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我們一起克服磨難的日子

OVERCOMING OUR SEASONS OF DISCONTENT TOGETHER

(2020/07/13)

生活大部分的時候都不如我們想像中的美好,所以你大概可以明白何謂我所說的「磨難的日子」。有些時候,我們都希望自己生活中的壓力少一點、舒適多一點,然而,我們真正的心情卻是很不滿足的。很多人表面上表現得好像每件事都很美好,但他們真正的處境卻不是這樣。

這些人戴上面具,甚至不告訴最親近的人自己的問題和擔心正在擴大中。他們表現出蓋住麻煩,麻煩就會自動消失的樣子。你也有這樣的經驗嗎? 然而,無論我生命的景況如何,我都很幸運地能有好朋友可以傾訴。當我業務很多、壓力很大時,有一些值得信賴且關係較親近的基督徒工商朋友,能夠傾聽或是提供一些睿智的建議,是一件好事。

在過去的三十三年中,我所參與的CBMC一直是一個很棒的資源。我感到很開心因為身邊圍繞著背景相同、生活挑戰也類似的人。和這些想法接近的人在一起,讓我有力量不屈服,能堅持不懈地度過創業的激烈考驗。

我最喜歡的聖經經文之一是傳道書4章12節:有人攻勝孤身一人,若有二人便能敵擋他;三股合成的繩子不容易折斷。」當你把生活當成團隊運動進行時,你就能擁有最好的生活!我一生中大部分的時間都投入參與團隊運動。當團隊一起比賽時,如果能拋開個人的表現和榮譽,就很容易有加乘的效果。在運動和生活中,團隊的勝利(甚至失敗)都可以帶給我們特殊的滿足感。

商場上的團隊合作也能產生類似的效果。與其他信奉耶穌基督的信徒同工時,我們可以體會到更甜蜜的勝利。我們不僅可以慶祝個人的成就,也可以慶祝因團隊合作、分享不同的技術和才能,而實現共同的目標和使命,所帶來的喜悅。

我想起了路加福音24章31-32節的經文,它描述了兩個門徒在耶穌去世、被埋葬和復活之後在往以馬仵斯的路上,與耶穌同行並與他交談,卻沒有意識到這是他們的主。最後,耶穌與他們一起擘餅,然後就消失了。「他們的眼睛明亮了,這才認出他來。忽然耶穌不見了。 他們彼此說:「在路上,他和我們說話,給我們講解聖經的時候,我們的心豈不是火熱的嗎?」。

有了聖靈住在跟隨基督的人裡面,我們也可以在共同承受地上生命的考驗時,在心中燃燒起這種聖火。使徒保羅從一個基督徒的迫害者轉變為熱心的基督的使者後,當然也經歷了磨難的日子。在寫給羅馬、哥林多、加拉太、以弗所、腓立比、歌羅西和帖撒羅尼迦教會的信裡面,他描述了自己因為基督聖工所面臨的各種艱難。

然而因為教會的所有人,使他對救主那份巨大的愛和奉獻精神依然堅定。我能想像,有幾次保羅透過接受親愛的弟兄姐妹的安慰,而克服了絕望,他們在主賜給保羅的偉大工作中鼓勵著他。

作為耶穌基督的跟隨者,當我們逐漸學會把耶穌放在首位時, 我們有機會看清楚苦難和挑戰的來臨,但是透過團隊合作,我們一起分享事奉主的熱情,就可以縮短磨難的日子,以喜悅來代替。
 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)。

備註:聖經中更多相關的訊息,請參考:
使徒行傳9章15-17節
9:15 主對亞拿尼亞說:「你只管去!他是我所揀選的器皿,要在外邦人和君王,並以色列人面前宣揚我的名。
9:16 我也要指示他,為我的名必須受許多的苦難。」
9:17 亞拿尼亞就去了,進入那家,把手按在掃羅身上,說:「兄弟掃羅,在你來的路上向你顯現的主,就是耶穌,打發我來,叫你能看見,又被聖靈充滿。」
哥林多後書1章5-7節
1:5 我們既多受基督的苦楚,就靠基督多得安慰。
1:6 我們受患難呢,是為叫你們得安慰,得拯救;我們得安慰呢,也是為叫你們得安慰;這安慰能叫你們忍受我們所受的那樣苦楚。
1:7 我們為你們所存的盼望是確定的,因為知道你們既是同受苦楚,也必同得安慰。
腓立比書1章29節
1:29 因為你們蒙恩,不但得以信服基督,並要為他受苦。
希伯來書2章17-18節
2:17 所以,他凡事該與他的弟兄相同,為要在 神的事上成為慈悲忠信的大祭司,為百姓的罪獻上挽回祭。
2:18 他自己既然被試探而受苦,就能搭救被試探的人。
彼得前書2章21-25節
2:21 你們蒙召原是為此;因基督也為你們受過苦,給你們留下榜樣,叫你們跟隨他的腳蹤行。
2:22 他並沒有犯罪,口裏也沒有詭詐。
2:23 他被罵不還口;受害不說威嚇的話,只將自己交託那按公義審判人的主。
2:24 他被掛在木頭上,親身擔當了我們的罪,使我們既然在罪上死,就得以在義上活。因他受的鞭傷,你們便得了醫治。
2:25 你們從前好像迷路的羊,如今卻歸到你們靈魂的牧人監督了。

 

省與問題討論

第一、你以前聽過「磨難的日子」一詞嗎?這對你來說這代表什麼?你是否曾經或現在正在親身經歷?如果是,那是什麼樣的感受?
第二、你認為為什麼和他人合作或從友誼得到支持,可以幫助我們克服磨難的日子?包括我們的工作、目前的景況或生活各方面?
第三、有什麼具體的方式可以描述在處理生活問題和克服挑戰時,團隊合作更優於獨自面對?
第四、你是否認為,在個人生活和工作上為服事耶穌基督努力,卻遇到掙扎和反對,是不公平的?和他人分享你的磨難和挫敗感能得到甚麼?


 

MONDAY MANNA
July 13, 2020

OVERCOMING OUR SEASONS OF DISCONTENT TOGETHER
By Jim Langley

 

Perhaps you can relate to what I call our “seasons of discontent.” Much of life is not the proverbial bed of roses we wish it could be. Everyone has times when we wish life were less stressful and more comfortable, when our primary emotion is discontent. Many people act as if everything is wonderful, when in reality their circumstances are anything but that.

These individuals typically put on a front, not telling even those closest to them the extent of their problems and concerns. They act as if hiding their troubles will make them disappear. Have you ever experienced this? I have been fortunate to have close friends in whom I can confide, no matter what life throws my way. Many of my business dealings these days create a lot of stress, so it is good to have a few close Christian businessmen I can count on, both to listen and to offer sage advice.

My involvement in CBMC has been a wonderful resource over these past 33 years. It has been good to be around others who can identify with the common trials and challenges in life. Being around such like-minded men has given me the strength to not surrender to the enemy, and instead to persevere through the fiery trials of entrepreneurship.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Ecclesiastes 4:12, which reads “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Life works best when it is played as a team sport! I have been involved in team sports most of my life. When a team plays together, without concern for individual performance and glory, a synergistic phenomenon often takes place. There is a unique sense of satisfaction associated with team victories – and even defeats – in sports and in life.

Teamwork in business can have similar results. And when shared with fellow believers in Jesus Christ, we can experience even sweeter victory. We can celebrate not only personal accomplishments, but also the joy of teaming together, sharing our different skills and talents, to achieve a common goal or mission.

I am reminded of a passage, Luke 24:31-32, which describes two disciples walking and talking with Jesus – following His death, burial and resurrection – on the road to Emmaus, not realizing it was their Lord. At the end of this scene, Jesus breaks bread with them and then vanishes. It says, “Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’”

With the Holy Spirit living inside all who follow Christ, we too can have that burning in our hearts and minds as we endure life’s trials here on earth together. The apostle Paul certainly experienced his own share of seasons of discontent following his conversion from a persecutor of Christians to a zealous ambassador for Christ. Throughout his letters to the churches in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae and Thessalonica he tells of the struggles he faced for the cause of Christ.

Through them all, he remained strong and unwavering in His immense love and devotion for his Lord and Savior. I can only imagine there were times when Paul overcame despair by receiving comfort from close brothers and sisters in Christ who encouraged him in the great work our Lord had given him to do.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we all have the opportunity to weather seasons of suffering and challenges as we gradually learn to place Him first in all things. By working together in teams, sharing a common passion for serving the Lord, we can shorten our seasons of discontent, replacing them with joy.

© 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.

CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President
2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160▪ Tucson, 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. Have you heard the term “seasons of discontent” before? What does that mean to you? Have you experienced them yourself – perhaps even right now? If so, what has that been like?


 
2.Why do you think teaming up with others, or benefiting from the friendship and support of others, can help us in overcoming these times of being discontented – with our work, our present circumstances, or life in general?
 
3.In what specific ways does working in concert with others prove to be superior to trying to handle life – and overcome its challenges – on our own?
 
4.Do you ever think it is unfair to be striving to serve Jesus Christ, not only through your personal life but also through your work, and then encountering struggles and opposition? What can you gain from sharing your discontent – your frustrations – with others?




NOTE: For more about what the Bible says, consider the following passages:
  Acts 9:15-17; 2 Corinthians 1:5-7; Philippians 1:29; Hebrews 2:17-18; 1 Peter 2:21-25