你的基準點是什麼?──WHAT IS YOUR REFERENCE POINT?

MONDAY MANNA

北極星是小熊星座中最亮、肉眼能看得最清楚的恆星。數百年來,陸地或海上的旅行者無論行經任何道路,都用它來指出正確的北面方向。這對所有人都適用:如果在夜間使用北極星作為基準點,旅行時就可以輕鬆地維持正確方向。指南針也是類似的原理,在白天幫助人們保持正確的方向。但是對某些人來說,這種方式可能很新鮮,因為現在我們更常利用電子導航設備來判定從A點到B點最短且最快的距離。

智慧人在生活各個層面都有基準點。幾乎是我們在個人和商業生活中所做的一切都要有個基準點,作為我們處理日常事務的基礎,幫助我們確定很多人生決策的方向。但是我們要如何選擇基準點呢?基本上,有世俗的基準點以及永恆的基準點。無論我們自己是否意識到,都必須從世俗或屬靈方面來考量解決生活上的問題。所以,我要問:你的基準點是什麼?

日常生活中的引導,不能依賴任何電子設備。我們需要一個能毫無保留信靠的道德指南針。我的道德指南針多年來一直是聖經,就是上帝沒有任何錯謬的真理。在《舊約》和《新約》的66卷書中,我找到了生活中所有問題的答案。每天我都研讀上帝的話語,因為它可以幫助我度過人生的旅程。

在人生的早期,我相信自己的判斷是基於周遭發生的一切。我關注這個世界,並盡全力追隨那些在專業領域中被認為是成功的人。但是當我接受基督為救主時,我意識到在生活多數層面,信任這個世界的模式和價值觀沒有甚麼益處。從那之後,我的人生旅途充滿了喜樂與平安。我曾經努力爭取的變得不那麼重要了。我現在生活的重點是與神的親密關係,以及在我所做的一切事上取悅上帝。

1988年,哈維.麥凱(Harvey B. MacKay)發表了他經典的銷售管理著作《攻心為上》(Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive),2005年這本書更新了內容。對大小企業或是想成功經營生意的人而言,這本書一直是寶貴的資源。書中提出絕大多數的有用原則並不新穎,很多都可以在聖經中找到。坦白說,我寧願直接去《箴言》,尋找和自己的生意與生活相關的建議。箴言有31章,每個月的每一天都有一章可讀!

我偏好讀箴言作者所羅門王的話,他被認為是歷史上最聰明的人。根據歷史記載,他說了3000多則箴言。僅僅是箴言第1章,我們就發現33節寶貴的真理,肯定會讓讀者受益。在第7節中,我們被教導:「敬畏耶和華是知識的開端;愚妄人藐視智慧和訓誨。」獲得智慧沒有捷徑,每天都要應用上帝的話語。在閱讀箴言時,我們發現周圍的人和我們自己同等重要,因此成功並不是最重要的。

我建議把神的話和神的靈當成自己的基準點,成為我們在地上活得極其豐富的「北極星」。不要被世界的基準點迷惑,因為這最終只會帶來毀壞。我們要用永恆的眼光去看自己所做的一切,以及在耶穌基督裡我們所能成為的一切!

Jim Langley從事人壽健康保險業已經超過30年了。最近幾年,他熱心於將自己與神的關係書 寫出來,目的是要鼓勵其他人更加親近神。他也是CBMC的長期會員,在2014年時,他開始寫作「比賽第四節策略」(Fourth Quarter Strategies)。

反省與問題討論

  1. 在晴朗無雲的夜晚你找得到北極星嗎?你個人或你認識的人曾經用它當旅行的基準點嗎?有幫助嗎?
  2. 你是否注意到這些年來,在生活的各個領域(包括商業和專業領域),辨別對錯的基準點似乎改變了?你覺得為什麼會改變?在職業和個人生活中有單一不變的基準點這樣的想法實際嗎?為什麼?
  3. 你對以聖經作為生活(包括工作方式)的基準點這樣的想法有什麼意見?你可以如何運用這個想法?
  4. 你是否認識有人在生活的各個領域把聖經,也就是神的話當作他們的「北極星」?這些人有甚麼令你印象深刻的地方呢?

備註:關於聖經中更多信息,請參考下面的經文:

詩篇25篇1-5節
25:1 耶和華啊,我的心仰望你。
25:2 我的 神啊,我素來倚靠你;求你不要叫我羞愧,不要叫我的仇敵向我誇勝。
25:3 凡等候你的必不羞愧;惟有那無故行奸詐的必要羞愧。
25:4 耶和華啊,求你將你的道指示我,將你的路教訓我!
25:5 求你以你的真理引導我,教訓我,因為你是救我的 神。我終日等候你。

箴言2章1-5節
2:1 我兒,你若領受我的言語,存記我的命令,
2:2 側耳聽智慧,專心求聰明,
2:3 呼求明哲,揚聲求聰明,
2:4 尋找它,如尋找銀子,搜求它,如搜求隱藏的珍寶,
2:5 你就明白敬畏耶和華,得以認識 神。

道書12章11-14節
12:11 智慧人的言語好像刺棍;會中之師的言語又像釘穩的釘子,都是一個牧者所賜的。
12:12 我兒,還有一層,你當受勸戒:著書多,沒有窮盡;讀書多,身體疲倦。
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1章27-31節
1:27 神卻揀選了世上愚拙的,叫有智慧的羞愧;又揀選了世上軟弱的,叫那強壯的羞愧。
1:28 神也揀選了世上卑賤的,被人厭惡的,以及那無有的,為要廢掉那有的,
1:29 使一切有血氣的,在 神面前一個也不能自誇。
1:30 但你們得在基督耶穌裏是本乎 神, 神又使他成為我們的智慧、公義、聖潔、救贖。
1:31 如經上所記:「誇口的,當指著主誇口。」

雅各書1章5-8節
1:5 你們中間若有缺少智慧的,應當求那厚賜與眾人、也不斥責人的 神,主就必賜給他。
1:6 只要憑著信心求,一點不疑惑;因為那疑惑的人,就像海中的波浪,被風吹動翻騰。
1:7 這樣的人不要想從主那裏得甚麼。
1:8 心懷二意的人,在他一切所行的路上都沒有定見。


WHAT IS YOUR REFERENCE POINT?

By Jim Langley

The North Star, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, is the star most visible to the naked eye. It has been used for centuries to show travelers on land and sea astronomical true north for navigating whatever path they choose for a journey. It works for everyone: If we use the North Star as a reference point by night, we can easily remain on course as we travel. In a similar manner, a compass can help in staying on course during the daytime. This might be new information to some, because these days we typically utilize electronic navigational devices for determining the shortest and fastest distance from Point A to Point B.

We would be wise to start with a reference point in all aspects of life. Virtually everything we do in our personal and business lives draws upon a reference point. It serves as the basis for how we conduct our daily affairs. It helps us determine what direction we choose for the many life decisions we make. But how do we select our reference point? Basically, is it worldly or eternal? Whether we realize it or not, we all address life from a secular or a spiritual platform. So let me ask: What is your reference point?

For directions in our everyday life journey, we cannot rely on any electronic device to show the way. We need a moral compass we can trust implicitly. For me, for many years that moral compass has been the Bible, the inerrant Word of God. I have found answers to all of life’s questions within the 66 books contained in its Old and New Testaments. I go to God’s Word daily, since it helps me navigate my personal journey.

Earlier in my life, I trusted in my own judgment, based on what I saw going on around me. I watched the world and did my best to follow others whom I considered successful in their fields of expertise. But when I received Christ as my Savior and Lord, I realized trusting in the patterns and values of this world would be unprofitable in most aspects of life. Since then, my journey has been filled with joy and peace. Things I once strived for have become far less important. My focus now is close relationships and pleasing God in all I do.

In 1988, Harvey B. MacKay published his classic sales management treatise, Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. This book, updated in 2005, remains a valuable resource to small and large businesses alike, for succeeding in one’s chosen business endeavor. For the most part, the useful principles he presents are not new; many of them can be found in the Bible. Frankly, I would much rather go directly to the book of Proverbs for advice in how to live my business and personal life. Since it has 31 chapters, there is a chapter set aside for each day of the month!

I prefer reading the words of King Solomon, the author of Proverbs, who is considered the wisest man in history. He uttered more than 3,000 proverbs, according to historical accounts. In Proverbs 1 alone, we find 33 verses presenting valuable truths that can certainly benefit all who read them. In verse 7 we are told, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” There are no shortcuts to gaining wisdom. God’s Word needs to be applied one day at a time. As we read it, we discover that success is not what really matters, that the people around us are as important as we are.

I suggest that God’s Word and His Holy Spirit be your reference point, your “North Star” for maximizing your life here on earth. Do not be fooled by the world’s reference point, which only leads to eventual destruction. We need an eternal perspective for all we do – and for all we can become in Jesus Christ!

© 2020, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Can you locate the North Star on a clear, cloudless night? Have you – or someone you know – ever used it as a reference point for travel? How is it helpful?
  2. Have you noticed that over the years, what is considered right and what is considered wrong in every area of life – including the business and professional world – seems to change? Why do you think that is? Do you think the idea of having a single, consistent reference point for how we live our lives, both professionally and personally, is realistic? Why or why not?
  3. What do you think of the idea that we should use the Bible as the reference point for how we approach our lives, including our work? How does this apply to you personally?
  4. Who do you know that does use the Scriptures, the Word of God, as their “North Star” for how they approach every area of life? What about them, if anything, stands out to you?

NOTE: For more about what the Bible says, consider the following passages:

Psalms 25:1-5; Proverbs 2:1-5; Ecclesiastes 12:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:27-31; James 1:5-8


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