你工作究竟是為了什麼?──WHAT ARE YOU REALLY WORKING FOR?

MONDAY MANNA

你是否在人生某些時刻會問自己「我究竟為什麼要工作?」我相信很多人都在一段時間中想過這個問題至少一兩次。每天辛苦的工作,花費大量的精力與時間。尤其當所珍惜的目標和抱負似乎遙不可及時,我們更會冒出這樣的念頭。

最近,我聽到了一個幽默的故事,似乎稍微得到安慰:一名富裕的房地產大亨去世時,留下指示,把自己的屍體火化,並將骨灰放入沙漏中,再把這些沙漏交給他的銀行專員、他的會計師,以及數年來為他做過多次審計業務的稅務律師。這位富有的執行長在遺囑中解釋他的理由。他意識到自己畢生所賺的錢最終大多用於這些人身上,因而打趣的說:「我一生的大部分時間都在為這些人工作。我死後不妨繼續為他們工作好了。」

這種對生命憤世嫉俗的態度並非不尋常。實際上,在聖經舊約的傳道書中,所羅門王(據說是世界上最富有且最聰明的人)就用這樣的觀點作為整卷書的開場白:「傳道者說:虛空的虛空,虛空的虛空,凡事都是虛空。」(傳道書1章2節)你感受到這位古代國王的挫敗感了嗎?

他繼續說:「人一切的勞碌,就是他在日光之下的勞碌,有甚麼益處呢?……已過的世代,無人記念;將來的世代,後來的人也不記念。」(傳道書1章3、11節)聽起來就像這位富翁下令將骨灰倒入沙漏時的想法。至少一小部分的他可以用這種方式繼續存在。

所羅門王後來在他的書中繼續哀嘆:「我所以恨惡生命;因為在日光之下所行的事我都以為煩惱,都是虛空,都是捕風。我恨惡一切的勞碌,就是我在日光之下的勞碌,因為我得來的必留給我以後的人。那人是智慧是愚昧,誰能知道?」(傳道書2章17-19節)

所以,就這樣嗎?我們花費數小時、數週、數月甚至數年時間,建立起的職業生涯,最後沒有任何價值嗎?值得慶幸的是,聖經並未以所羅門的抱怨作為結論。實際上,如果我們希望自己的生命有真正的意義和持久的影響,那麼我們要做的就是跟隨耶穌基督在登山寶訓中的勸告。

耶穌嚴嚴訓誡群眾,其中包括一些與當時的長期傳統和習俗相違背的教導之後,向聽眾保證,他們的生命可以有永恆的意義:「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。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。因為你的財寶在哪裏,你的心也在那裏。」(馬太福音6章19-21節)

那確切要怎麼做呢?耶穌提供了答案。「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節)我這樣解釋:我們能把其他的一切都拋在腦後,一生只為自己工作。或者,我們可以一生致力於奉主的名服事主、服事人,建立基業,讓我們的工作成果可以在未來繼續前進。

© 2020. 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

反省與問題討論

  1. 本文一開始的問題是:「我究竟為什麼要工作?」 你是否腦海中有浮現過這個或類似的問題?你的答案是什麼?
  2. 我們發現富有的房地產大亨和所羅門王似乎都認為,我們一生中大部分的努力,尤其是工作,都只是徒勞和沮喪。你如何看待這種觀點?一個人如果抱持這種態度,對生活會產生什麼影響?
  3. 接下來,我們看到了鮮明的對比。耶穌基督鼓勵他的跟隨者積聚財寶在天上,而不是在地上。你認為這是什麼意思?
  4. 耶穌最後的訓誡是「你們要先求他的國和他的義。」在瞬息萬變、競爭激烈的21世紀商場環境中,要如何做到這一點?尤其是當大多數人或公司都沒有這樣做,也沒有想要這樣做時?

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多經文,請參考以下內容:

傳道書9章7-10節
9:7 你只管去歡歡喜喜吃你的飯,心中快樂喝你的酒,因為 神已經悅納你的作為。
9:8 你的衣服當時常潔白,你頭上也不要缺少膏油。
9:9 在你一生虛空的年日,就是 神賜你在日光之下虛空的年日,當同你所愛的妻,快活度日,因為那是你生前在日光之下勞碌的事上所得的分。
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。
傳道書12章13-14節
12:13 這些事都已聽見了,總意就是:敬畏 神,謹守他的誡命,這是人所當盡的本分(或譯:這是眾人的本分)。
12:14 因為人所做的事,連一切隱藏的事,無論是善是惡, 神都必審問。
哥林多前書3章9節
3:9 因為我們是與 神同工的;你們是 神所耕種的田地,所建造的房屋。
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 神而行。
哥林多後書5章17-21節
5:17 若有人在基督裏,他就是新造的人,舊事已過,都變成新的了。
5:18 一切都是出於 神;他藉著基督使我們與他和好,又將勸人與他和好的職分賜給我們。
5:19 這就是 神在基督裏,叫世人與自己和好,不將他們的過犯歸到他們身上,並且將這和好的道理託付了我們。
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。
5:21  神使那無罪(無罪:原文是不知罪)的,替我們成為罪,好叫我們在他裏面成為 神的義。


DEVELOPING ‘MARGIN’ BY PRUNING UNFRUITFUL PURSUITS

By Jim Mathis

Have you ever had moments when you asked yourself, “What am I really working for?” I suspect many of us have wondered about this, at least once in a while. The daily grind, the energy, effort and long hours expended. Especially when cherished goals and aspirations still seem out of reach.

Recently I heard a humorous story that seemed to address this frustration: When wealthy real estate magnate died, he had left instructions that his body be cremated, and then have his ashes put into hourglasses. These hourglasses were to be given to his banker, his CPA, and the income tax agent who had conducted his numerous audits over the years. In his will, the rich executive explained his reasoning. He said that after realizing how much of the money he had earned ultimately had gone to these men, the rich man quipped in his will, “I spent much of my life working for these people. I might as well keep working for them after I’m dead.”

This cynical look at life is not uncommon. In fact, in the Bible’s Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon – reputed to have been the richest and wisest man in the world – opened with this perspective: “’Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Do you sense the ancient king’s frustration?

He continues, “What does a man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?… There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow” (Ecclesiastes 1:3,11). Sounds like what the wealthy man was thinking when he ordered his ashes be put into hourglasses. At least a small part of himself would continue in that way.

King Solomon continued his lament later in his book: “So I hated life, because that work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?” (Ecclesiastes 2:17-19).

So, is that it? Is the work that we do, the many hours and weeks and months and years we devote to building our careers, ultimately of no value? Thankfully, the Scriptures do not conclude with Solomon’s complaints. In fact, if we desire for our lives to have true meaning and lasting impact, all we need to do is follow the exhortation Jesus Christ gave during His so-called Sermon on the Mount.

After many strong admonitions, including some that went against long-standing traditions and practices of that time, Jesus offered His hearers an assurance that their lives could make a difference – one that would last for eternity:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

How can we do this? Jesus provided the answer. “But seek first (God’s) kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). I would paraphrase it this way: We can spend our lives working for ourselves, and leave everything behind. Or we can devote ourselves to serving the Lord and others in His name, and build a legacy, sending the fruits of our labors on ahead.

© 2020. 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; andThe Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. At the beginning we see the question, “What am I really working for?” Has that, or a similar question, ever crossed your mind? What has been your answer?
  2. We find two examples – the wealthy real estate magnate, and King Solomon – who both seem to have concluded that much of what we devote our lives, especially in the workplace, leads to futility and frustration. How do you respond to this perspective? If a person has this attitude, what impact will it have on how he or she pursues life?
  3. Next we see the contrast, Jesus Christ encouraging His followers to store up treasures in heaven, instead of seeking to store up treasures on earth. What do you think this means?
  4. Jesus’ last admonition is to “seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness.” How does someone go about trying to do that in the 21st century marketplace, with its volatile, ever-changing, highly competitive environment? Especially when it seems that the majority of people and companies are not doing that – or have any desire to do so?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, 12:13-14; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 10:31; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21


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