By Robert D. Foster
歌劇作曲家威爾第（Giuseppe Verdi）生平中有一個故事是關於有一晚他在義大利米蘭的斯卡拉歌劇院（La Scala）舉辦鋼琴獨奏會。當他演奏完最後一曲，熱情欣賞他演奏的聽眾要求再奏一曲。威爾第渴望掌聲，就選擇一首音量大且有許多裝飾音的作品，他知道這會使聽眾興奮、激動，雖然那首曲子就藝術專業而言，是次級的音樂。
我們如何克服驕傲與自我中心的陷阱呢？請思想彼得前書5章5-6節：「就是你們眾人也都要以謙卑束腰，彼此順服；因為 神阻擋驕傲的人，賜恩給謙卑的人。所以，你們要自卑，服在 神大能的手下，到了時候，他必叫你們升高。」
省思 / 討論問題
你可否想到有一次當你──或你認識的某個人──用了不尋常的方法去得到別人的注意和認可？請描述那是怎樣的情況。 在工商專業界，人們若尋求滿足自我，會有哪些負面效果？ 尋求滿足自我一定都是不好的事嗎？請解釋。 根據彼得前書5章5-6節，對抗驕傲和自我中心之試探的方法是謙虛和願意順服上帝。根據你的經驗，這麼做有多容易（或多困難）？註：若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文，請看： 箴言11章2節，15章33節，16章5節，16章18-19節，18章12節，21章24節，22章4節；腓立比書2章3-4節；雅各書4章10節
AFFLICTED BY THE “VERDI VIRUS”?
By Robert D. Foster
From the life of the operatic composer Giuseppe Verdi comes the story of one night when he performed a piano recital at La Scala in Milan, Italy. After his final piece, the appreciative audience demanded an encore. Verdi, hungry for applause, chose a loud and frilly composition he knew would thrill the audience, even though it was, artistically speaking, inferior music.
When he finished, the crowd stood again, roaring its approval. Verdi basked in the extended applause – until he saw his lifelong mentor in the balcony who knew exactly what Verdi had done. His mentor neither stood with the crowd nor applauded. On his face was a pained expression of disappointment. Verdi could almost hear his mentor saying, "Verdi, Verdi, how could you do that?"
We could call this the “Verdi Virus” – the desire to control, the need to be approved. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche described it this way: "Whenever I climb, I am followed by a dog named Ego." The ego swells when it is showered with praise. It craves power and success. And it is never satisfied with how much of these things it gets.
This problem is all too common, even in the so-called modern, sophisticated business and professional world. Men and women striving for attention, craving adulation, maneuvering for control to enforce the power of their wills. Almost every day we read or hear about leaders succumbing to the temptations of hungry egos.
Such attitudes, of course, are hardly new. Egocentricity is as old as the Bible. Here are just a few of the examples it presents:
Love for preeminence. In 3 John 9-11 it describes Diotrephes, “who loves to be first,” or as it says in another translation, he was "ambitious for the place of first distinction." Ambition for prestige and control often leads to adoration, deserved or not, and no small amount of intimidating influence.
Insistence on doing things our way. In the Old Testament, Numbers 22-24, we read about Balaam, who was the only Gentile prophet of the true God identified in the Bible. He obeyed God to a degree, but his heart went with the leadership of Balak, who opposed the Israelites. Balaam desired to obey God, but ultimately yielded to the temptation of gold. He had a head full of spiritual light, but a heart that was dark. Often the Lord permits us to do things we insist on doing, even if they are wrong. We want to do them. We push to do them. We even pray to do them. “Lord, why can I not have it?"
Defiance against truth and wisdom. In 2 Chronicles 10-12 we find the story of Rehoboam, the insolent son of King Solomon. Rehoboam presumed his family legacy and power he inherited would cause the people to yield to his whims. However, having neither political wisdom nor an accurate understanding of his father”s trust in God, Rehoboam died proud and foolish at the age of 58. "And he did evil, because he never did decide really to please the Lord" (2 Chronicles 12:14).
How can we overcome pitfalls of pride and ego? Consider 1 Peter 5:5-6: “…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God”s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
Robert D. Foster is the founder of Lost Valley Ranch near Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A. A businessman and author of weekly business-related meditations for more than 50 years, he now resides in California.
Can you think of a time when you – or someone you know – went to unusual measures to receive the attention and approval of others? Describe what that situation was like. What are some of the negative effects of people seeking to feed their egos in the business and professional world? Is seeking to satisfy the demands of one”s ego always a bad thing to do? Explain your answer. The antidote to the temptations of pride and ego, according to 1 Peter 5:5-6, is humility and a willingness to submit to God. How easy (or difficult) is that to do, in your experience?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:2, 15:33, 16:5, 16:18-19, 18:12, 21:24, 22:4; Philippians 2:3-4; James 4:10