是否為會員

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為了安全抵達,留在船上是明智之舉

TO ARRIVE SAFELY, IT IS WISE TO STAY IN THE BOAT

(2024/02/19)


即使在所謂世俗的商業與專業領域中,聖經仍有很多教導我們的地方。例如,馬太福音14章,講述了耶穌在水上行走的同時,祂的門徒們則在一艘被暴風雨搖晃的船上。他們中的一位,彼得,向來是個滿腔熱情的人,想要加入耶穌。於是,耶穌邀請他說:「來吧」。一開始,彼得前進的步伐還順利。但後來當他注意到風浪後,感到恐懼,便開始下沉,而呼喊著讓耶穌救他。當耶穌這樣做時,他也責備彼得的信心不足。

這個故事生動地,呼籲所有基督徒離開我們的「舒適圈」,無畏地活著。然而,在財務投資方面,大膽並不總是最佳的方式。以下是一些解釋為什麼管理上帝財富的人,通常最好留在原地的原因。

上帝賦予每位基督徒管家的任務,乃是要以上帝的優先次序和旨意來管理祂的財富。就像這個故事以耶穌給門徒一項任務開始(上船,先渡到那邊去),上帝也給予我們與財富有關的行動方針。我們正處於一段旅程中,預先被告知我們將會遇到一些困難 :「我將這些事告訴你們,是要叫你們在我裡面有平安。在世上,你們有苦難;但你們可以放心,我已經勝了世界。」(約翰福音16章33節) 成為上帝財富的好管家,需要順服和信心。

我們需要一艘財務管理的「船」,讓它帶領我們安全地駛過偶爾動盪的經濟水域。按照管家的條件來看,我們的「船」是一種合乎聖經原則,且為個人設計的理財策略。它指引著我們的支出、儲蓄、投資和奉獻。每一個財務決策都應該源自我們的計劃,旨在確保我們在財務旅程結束時,能夠安全抵達目的地。

不同於彼得,我們需要留在我們的船上。不幸的是,許多基督徒甚至都沒有花時間建構他們的財務管理「船」。或者如果他們有一艘,也不總是堅守在其中。留在船上通常比處於翻攪的水域更加安全。

預期會有暴風雨來臨。耶穌的門徒事先知道水上很可能會遇到強烈的暴風。同樣地,你也知道在你的財務旅程中會遇到挑戰。這些挑戰可能會呈現多種形式,如失業、意外支出、健康的挫敗、經濟不景氣、金融市場低迷等。我們應該預見並為這些情況做好準備。

不要理會風暴,專注於基督。風暴可能讓我們感到害怕,並做出不適當的反應。我們應該留在我們的「船」上,並相信耶穌曾說過:「我總不撇下你,也不丟棄你」(希伯來書13章5節)

失敗並不是事件本身,只是對這個事件主觀的評斷。金融環境並不總是適當地提供正向的回饋。短期而言,我們可能在按照計劃執行時發生虧損,或者在計劃之外反而獲利。當發生這種情況時,我們可能會將「好」的行為視為失敗,而將「壞」的行為視為獎勵。對於任何財務上「失敗」的評斷,必須在我們為個人所設的計劃範圍內進行。無論當下的結果如何,與我們計劃一致的決策都是「勝利」。從長遠來看,堅持使用一個結構化、理性冷靜的策略做投資決策,將對我們有益。如果我們相信上帝的引導,那麼我們就已經成功了。

奧斯汀·普萊爾(Austin Pryor)擁有超過40年的投資顧問經驗,是《理智投資(Sound Mind Investing)》通訊和網站的創始人。他是《理智投資手冊(The Sound Mind Investing Handbook)》一書的作者,該書獲得了受人尊敬的基督教教師的支持,已售出超過10萬本。奧斯汀和他的妻子蘇西居住在肯塔基州的路易斯維爾。

挑戰思考
你是否有曾研讀聖經中,關於我們如何運用財務和物質資源的教導,管理上帝託付給我們的事物嗎?如果你還沒有這樣做,這個星期就向上帝禱告,請祂指引你找到能夠幫助你的人,理解有關管理我們金錢的聖經原則,包括我們的奉獻。你可能會對你所學習到的感到驚訝。

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多相關的內容,請參考下面的經文:
申命記8章18節
8:18你要記念耶和華你的神,因為得貨財的力量是他給你的,為要堅定他向你列祖起誓所立的約,像今日一樣。
歷代志上29章11-12節
29:11耶和華啊,尊大、能力、榮耀、強勝、威嚴都是你的;凡天上地下的都是你的;國度也是你的,並且你為至高,為萬有之首。
29:12豐富尊榮都從你而來,你也治理萬物。在你手裡有大能大力,使人尊大強盛都出於你。
箴言15章16節
15:16少有財寶,敬畏耶和華,強如多有財寶,煩亂不安。
箴言22章7、26-27節
22:7富戶管轄窮人;欠債的是債主的僕人。
22:26不要與人擊掌,不要為欠債的作保。
22:27你若沒有什麼償還,何必使人奪去你睡臥的床呢?
箴言30章8-9節
30:8求你使虛假和謊言遠離我;使我也不貧窮也不富足;賜給我需用的飲食,
30:9恐怕我飽足不認你,說:耶和華是誰呢?又恐怕我貧窮就偷竊,以致褻瀆我神的名。
路加福音6章38節
6:38你們要給人,就必有給你們的,並且用十足的升斗,連搖帶按,上尖下流的倒在你們懷裡;因為你們用什麼量器量給人,也必用什麼量器量給你們。

反省與問題討論
第一、你是否熟悉有關門徒彼得在風暴中離開船隻,走向耶穌的故事?當你想到那個聖經故事時,你腦海中浮現了什麼想法?你認為你會如此的大膽嗎?
第二、你認為為什麼作者建議,儘管我們應該要離開我們的「舒適圈」,並在跟隨耶穌基督時要大膽,但在成為上帝財富的管家方面,大膽和衝動卻並不總是一個好主意呢?
第三、當你遇到各種形式的財務困難時,你通常會如何應對呢?在這樣的時候,你會在哪裡尋求建議或諮詢呢?
第四、當你讀到耶穌的應許說我總不撇下你,也不丟棄你」時,這讓你有什麼感覺?你認為這樣的確據如何應用於我們的財務狀況?

 

 

MONDAY MANNA
February 19, 2024

TO ARRIVE SAFELY, IT IS WISE TO STAY IN THE BOAT
By Austin Pryor

Even in the so-called secular business and professional world, the Bible has much to teach us. For instance, Matthew 14 recounts a time Jesus walked on water while His disciples were in a storm-tossed boat. One of them, Peter, ever the enthusiast, wanted to join Him. So, Jesus invited him to “come.” For the first few steps, all went well for Peter. But then he noticed the wind, became fearful, began to sink, and cried out for Jesus to save him. As He did so, Jesus admonished Peter for having too little faith.

This story is a vivid call for all Christ-followers to leave our “comfort zones” and live boldly. In terms of financial investing, however, boldness is not always the best approach. Here are some reasons why managers of God’s resources usually are better served by staying on board. 

Stewardship, managing God’s wealth with His priorities and purposes in mind, is an assignment given every Christ-follower. Just as this story begins with Jesus giving His disciples an assignment (“Get into the boat and go ahead of Me to the other side”), God gives us wealth-related marching orders. We are on a journey during which we are forewarned we will encounter our share of trouble. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Being a good steward of God’s resources requires obedience and faith.
 

We need an investing ‘boat’ that will carry us safely across occasionally turbulent economic waters. In stewardship terms, our boat is a biblically sound, personalized money-management strategy. It guides our spending, saving, investing, and generosity. Every financial decision should flow from our plan, designed to assure our safe arrival at the end of our financial journey.
 

Unlike Peter, we need to stay in our boat. Unfortunately, many followers of Jesus do not even take the time to build their financial “boat.” Or if they have one, they do not always stay in it. Being in the boat is usually a lot safer than being in churning waters.
 

Expect the wind and storms. Jesus’ disciples knew ahead of time that heavy headwinds on the water were a possibility, if not a likelihood. In the same way, you know there will be challenges on your financial journey. These challenges can take many forms — unemployment, unexpected expenses, health setbacks, a bad economy, weak financial markets. We should anticipate and plan for them.
 

Ignore the wind and focus on Christ. The wind can cause us to grow fearful and react inappropriately. We should stay in our “boat, and trust the One who has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
 
Failure is not an event, but rather a judgment about an event. The financial environment does not always offer positive reinforcement. Over the short term, we can lose money following our plan, or we can make money deviating from it. When this happens, we might see “good” behavior as a failure and “bad” behavior as being rewarded. The judgment we make about any financial “failure” must be made within the context of our personalized plan. Decisions consistent with our plan are “wins,” regardless of the immediate outcome. Over the long term, staying with a structured, unemotional strategy for making investment decisions will serve us well. If we are trusting God for direction, we have succeeded.
 
Austin Pryor has more than 40 years of experience advising investors and is the founder of the Sound Mind Investing newsletter and website. He is the author of The Sound Mind Investing Handbook, endorsed by many respected Christian teachers, with more than 100,000 copies sold. Austin lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife Susie.

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Reflection/Discussion Questions

 
1.Are you familiar with the story about the disciple Peter stepping out of the boat on a stormy sea to walk toward Jesus? When you think about that biblical account, what thoughts come to your mind? Do you think you would have been so bold?


 
2.Why do you think Mr. Pryor recommends that while we should be willing to leave our “comfort zone” and be bold as we follow Jesus Christ, but in terms of being stewards of God’s resources, boldness and impulsiveness is not always such a good idea?



3.How do you typically respond when you encounter financial difficulties in any of their various forms? Where do you go for advice or counsel at such times?


 
4.When you read Jesus’ promise that “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” how does that make you feel? How do you think this assurance applies to our financial situations?    




NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Proverbs 15:16, 22:7,26-27, 30:8-9; Luke 6:38

Challenge

Have you ever studied what the Bible teaches about how we use our financial and material resources, ultimately the things God entrusts to us as stewards? If you have not, this week pray for God to direct you to someone who can help you to understand biblical principles about managing our money, including our charitable giving. You will probably be amazed by what you learn.