當失敗變成功──WHEN FAILURE BECOMES SUCCESS

早年我在當投資顧問的時候,曾向一位名叫湯姆的貸款機構負責人投標自己的顧問計畫。在跟進的會談中,我向他解釋了我的聖經諮詢方法,湯姆的目光突然變冷,討論和會議戛然而止。湯姆顯然不欣賞我使用的觀點。最後不用說,我沒有得標。

當時我還是一個新手顧問,所以我把它歸結為自己的失敗。我認真反省可以用什麼不同的方式進行會議,但不後悔告訴他我的信念,以及這會如何影響我處理他的業務問題。正如使徒保羅所寫:「我不以福音為恥;這福音本是 神的大能,把救恩帶給一切相信的人……」(羅馬書1章16節)

我也知道,如果沒有相同的價值觀和動機,嘗試合作終會失敗。聖經關於職場最實際的警告之一是哥林多後書6章14節:「你們和不信的原不相配,不要同負一軛。義和不義有甚麼相交呢?光明和黑暗有甚麼相通呢?」這不代表我能批判湯姆和他的價值觀,但這提醒我,我們無法為實現同樣的目標而努力。

然而,這個我當初視為失敗的事件卻有所轉折。大約兩年後,湯姆的兄弟告訴我,當時湯姆拒絕採用我的顧問服務,僱用了另一個人,但這個人從他的公司中竊取了40,000美元。很顯然的,這個人作業務的方式和我的聖經觀點截然不同!

這段經歷讓湯姆開始了一次靈性之旅,最後他的生活因著與耶穌基督的關係徹底改變。我所認為的失敗變成了上帝的成功。

這樣的故事並不罕見。我們在聖經中經常看到。例如,摩西最初要求法老釋放為奴的以色列人之後,法老拒絕他,使摩西感到挫敗。但是,在出埃及記11章9節中,我們發現主曾經事先告訴摩西:「法老必不聽你們,使我的奇事在埃及地多起來。」上帝經常使用表面上的失敗,做為祂彰顯能力、成就祂旨意的機會。

最重要的不是我們是否得到自己希望的結果,而是我們保持對主的順服——就算這意味著無法實現自己的目標。順服上帝就是成功,即使一開始它被認為是失敗,上帝也樂於把表面上的失敗變成超過我們最高期待的成功。

箴言書對此有很多話要說。例如,箴言16章3節這樣鼓勵我們:「你所做的,要交託耶和華,你所謀的,就必成立。」這不一定意味著事情會照我們的預期進行,但最後,上帝會賜給我們成功——有時甚至超出我們所求所想。

聖經也建議我們,當主修改我們的計劃時不要感到驚訝:「人心籌算自己的道路;惟耶和華指引他的腳步。」(箴言16章9節)。另一節經文說:「人的腳步為耶和華所定;人豈能明白自己的路呢?」(箴言20章24節)我們可以相信我們的天父最了解一切。

版權所有2019  非傳統商業網路(前身為純全資源中心)。節錄自和Rick Boxx的純全時刻,這本刊物主要是從基督徒的角度來探討職場上正直這個主題。如果希望知道更多關於這個事工或是想訂閱每日純全時刻,請上這個網站: www.unconventionalbusiness.org. Rick Boxx最新出版的書提供用五個關鍵的神的方法來建立企業。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你是否經歷過表面的失敗變為成功?那是什麼樣的經歷?對此你有何感想?
  2. 這個經驗是不是告訴你,就算結果不是你所期望或希望的,忠於信念依然重要?
  3. 你認為上帝如何能使用你的失敗,不只是帶來成功,也讓你成為祂希望你成為的人?
  4. 明白上帝的計劃可能和你的計劃不同,如何影響你進行計劃的方式?

備註:如果你手上有聖經,希望閱讀更多相關的經文,請參考以下內容:     

詩篇37篇4-5節
37:4 又要以耶和華為樂,他就將你心裏所求的賜給你。
37:5 當將你的事交託耶和華,並倚靠他,他就必成全。
箴言3章5-6節
3:5 你要專心仰賴耶和華,不可倚靠自己的聰明,
3:6 在你一切所行的事上都要認定他,他必指引你的路。
箴言16章4節
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。
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21章30-31節
21:30 沒有人能以智慧、聰明、謀略敵擋耶和華。
21:31 馬是為打仗之日預備的;得勝乃在乎耶和華。
箴言22章12節
22:12 耶和華的眼目眷顧聰明人,卻傾敗奸詐人的言語。
箴言24章19-20節
24:19 不要為作惡的心懷不平,也不要嫉妒惡人;
24:20 因為,惡人終不得善報;惡人的燈也必熄滅。
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。
耶利米書33章3節
33:3 你求告我,我就應允你,並將你所不知道、又大又難的事指示你。

WHEN FAILURE BECOMES SUCCESS

By Rick Boxx

Early in my practice as a business consultant, I submitted a bid on a consulting project for a mortgage lender named Tom. During a follow-up interview, I explained to him about my biblical approach to consulting, Tom’s gaze suddenly went cold. Our discussion and the meeting came to an abrupt end. Tom clearly did not appreciate the perspective I would be using; needless to say, I did not get the project.

Since I was still fairly new as a consultant, I chalked it up to failure on my part. I wondered how I might have handled the meeting differently but did not regret telling him about my beliefs and the way they influenced how I would approach issues in his business. As the apostle Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

I also knew that if we did not share the same value system and motivations, trying to work together would have failed anyway. One of the Bible’s most practical warnings that relate to the marketplace is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14, which admonishes, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers, for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” This did not mean I was to pass judgment on Tom and his own values, but it reminded me that we would be unable to strive for the same goals.

What I had perceived as failure, however, proved to be anything but that. About two years later, Tom’s brother informed me that when he chose not to utilize my consulting services, Tom instead hired another individual who proceeded to steal $40,000 from his company. Obviously, the other person did not share my biblical perspective on how to operate a business!

That experience launched Tom on a spiritual journey, one that ultimately resulted in his life becoming totally transformed by a relationship with Jesus Christ. What I had perceived as failure became God’s success.

Stories like this are not unusual. We see them frequently in the Bible. For instance, after Moses initially asked Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery, Moses felt like a failure when Pharaoh refused. However, in Exodus 11:9 we discover the Lord had told Moses in advance, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you – so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” God often uses times of apparent failure as opportunities for Him to display His power and carry out His will.

What is most important is not whether we experience the results we had hoped for, but rather that we remain obedient to the Lord – even if it means failing to achieve our own goals and objectives. Obedience to God is success even if it is first viewed as failure, and He delights in demonstrating how He can turn apparent failure into success beyond our greatest hopes.

The book of Proverbs has much to say about this. For instance, Proverbs 16:3 offers this encouragement: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” This does not necessarily mean things will work out as we expect them to, but in the end, God will grant us success – sometimes beyond our hopes.

We are also advised not to be surprised when the Lord modifies our plans: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Another verse says, “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24). We can trust that our Father knows best.

© 2020, Unconventional Business Network Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more, visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever experienced a time when apparent failure turned into success? What was that experience like – and how did you feel about it?
  2. What does this tell you about the importance of remaining true to your convictions, even when the outcome is not what you expected or hoped for?
  3. How do you think God can use your failures not only to bring about success, but also to make you into the person He intends for you to become?
  4. Realizing that God’s plans might be different from your own, how can this affect the way you proceed in your planning process?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:

Psalm 37:4-5; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:4, 19:21, 21:30-31, 22:12, 24:19-20, 27:1; Jeremiah 33:3

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