拼命奪金—但那是正確的比賽嗎?──RACING FOR THE GOLD – BUT IS IT THE RIGHT RACE?

全世界有數百萬人觀看了 2021 年在東京舉行的 2020 夏季奧運會,你是其中一個嗎?如果與冬季奧運會一起,這項在全球範圍的電視轉播賽事,展示了那些為自己和為自己的國家追求榮譽的男女運動員們,所經歷競爭的高低起伏。

由於 COVID-19疫情的限制推遲到今年,但仍有來自 204 個國家和地區的 11,000 多名運動員參加了2020 年東京奧運。儘管中斷了一年,但所有運動員都有一個目標:他們忍受著精疲力竭的訓練和嚴格的飲食控制,為要避免任何可能無法得到金牌、銀牌和銅牌的干擾。

在運動員看來,任何犧牲都是值得的。一位表現優異、預計在奧運期間至少可以拿到六枚獎牌的運動員,突然遭遇了心理危機,這位運動員後來說:「生命不僅僅只有體操。我們不僅僅只是運動員,我們是人,有時是很有必要的退後一步。」我們大多數人可能很難想像與體會針對奧運「淘金熱」的高度要求。

然而,我們當中的許多人在生命其他方面也遇到過類似的事情:在現今競爭激烈的市場環境中、日常生活的各個面向,其實我們對「金牌」的追逐依然持續且失控的。一個常見但苛刻的表達方式描述了這個現實:我們就像「老鼠賽跑」一般。

年輕的創業家致力於賺錢,變得富有,如果可能的話,他們甚至想成為百萬富翁。成熟的高階主管和專業人士,也是類似的情況,他們希望盡可能地獲得最多,能夠達標 – 並且要很快速。儘管要承受著各式各樣的壓力和重擔,其他一切都會變得次要:如家庭、健康、社會關係,甚至休閒活動,但只要拿到金牌(和許多隨之而來的)才真的算數。

而我們在聖經中發現了一個非常不同的觀點:努力獲得卻終將失去的東西是徒勞的。據稱是有史以來最富有的以色列國王所羅門王評論說的:「後來,我察看我手所經營的一切事和我勞碌所成的功。誰知都是虛空,都是捕風;在日光之下毫無益處。」 (傳道書 211節)

耶穌基督講述了一個勤奮、急切且田產豐盛的財主,慶祝創紀錄豐收的故事,祂給出了這樣的警告:「神卻對他說:『無知的人哪,今夜必要你的靈魂;你所預備的要歸誰呢?』」(路加福音 1220節)

我曾經看到許多創業家和專業人士抗拒著只重視物質、財富和社會經濟地位成功的生活方式,我深受鼓舞。觀察了他們之前的世代(尤其是所謂的「戰後嬰兒潮一代」),新一代的成功人士有著不同衡量成功的標準。

一個和睦、健康的家庭和社會關係、內心的平靜和無可指責的良好聲譽值多少錢呢?正如耶穌告訴祂的追隨者,「因為生命勝於飲食,身體勝於衣裳。」(路加福音 1223節)

是什麼樣的「金牌」正在破壞你今天的睡眠、讓你遠離家人,佔據了一天中如此多時間,以至於你甚至沒有時間吃一頓健康的飯,或者去赴那可以照顧自己身體健康的預約呢?耶穌發出這樣嚴肅的

警告:「人若賺得全世界,賠上自己的生命,有甚麼益處呢?人還能拿甚麼換生命呢?」(馬太福音 1626節)

耶穌告訴任何願意聆聽何謂「真實金牌」的人:「你們只要求他的國,這些東西就必加給你們了。」(路加福音 12章31節)

©版權所有 為賽爾吉澳․佛提斯。他是一位策略管理顧問,專長是企業領導。他也是巴西聖保羅市CBMC的會員,他協助複審週一嗎哪和將其翻譯成葡萄牙文已經有20多年的時間。

備註:如果你手上有聖經想閱讀更多內容,請考慮以下經文(因經文篇幅較長,請參閱未列出的經文箴言11:14、28、箴言15:16、馬太福音6:26-34)
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30章8-9節
30:8 求你使虛假和謊言遠離我;使我也不貧窮也不富足;賜給我需用的飲食,
30:9 恐怕我飽足不認你,說:耶和華是誰呢?又恐怕我貧窮就偷竊,以致褻瀆我 神的名。
馬太福音 6章19-25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)。」
6:25 「所以我告訴你們,不要為生命憂慮吃甚麼,喝甚麼;為身體憂慮穿甚麼。生命不勝於飲食嗎?身體不勝於衣裳嗎?
哥林多前書 9章24-27節
9:24 豈不知在場上賽跑的都跑,但得獎賞的只有一人?你們也當這樣跑,好叫你們得著獎賞。
9:25 凡較力爭勝的,諸事都有節制,他們不過是要得能壞的冠冕;我們卻是要得不能壞的冠冕。9:26 所以,我奔跑不像無定向的;我鬥拳不像打空氣的。
9:27 我是攻克己身,叫身服我,恐怕我傳福音給別人,自己反被棄絕了。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你看過最近的夏季奧運會嗎?如果有,你的印象是什麼呢?當你聽到一些有關於運動員為準備最高水準的全球比賽而極度努力甚至犧牲的故事時,你有甚麼想法?
  2. 在每場比賽中,贏得金牌是最終的焦點。每個人都會夢想將金牌掛在脖子上,自豪地站在領獎台上嗎?在你的職業生涯中,甚至在一個平時的工作日當中,你追求著什麼樣的「金牌」呢?
  3. 古代所羅門王在沉迷於各種可以想像的到的樂趣和工程之後說,一切就像「追風」。在傳道書的其他地方,他宣稱追求短暫的事物是「虛空」或「捕風」。你如何回應這樣的評論?你認為他過於憤世嫉俗和悲觀了嗎?
  4. 耶穌基督鼓勵跟隨祂的人「先求神的國」,宣稱「人若賺得全世界,卻失去永恆的靈魂,有甚麼益處呢?」你同意嗎?根據這些陳述,你如何評估自己的人生呢?


RACING FOR THE GOLD – BUT IS IT THE RIGHT RACE?

By Sergio Fortes

Were you among the millions of people around the world who viewed the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo – held in 2021? Along with the Winter Olympics, this globally televised event exhibits the highs and lows of competition as men and women seek honor for themselves and their respective nations.

More than 11,000 athletes from 204 countries competed in the “2020 Summer Games,” delayed until this year because of restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the one-year interruption, all with one goal: These athletes endured exhausting training and rigorous diets, abstaining from any distractions that would keep them from the gold. The bronze medal, or even silver, were not enough.

In their assessment, any sacrifice is worth it. One high-performance athlete, whose expectation was to finish the Olympics with at least six medals, suffered a sudden emotional crisis. The athlete would later say, “Life is not just about gymnastics. We are not just athletes. We are people, and sometimes it is necessary to take a step back.” Most of us can hardly imagine the demands of the Olympic “gold rush.”

Many of us, however, have encountered something similar in other life pursuits. In today’s highly competitive marketplace environment, as well as everyday life on its many fronts, the rush for “gold” remains constant and unbridled. A common but harsh expression describes this reality: “the rat race.”

Young entrepreneurs dedicate themselves to earning money, becoming wealthy, even millionaires if possible. Mature executives and expert professionals are on the same footing. They don’t settle for little. They want the most they can possibly acquire and achieve – and quickly. They endure many kinds of stress and pressures, making everything else secondary: family; health; social relationships, even leisure activities. Only the gold – and a lot of it – counts.

We find a very different perspective in the Bible, addressing the futility of striving to gain what ultimately will be lost. King Solomon of ancient Israel, purported to be the richest man of all time, commented: “When I saw all that my hands had done, and the work I had worked so hard to accomplish, I understood that it was all illusion! It was like running after the wind!” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

Jesus Christ, telling the story of a diligent and eager agribusinessman celebrating a record harvest, gave this warning: “Fool, this night they will requisition your soul, and whose shall these things be that you have prepared?” (Luke 12:20).
   
I have been encouraged to see many entrepreneurs and professionals resisting a lifestyle that values only material, financial, and socioeconomic success. Having observed generations that preceded them, especially the so-called “Baby Boomers,” the newer generations have other measures for success.

How much are a harmonious family, healthy family and social relationships, peace of mind, and having a good reputation beyond reproach worth? As Jesus told His followers, “Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing ” (Luke 12:23).

What kind of “gold” is ruining your sleep today, taking you away from your family, occupying so many hours of the day that you don’t even have time for a healthy meal, or an appointment to attend to your physical health? Jesus issued this serious warning: “What advantage is there in someone gaining the whole world and losing his soul? What can compare with the value of his soul?” (Matthew 16.26).

Jesus told anyone who would listen what the “true gold” is: “But seek first the kingdom of God, and all other things will be added to you” (Luke 12:31).

Sergio Fortes is a mentor and consultant in logistics and corporate strategic business. As a member of CBMC in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, he has coordinated the translation of Monday Manna into Portuguese for more than 20 years. He is committed to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ – to make disciples.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Did you watch any of the recent Summer Olympics? If you did, what were your impressions? What were your thoughts about the stories of hard work and sacrifices the athletes made to prepare for the highest levels of global competition?
  2. In each of these competitions, winning the gold is the total focus. Everyone dreams of draping the gold medal around their necks and standing proudly on the podium? What kind of “gold” are you pursuing in your career, or even in a typical workday?
  3. The ancient king Solomon said, after indulging himself in every form of pleasure and project imaginable, that it was like “running after the wind.” In other places in the book of Ecclesiastes, he declares that the pursuit of temporary things is “vanity” or “meaningless.” How do you respond to such an assessment? Do you think he was overly cynical and pessimistic?
  4. Jesus Christ encouraged His followers to “seek first the kingdom of God,” declaring that even if someone were to gain the entire world, would it be worth losing their eternal soul. Do you agree? How would you evaluate your life, in light of these statements?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:14,28, 18:11, 15:16, 30:8-9; Matthew 6:19-34; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27


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