當「好的」阻礙「更好的」時候──WHEN GOOD GETS IN THE WAY OF THE BEST

你有沒有想過,有時候,做好的事也可能是做錯的事呢?當鐵達尼號撞上冰山時,船的管理員可能正準備好要拖地了,但這看起來好的事,絕對不是當時所需要的。

生活為我們提供了許多「好的事」,我們可以做這些事來付出時間、精力和才能。我們也許會說、做好的事並沒有什麼錯啊 –  然而除非它們阻止了我們去做更好的事。奧斯瓦爾德·章伯斯 (Oswald Chambers) 在他的靈修書籍《竭誠為主》(My Utmost for His Highest) 中指出,「好是最好的敵人」。時間和經驗教導我,他是對的。  

在商業和專業領域裡,我們總是圍繞著好的事要做。但如果我們希望自己的生活和工作真的有意義,能改變我們每天接觸的人的生命時,那麼學習辨別僅僅是「好的」或是「最好的」,是需要智慧的。對於希望透過職場來跟隨和服事耶穌基督的人來說更是如此。   作家雷·康福特 (Ray Comfort) 講述了一位老人在教堂禮拜時顫抖著說話的故事:「當我年輕的時候,我把我整個人都給了運動!」回想起來,他意識到自己所專注的運動,是犧牲了許多重要的事情而達到的,終究是浪費時間。這個老人懇求傾聽的人,尤其是那些年輕人,把他們的生命承諾給最好的事:就是在他們生命的各個方面都事奉上帝。

在聖經中我們可以看到這樣的建議:求你指教我們怎樣數算自己的日子,好叫我們得著智慧的心。」(詩篇 90篇12節)。以弗所書 5章16節 挑戰我們要愛惜光陰,因為現今的世代邪惡。」這並不是說時間本身是邪惡的,然而我們不能保存時間,改天使用。無論我們是否願意,時間都會過去,因此我們應該用最好的方式來使用它。

有人說,「如果撒旦不能讓你做「壞的事」,當你把自己的生命僅僅在做「好的事」時,牠也會非常高興的。」換句話說,就是因為你沒有認出和追求那可能是「最好的」事。

另一位著名的作家和演講者保羅·區普 (Paul Tripp) 則提出了這樣的見解,不要把好的事物和那些最好的事物混淆:「物質世界的所有榮耀都服務於一個目的 – 提醒著我們並指向榮耀的上帝。物質世界可以非常輝煌,但它從來就不是我們的終點,不過像是指向旅程終點的標誌。標誌絕不是目地的,標誌僅是指向目的地的東西。

被造的肉身也是如此。你受造活著不是為了它,它只是讓你指向受造應該活出的中心就是上帝,且只有上帝。最可悲的是,當一個人追求找不到的東西,是因為根本無法提供時。但是很多人每天卻都這樣做着,他們尋找著找不到的受造的榮耀。

  那麼我們應該關注的「最好的事」是什麼呢?在與上帝的親密關係和對祂的順服中成長,使這樣的品格能滿溢到他人的生命中就是其中之一。正如哥林多後書 5章20節 所說的:「 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。」有什麼比透過我們的職業和個人生活來事奉和代表主,幫助其他人也認識主來得更好的呢?

Ken Korkow居住在美國內布拉斯加州的奧馬哈市,他擔任該地的CBMC區域總監。本篇文章改編自他的「生活傳真」專欄。經許可使用。

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多相關內容,請參考以下經文(請參閱以下未列出的經文箴言19:20、傳道書3:1-5、羅馬書1:12-13):
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。
羅馬書 1章14-23節
1:14無論是希臘人、化外人、聰明人、愚拙人,我都欠他們的債,
1:15 所以情願盡我的力量,將福音也傳給你們在羅馬的人。
1:16 我不以福音為恥;這福音本是 神的大能,要救一切相信的,先是猶太人,後是希臘人。
1:17 因為 神的義正在這福音上顯明出來;這義是本於信,以至於信。如經上所記:「義人必因信得生。」
1:18 原來, 神的忿怒從天上顯明在一切不虔不義的人身上,就是那些行不義阻擋真理的人。
1:19  神的事情,人所能知道的,原顯明在人心裏,因為 神已經給他們顯明。
1:20 自從造天地以來, 神的永能和 神性是明明可知的,雖是眼不能見,但藉著所造之物就可以曉得,叫人無可推諉。
1:21 因為,他們雖然知道 神,卻不當作 神榮耀他,也不感謝他。他們的思念變為虛妄,無知的心就昏暗了。
1:22 自稱為聰明,反成了愚拙, 1:23 將不能朽壞之 神的榮耀變為偶像,彷彿必朽壞的人和飛禽、走獸、昆蟲的樣式。
歌羅西書 3章17、23節
3:17 無論做甚麼,或說話或行事,都要奉主耶穌的名,藉著他感謝父 神。
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,
歌羅西書 4章5-6節
4:5 你們要愛惜光陰,用智慧與外人交往。
4:6 你們的言語要常常帶著和氣,好像用鹽調和,就可知道該怎樣回答各人。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你如何理解「好是最好的敵人」這句話?你同意這個觀點嗎?你有沒有什麼例子是忽略了最好的事而僅僅在做那好的事呢?
  2. 對於那個總結自己為了追求運動興趣而浪費生命的老人,你有什麼反應?你能想到誰有過類似的體悟:到了生命的盡頭,卻發現大部分的時間都花在做錯的事上嗎?
  3. 引述保羅·區普 (Paul Tripp) 的話,他見過許多人「尋找著被創造的榮耀,竟然發現完全找不到。他建議我們應該把焦點放在創造者身上,而不是被創造的事物上。你同意嗎?請分享原因。 
  4. 如果要你描述對自己「最重要」,付出最多的時間、精力和才能追求的事,那應該是什麼呢?請解釋為什麼這些事情對你如此重要。


WHEN GOOD GETS IN THE WAY OF THE BEST

By Ken Korkow

Have you ever considered that sometimes, doing good things can be the wrong things to do? When the Titanic struck the iceberg, the ship custodians might have been preparing to mop the floors. But a good thing like that definitely wasn’t what was needed right then.

Life presents us with many “good things” we can do to consume our time, energy, and talents. We might say there is nothing wrong with doing good things – unless they prevent us from doing better things. In his devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers observes in several of his meditations that “good is the enemy of the best.” Time and experience have taught me that he was correct.

In the business and professional world, we encounter good things to do all the time. But if we want our lives – and our work – to really matter, to make a difference in the lives of people we touch every day, it would be wise to learn how to distinguish merely “good” things from the “best” things. This is especially true for those who desire to follow and serve Jesus Christ through our vocational pursuits.

Author Ray Comfort tells of an elderly man trembling as he spoke during a church service: “When I was a young man, I gave myself to sports!” In retrospect, he realized his preoccupation – at the expense of many important things – was a waste of time. The man pleaded with those who were listening, especially those who were young, to commit their lives to the best thing: Serving God in every area of their lives. 

In the Scriptures we find this advice: “Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). And Ephesians 5:16 challenges us to be “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” This does not mean time itself is evil, but we can’t conserve time for use another day. It passes whether we want it to or not, so we should use it in the best ways we can.

Someone has said, “If Satan can’t get you to do ‘bad’ – he is perfectly happy when you simply give your life to doing ‘good.’” In other words, failing to recognize and pursue the ‘best’ things you could be doing.

Paul Tripp, another notable author and speaker, offers this insight on not confusing good things with those things that are best: “All of the glories of the physical created world serve this one purpose – to remind us of and point us to the glory of God…. The physical world is wonderfully glorious, but it was never meant to be our stopping point, any more than a sign that points toward something is meant to be the end of the journey…. The sign is not the thing; the sign points you to the thing. 

“The same can be said of physical creation. It is not (what) you were made to live for. It was made to point you to the thing you were made to live for, and that thing is God and God alone. How sad it is when a person looks for what cannot be found in something that cannot deliver (what they seek). But many, many people do this every day. They look to created glory to find what cannot be found there.”

So what are those “best things” we should focus on? Growing in intimacy with God and obedience to Him, so that His character overflows into the lives of others is one of them. As 2 Corinthians 5:20 states, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” What could be better than to serve and represent the Lord through our professional and personal lives, and help others to come to know Him as well?

Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from his “Fax of Life” column. Used with permission.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. How do you understand the statement, “good is the enemy of the best”? Do you agree with that? What might be an example of neglecting the “best” thing by doing something that is only “good” instead?
  2. What is your reaction to the elderly man who concluded that he had wasted his life in pursuit of his interests in sports? Can you think of anyone who has come to a similar realization, reaching the end of life and determining that much of it was spent on doing the wrong things? 
  3. Paul Tripp is quoted, saying he has seen many people who “look to created glory to find what cannot be found there.” He suggests that instead, we should put our focus on the Creator, rather than the things created. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  4. If you were to describe the things most important to you, the things you pursue by giving the most of your time, energy, and talent, what would they be? Explain why these things so important to you.

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
Proverbs 19:20; Ecclesiastes 3:1-5, 9:10; Romans 1:12-23; Colossians 3:17,23, 4:5-6


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