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當上帝要差遣你,你會去嗎?

WHEN GOD WANTS TO SEND YOU, WILL YOU GO?

(2020/09/24)

幾個星期前,我的朋友賽爾吉澳.佛提斯(Sergio Fortes)談到了「舒適圈」,一個明顯讓我們感到舒適的地方。它很熟悉、可預測,通常不需要我們付出額外的努力。那麼,當你被要求冒險踏出舒適圈時,你會如何回應?你會抗拒嗎?堅守自己的立場,加以拒絕?還是直接回答「我沒辦法」?當你感覺上帝指引你到一條陌生的道路上,要求你做從未嘗試過的事情,甚至是你覺得完全超乎自己能力範圍的事情時,你會怎麼做?

>我想到很多被如此要求的聖經人物:挪亞,被指示在全球性大洪水來到之前去建造一座方舟;亞伯拉罕,被告知要離開哈蘭的舒適圈,出發前往他從未聽過的土地;摩西,在以色列人被奴役了400多年之後,被上帝揀選帶領以色列人離開埃及;以賽亞,在上帝尋找傳揚祂信息的先知時,如此回應:「我在這裡!請差遣我!」;還有耶穌的每一名門徒,他們都撇下手上的工作跟隨祂。

我們生命的故事可能不會被寫進書本,但如果我們真正是耶穌基督的追隨者,那麼上帝必定會呼召我們離開舒適圈,以另一種方式在另一個地方服事祂。我自己的生命中,就有無數次這樣的經歷。我只舉兩個例子:

擔任社區報紙編輯10年之後,上帝為我打開了一扇門,成為CBMC的出版品主管。我從未寫過雜誌或書,但這兩者都是我的工作內容——真是令人興奮又使人卻步的。不過在這大幅度轉換職業跑道之前,上帝就已經使我去做另一件對我來說非常可怕的事情:同時對400多人演講。

我稱自己是「外向的內向者」。一個人或一小群人說話,我是感到舒適的,但一次面對數百個人演講呢?然而這正是神透過我在美國德克薩斯州休斯頓的牧師,指示我去做的事情。他曾建議我在一個日早上簡短地向會眾分享,說明我要做的事情,並尋求會眾的代禱。

我最初的反應是:「我做不到!」但我同意為此禱告,最後我覺得自己應該這麼做。正如預期的那樣,那個主日的早晨,我在等待上台時非常緊張,但是當我站上講台,看到許多面孔凝視著我時,竟然感受到腓立比書47節所說的那份「出人意外的平安」。我的短講超乎預期的順利,那時的甘心順服,成為我後來在CBMC各種場合中演講的基石。這也引出了我要講的第二個例子:

1999年,我成為CBMC國際總會的同工 ,當時的國際總幹事提姆.菲爾帕特(Tim Philpot)說,我們需要重新在巴西開展事工——而我就是那個要負責的人。「什麼?」當時我對巴西一無所知、不會說葡萄牙語、也不是「事工推廣」的專家。但根據過去的經驗,我相信上帝知道祂把我送到那裡要做什麼。

那次的旅行非常有果效。直到今日,我仍然維持著20多年前在聖保羅、庫里提巴和維多利亞等地建立的友誼。這趟事工之旅出乎意料的讓一群熱情的巴西人,直到今天都持續幫忙把「週一嗎哪」翻譯成5~6種語言,並發送到幾乎全世界各地。這些例子教會了我們一個重要的功課:當我們憑著順服的信心往前走,上帝永遠會成就超乎我們所求所想的大事。
備註:如果你手上有聖經,想閱讀更多相關的經文,請參考:
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1、3節
16:1 心中的謀算在乎人;舌頭的應對由於耶和華。
16:3 你所做的,要交託耶和華,你所謀的,就必成立。
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。
以賽亞書61-8
6:1 當烏西雅王崩的那年,我見主坐在高高的寶座上。他的衣裳垂下,遮滿聖殿。
6:2 其上有撒拉弗侍立,各有六個翅膀:用兩個翅膀遮臉,兩個翅膀遮腳,兩個翅膀飛翔;
6:3 彼此呼喊說:聖哉!聖哉!聖哉!萬軍之耶和華;他的榮光充滿全地!
6:4 因呼喊者的聲音,門檻的根基震動,殿充滿了煙雲。
6:5 那時我說:「禍哉!我滅亡了!因為我是嘴唇不潔的人,又住在嘴唇不潔的民中,又因我眼見大君王萬軍之耶和華。」
6:6 有一撒拉弗飛到我跟前,手裏拿著紅炭,是用火剪從壇上取下來的,
6:7 將炭沾我的口,說:「看哪,這炭沾了你的嘴,你的罪孽便除掉,你的罪惡就赦免了。」
6:8 我又聽見主的聲音說:「我可以差遣誰呢?誰肯為我們去呢?」我說:「我在這裏,請差遣我!」
馬太福音28章19-20節  
28:19 所以,你們要去,使萬民作我的門徒,奉父、子、聖靈的名給他們施洗(或譯:給他們施洗,歸於父、子、聖靈的名)。
28:20 凡我所吩咐你們的,都教訓他們遵守,我就常與你們同在,直到世界的末了。」

省與問題討論
第一、請描述你自己的「舒適圈」。
第二、你是否曾感受到上帝指示你去做一些遠遠超出你的舒適圈,甚至超過你的能力範圍的事?你當時如何回應?
第三、為什麼在這種時候邁出信心的第一步如此困難?當主呼召你去做某件事,但你卻想「我做不到!」時,禱告的作用是什麼?
第四、是否可以想到,你或你認識的某個人曾經順服上帝的呼召,結果「充充足足地成就一切,超過我們所求所想的」(以弗所書3章20節)?請說明這件事對你和其他人的影響。
 

MONDAY MANNA
September 21, 2020

WHEN GOD WANTS TO SEND YOU, WILL YOU GO?
By Robert J. Tamasy

 

Some weeks ago, my friend Sergio Fortes wrote about “the comfort zone,” where we feel, obviously, comfortable. It’s familiar, predictable, and usually does not require more effort than we are willing to give. So how do you respond when asked to venture outside your comfort zone? Do you resist? Dig in your heels and refuse? Or simply respond, “No, I can’t”? What about when you sense God directing you on an unfamiliar course, asking you to do something you have never tried before, maybe even something you feel totally unqualified to do?

I think of numerous biblical accounts when people were asked to take such steps: Noah, asked to build an ark with a global flood approaching; Abraham, told to leave his friendly confines in Haran for a land he had never heard of; Moses, selected to lead the Israelites out of Egypt after more than 400 years of being enslaved; Isaiah, responding, “Here I am! Send me!” when God was looking for a prophet to take His message; and each of Jesus’ disciples, who left their livelihoods to follow Him.

We might never have our life stories featured in a book, but if we are true followers of Jesus Christ, there will be times when God calls us out of our comfort zones to serve Him in another place, in another way. In my own life, I can recall numerous times when that happened. Let me cite just two:

After 10 years as a community newspaper editor, God opened a door for me to become director of publications for CBMC. I had never written a magazine article, or a book, but both were in my job description – exciting and daunting. But even before making that major career shift, the Lord wanted me to do something that for me was quite frightening – to speak to a crowd of more than 400 people.

Being what I call an “extroverted introvert,” I was comfortable speaking to people individually or in small groups, but speaking to hundreds at one time? Yet this is exactly what God was directing me to do, through my pastor in Houston, Texas, U.S.A. He had suggested I briefly speak to our congregation one Sunday morning to tell what I would be doing, and to solicit their prayers.

My initial reaction was, “I can’t do that!” But I agreed to pray about it, and eventually felt impressed this was what I should do. That Sunday morning I was, as expected, very nervous waiting for my turn to speak, but when I stood behind the podium and saw many faces staring back at me, I felt what Philippians 4:7 calls “the peace that passes all understanding.” My short talk went surprisingly well. That step of obedience proved to be a stepping stone for many opportunities to speak at CBMC events in a variety of settings. Which leads to the second example I want to mention:

In 1999, I was on staff with CBMC International, and Tim Philpot, then its President, said we needed to reconnect with the ministry in Brazil – and I was the one to do it. “What?” I knew nothing about Brazil, could not speak Portuguese, and was no expert in “ministry development.” But drawing from past experience, I trusted God knew what He was doing in sending me there.

The trip turned out to be extremely fruitful, and to this day I maintain friendships that were formed more than 20 years ago in Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Vitoria. Out of that ministry journey came an unexpected result: An enthusiastic group of Brazilians who to this day translate “Monday Manna” into 5-6 other languages, then send each edition literally around the world. This and other instances taught an important lesson: When we step out in obedient faith, God will always do more than we could ever imagine.

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

CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President
2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.
TEL.: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: mmanna@cbmcint.org
Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: jmarple@cbmcint.org

Reflection/Discussion Questions

 

1.How would you describe your own “comfort zone”?
 
2.Have you ever had a time when you felt God directing you to do something that was far outside your comfort zone, perhaps even something you felt unqualified to do? How did you respond?
 
3.Why do you think that taking a step of faith at such times is so difficult? What is the role of prayer when the Lord calls you to do something and you think, “I can’t do that!”?
 
4.Can you think of a time when you – or someone you know – did take that step of obedience and the outcome proved to be “exceeding abundantly beyond anything you can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20)? Describe the impact it had on you – and others.



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

Psalm 37:4-5; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:1,3, 19:21; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 28:19-20