在患難中維持信心

By Rick Boxx

在這個要求眼見為信,講究現實、利益的工商專業界,操練信心是有夠困難的。在經濟困境中尤其難有信心。最近的一個抵押詐欺案就提醒我這個真相。

借款人藉著購買低於市價的房屋,然後重新裝修,使房屋在可能的買主眼中看起來很吸引人,這樣借款人的企業就迅速成長。企業主盡量舉債去運用槓桿操作,借大筆金錢去盡量買進銀行准許的低價房屋。

然而,最後還是犯了錯。在某些房地產上,借款人作了不好的決定,重建的工程使其他的進度也落後,而這公司買進房屋的速度又比賣出的速度快。結果,有一些房地產還是賣不出去,消耗了借款人許多現金資源。

最後那借款人要作一個重要的決定:「我們是否要承認我們的問題,並且接受結果,或者我們要向放貸者說謊,然後把他們錢用到別的企劃案?」遺憾的是,恐懼戰勝他們的良心與信心,導致那公司走向詐欺,最終被控有罪。

在這個案例中,很可能在兩方面違反了信心。首先,即使所購買的房地產已貶值,那借款人還是進行比不穩定房地產市場更激進的操作。更可能的是,當風險顯然愈來愈高時,那借款人沒有認真地尋求上帝的引導。

第二,那借款人缺乏對上帝的信心,所以不敢面對坦白告訴銀行增加負債的結果。相反地,企業主選擇說謊,以為他們能夠藉著花更多錢來脫離債務。(這種情況聽起來熟悉嗎?)

他們其實可以避免詐欺和犯罪的結果,假如他們留意到詩篇23篇4節的應許:「我雖然行過死蔭的幽谷,也不怕遭害,因為你與我同在。」這應許提供了上帝是可被信靠的保證。

這節經文和整卷詩篇都是一位牧羊人所寫,他面對一個艱難的任務,要帶領他的羊經過黑暗可怕的道路,在那裡可能會遇到各種掠食者。經營一個房地產事業與牧羊是非常不同的,但原則是一樣的:在不確定或甚至危險的時候,耶穌的跟隨者需要信靠主。

另一處經文,腓立比書4章6-7節提供了一個簡單的應許:「應當一無掛慮,只要凡事藉著禱告、祈求,和感謝,將你們所要的告訴 神。神所賜、出人意外的平安必在基督耶穌裏保守你們的心懷意念。

那些買舊屋重新裝修再出售的企業主不相信這個確據。若你面對類似的兩難情況,我給你一個建議:選擇信心,而不是恐懼。

本文版權為正直資源中心(Integrity Resource Center, Inc.)所有。本文獲得授權改編自「瑞克.博克思的正直時刻Integrity Moments with Rich Boxx」。這系列的文章是以一個基督徒的觀點評論職場的正直議題。想要更多了解正直資源中心或想要收到電子文件的「瑞克每天的正直時刻Rick”s daily Integrity Moments」系列文章,請上網www.integrityresource.org。他的書「如何生意興隆而不犧牲正直」提供人們正直地作生意的方法。

省思 / 討論題目
在今日的工商界,通常都是根據損益、銷售量、無情的競爭以及不斷改變的經濟環境來作決定,你覺得要活出你的屬靈信心有多容易--或多困難? 若你是本文所提到那些房地產業者之一,你會受到什麼鼓勵去做出什麼行動?請解釋。 有些人主張,在順境中維持信心是相當容易的,但在患難時就非常困難。你如何回應這觀點? 新約腓立比書勸我們「應當一無掛慮,只要凡事藉著禱告、祈求,和感謝,將你們所要的告訴 神。」你是否曾經如此做?為何這麼做?或為何不這麼做?若你曾這麼做,結果是什麼?註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
詩篇1篇1-6節;37篇1-6節;箴言3章5-6節,10章9節,11章3節,13章6節,16章2-3、9節;馬太福音5章13-16節

KEEPING FAITH DURING ADVERSITY
By Rick Boxx

Practicing one”s faith in the pragmatic, bottom-line business and professional world, where seeing is believing, is difficult enough. Faith is especially hard to come by during times of economic adversity. A recent mortgage fraud case reminded me of this truth.

The borrower”s business grew rapidly by purchasing houses at below market prices and rehabbing them, making them more attractive to potential buyers. The business owners would leverage as much debt as possible, borrowing large amounts of money to acquire as many low-cost houses as the bank allowed.

Eventually, however, mistakes were made. The borrower made poor decisions on some properties; reconstruction work was slowed on others, and the company bought houses much faster than it could sell them. As a result, a number of the properties remained unsold, consuming much of the borrower”s available cash resources.

Eventually the borrowers had an important decision to make: “Do we admit our problem and accept the consequences, or do we lie to the lender and use their money on other projects?” Unfortunately, fear overcame their conscience and faith, leading the company into fraud and ultimately, criminal charges.

Faith, in all likelihood, was violated in two ways in this case. First, the borrower proceeded more aggressively than the unstable real estate market warranted, even with the devalued status of properties that were purchased. Most likely, the borrowers did not seriously consult God for guidance about whether to proceed when the growing risk became evident.

Second, the borrower lacked the faith to trust God with the outcome of being straight-forward with the bank about the increasing debt load. Instead, the owners of the company chose to lie and presume they could wriggle their way out of debt by spending more. (Does that scenario sound at all familiar?)

They might have avoided their fraud and the criminal consequences if they had heeded the promise of Psalm 23:4, which offers the assurance that God can be trusted when it says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me."

This verse and the entire psalm were written by a shepherd faced with the daunting task of guiding his sheep through dark, threatening passages where the animals might encounter predators of various kinds. Operating a real estate business is very different from shepherding sheep, but the principle remains the same: Followers of Jesus need to trust their Lord in times of uncertainty and even danger.

Another passage, Philippians 4:6-7, offers a similar promise: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The owners of the residential refurbishing business did not believe or act upon this assurance. If you are faced with a similar dilemma, I have a recommendation: Choose faith, not fear.

Copyright 2013, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
How easy – or difficult – do you find it to live out your spiritual faith in today”s marketplace, where decisions are often made according to bottom lines, sales quotas, ruthless competition, and ever-changing economic environments? If you had been one of the owners of the real estate company discussed in this “Monday Manna,” what course of action do you think you might have encouraged? Explain your answer. Some people would contend that remaining true to their faith is relatively simple during times of prosperity, but very difficult during times of adversity. How do you respond to this perspective? The passage from the New Testament book of Philippians advises not being anxious about anything, but in all things to submit prayers and petitions – with thanksgiving – to God. Have you ever done this? Why or why not? If you have, what has been the outcome?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Psalm 1:1-6; 37:1-6; Proverbs 3:5-6, 10:9, 11:3, 13:6, 16:2-3,9; Matthew 5:13-16

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