辭別我家裏的人。」
9:62 耶穌說:「手扶著犁向後看的,不配進 神的國。」

反省與問題討論

  1. 你如何評價過去的一年?什麼事是在你的預料中,而什麼事卻讓你感到驚訝呢?當沒有預期的事發生時,你是如何回應的?
  2. 展望新的一年,你覺得自己是充滿了樂觀、悲觀、有點焦慮的心情,或者是這些加上其他情緒的混合呢?請解釋你的答案。
  3. 你如何規劃新的一年,或者未來大致的方向呢?你制定了具體的計劃或總體目標嗎?如果有的話,上帝和聖經的教導在你的計劃中扮演了什麼角色呢?
  4. 動盪的時代,讓很多人陷入了極大的焦慮和恐懼之中。它對你有什麼影響?你是否發現:儘管處於混亂之中,對上帝的信靠和相信祂的指引,是你確信和安穩的來源呢?請解釋你的答案。


PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

By Robert J. Tamasy

With another calendar year, it is time once more for reflection and expectation, looking back over the past year and looking forward to the one about to begin. How has this year been for you – all you expected, better than you had hoped, or totally unlike whatever you had anticipated?

As the global pandemic has continued to hold many of us in its grip, life as we know it has changed in many ways. “Normal” has taken on new meaning. For many, “business as usual” has ceased to have any meaning at all. So as 2021 limps out and the uncertainties of 2022 knock at the door, many of us are scratching our heads, wondering how we can effectively plan for the future.

This is not the first time that people around the globe have been confronted with the unknown, of course. The future is always unpredictable, so we must plan accordingly. Expect the unexpected and you will not be completely surprised. Even with that, we find much wisdom from the Scriptures on how to plan and prepare for the future. Here is a sampling of the guidance we find in the Bible:

Do not waste time looking backward. We can learn from the past but dwelling on it – especially our failures – is unproductive. The apostle Paul had much he could regret; he chose instead to focus on the present and the promised future. “…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

Do not become controlled by anxiety. Unexpected developments related to the pandemic have been unsettling but worry and fear of what the future might hold can paralyze our planning. Taking life – and our work – one day at a time is a solid strategy. Jesus admonished His followers, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?… Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?… Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34).

Do formulate your plans by committing them to the Lord. Often our planning and strategizing fails to take into account what God’s intentions might be. King David of Israel, no stranger to severe opposition and formidable challenges, understood this. That is why he could write, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:3-5).

Do maintain your trust in God’s direct involvement when plans become disrupted. Sometimes we make our plans, feeling certain they are in accord with God’s will, and yet they do not work out as we had anticipated. Rather than give in to frustration or despair, we can trust His plans are better than our own. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

© 2021. 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 assess the past year? What went as you expected – and what caught you by surprise? And how have you responded when the unexpected occurred? 
  2. In looking ahead to the new year, do you find yourself filled with optimism, pessimism, somewhat anxious, or a mixture of those and other feelings? Explain your answer.
  3. How do you go about planning for the new year – or for the future in general? Do you make specific plans or general goals? What role, if any, do God and teachings from the Bible have in your planning?
  4. Our turbulent times have caused many people to suffer from great anxiety and fear. What has been the effect on you? Have you found that faith and trust in God and His direction have served as sources of assurance and stability for you in spite of the chaos? Why or why not?         

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 16:3,4,9, 19:21, 20:24, 27:1; Matthew 6:19-24; Luke 9:57-62


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