休息,令人驚奇的弔詭之處──THE AMAZING PARADOX OF REST

在喬丹•雷諾(Jordan Raynor)的《贖回你的時間(註1)》,他用1800 年代的一個故事來鼓勵我們要記住安息日休息的重要性。雷諾寫道:「在著名的加州淘金熱期間,一些冒險者抱著淘金和立即致富的夢想,每週七天向西前行到加州。然而,有一些人每週只行動六天,每個安息日都停下來休息。」

不同的前行時間表,顯然產生了人們可能意想不到的弔詭結果。1849年出版的《加利福尼亞移民指南》提出了這樣的觀察:「如果你在七天中休息一天,你會比不休息的人早20天到達加利福尼亞。」

那些每週七天中只有六天乘坐篷車的人,實際上比持續不懈的、每天前行的另一群人前進得更快,證實了聖經中,關於一天休息和身體更新的教導。利未記23章3節說:六日要做工,第七日是聖安息日,當有聖會;你們甚麼工都不可做。這是在你們一切的住處向耶和華守的安息日。」

這是 神對古代以色列人民,從埃及的奴役中得釋放後,給他們的命令。但是,每週設立一天的安息日,在今天和多年前一樣具有意義。

有一節相關的經文,正好講到了要在工作和休息之間尋求適當的平衡。在另一卷舊約書中,我們被告知:「鐵器鈍了,若不將刃磨快,就必多費氣力;但得智慧指教,便有益處。」(傳道書10章10節這個教導的一個應用是,一旦斧頭的刃口變鈍了,就會需要更多的努力和時間,才能達到相同的果效。

美國總統亞伯拉罕•林肯曾經有過這樣的名言:「如果我只有一個小時來砍一棵樹,我會用前面的45分鐘,磨好我的斧頭。」想像一下,有一個人不停地瘋狂揮砍,試圖砍倒一棵非常大的樹,而另一個人則保持他的斧刃鋒利,以便輕鬆砍斷。

商業和專業領域的許多人工作時間極長,有時一週工作七天,完全忽視了個人休息的需要。他們輕忽了一個弔詭之處:如果我們減少工作,空出時間進行必要的休息,反而能完成更多的成果。許多人就是沒有停下來「磨利斧頭」。

在一些國家,人們慶祝「勞動節 」或不同名稱的類似節日,訂為國定假日 – 休息日,以慶祝工作的價值和美德。在美國,傳統上這一天是9月的第一個星期一。額外空出一天的休息時間,為讓工作得到適當的尊重。

透過閱讀聖經,我們發現許多,關於辛勤工作之重要性的教導,也認知到職場中的主動性和進取心,如何可能產生巨大的回報,包括財務上和享受與成就上的回報。例如,箴言10章4節說:手懶的,要受貧窮;手勤的,卻要富足此外,箴言16章26節說:「勞力人的胃口使他勞力,因為他的口腹催逼他。」

然而,這些經文並沒有忽視休息的重要性和必要性。甚至在聖經關於創造的記載中也說:到第七日,上帝造物的工已經完畢,就在第七日歇了他一切的工,安息了。」(創世紀2章2節

註1:Redeeming Your Time贖回你的時間,台灣並未出版中文書,此為CBMC自行翻譯之書名。

版權所有 @2022,非常規商業網絡。經“UBN Integrity Moments”許可改編,這是一篇關於工作中信仰問題的評論。 UBN 是一個為國際小企業社區服務的信仰事工。

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多相關的內容,可以參考以下的經文:

箴言12章11、24節
12:11 耕種自己田地的,必得飽食;追隨虛浮的,卻是無知。
12:24 殷勤人的手必掌權;懶惰的人必服苦。
箴言14章23節
14:23 諸般勤勞都有益處;嘴上多言乃致窮乏。
傳道書9章10節
9:10 凡你手所當做的事要盡力去做;因為在你所必去的陰間沒有工作,沒有謀算,沒有知識,也沒有智慧。
哥林多前書10章31節
10:31 所以,你們或吃或喝,無論做甚麼,都要為榮耀上帝而行。
歌羅西書3章17、23-24節
3:17 無論做甚麼,或說話或行事,都要奉主耶穌的名,藉他感謝父上帝。
3:23 無論做甚麼,都要從心裏做,像是給主做的,不是給人做的,
3:24 因你們知道從主那裏必得基業為賞賜;你們所事奉的乃是主基督。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你的工作日常是怎樣的呢?你的工時很長,而且深信,如果不對自己的任務和責任投入過多的時間,就不會成功嗎?請解釋你的答案。
  2. 你是否熟悉「工作狂」這個詞?一個對工作上癮的人?你知道誰是工作狂?或許你自己就符合這樣的描述?你會如何評價他們的生活品質、個人滿意度和成就感呢?
  3. 文中「磨利斧頭」的概念聽起來是否很熟悉?在你自己的工作方法中,你是否已經養成了這樣的習慣?如果沒有,你可以採取什麽樣的步驟來操練「安息」?
  4. 聖經說,在做完創造的工作後,連上帝都休息了一天,這對那些追求不間斷的、一週有七天工作時間表的人,會有什麽啟示?會有什麼挑戰呢?


THE AMAZING PARADOX OF REST

By Rick Boxx 

In Jordan Raynor’s book, Redeeming Your Time, he uses a story from the 1800s to encourage us to remember the importance of Sabbath rest. Raynor writes that during the famous California Gold Rush, some of the adventurous individuals, embracing visions of striking gold and instantly becoming rich, traveled westward toward California seven days a week. Others, however, only traveled for six days each week, stopping to rest each Sabbath.  

The differing travel schedules apparently had paradoxical results one might not expect. “The Emigrants Guide to California,” which was published in 1849, offered the observation that, “If you rest one day out of seven, you will get to California 20 days sooner than others who do not.”

This finding, that those traveling by covered wagon only six days a week out of seven actually advanced faster than their relentless, everyday counterparts, confirms what the Bible teaches about taking off one day for rest and physical renewal. In Leviticus 23:3 it says, “There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work.” 

This was a command God gave to the ancient people of Israel following their release from bondage in Egypt. But establishing one day a week for Sabbath rest is as relevant today as it was many years ago.

There is a related verse that addresses seeking a proper balance between work and rest. In another Old Testament book, we are told, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). One application of this teaching is that once the blade of an ax has become dulled, it requires more effort and more time to accomplish the same result.

American President Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said, “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.”Envision one man frantically chopping without stopping, trying to cut down a large tree, while another keeps his ax blade sharp so it will cut easily.

Many people in the business and professional world work extremely long hours, sometimes seven days a week, ignoring their need for personal refreshment. They ignore this paradox of being able to accomplish more if we work less, setting aside time for much-needed rest. They do not stop to “sharpen the ax.”

In some nations, people observe “Labor Day” or an event by a different name, declaring it a national holiday – a day of rest – to celebrate the values and virtues of work. In the U.S.A., it is traditionally the first Monday in September. Work is honored, but appropriately by setting aside an additional day for rest.

Reading through the Bible, we find many teachings about the importance of hard work, recognizing how initiative and enterprise in the workplace generate great rewards, both financial and in terms of enjoyment and fulfillment. For instance, Proverbs 10:4 states, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Also, “The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on” (Proverbs 16:26).

However, these passages do not ignore the importance and necessity of rest. Even in the biblical account of Creation, it says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from his work” (Genesis 2:2).

Copyright 2022, Unconventional Business Network. Adapted with permission from “UBN Integrity Moments”, a commentary on faith at work issues. Visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. UBN is a faith at work ministry serving the international small business community.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. What is your work routine like? Do you work long hours, convinced that if you do not invest excessive amounts of time to your tasks and responsibilities, you will not succeed? Explain your answer.
  2. Are you familiar with the term, “workaholic,” someone seemingly addicted to work? Who do you know – perhaps even yourself – that would fit such a description? How would you evaluate their quality of life, and level of personal satisfaction and fulfillment?
  3. Does the concept of “sharpening the ax” sound familiar? Is this something you have made a habit of doing in your own approach to work? If not, what steps could you take to start doing this “restful” practice?
  4. Knowing the Bible says that after doing His work of creation, even God took a day to rest, what does this have to say about those who pursue non-stop, seven days a week work schedules?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Proverbs 12:11,24, 14:23; Ecclesiastes 9:10; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17,23-24


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