無論你是對神有堅強信心的人、初信者或甚至是懷疑論者，你怎麼看待「以對神的順服交換神對我們的信實」這樣的想法? 你是否曾經像本文作者一樣，認為神會獎賞你所做的，就是那些根據聖經教導而你正在做的事? 假如你能停下腳步，做個人的盤點，列下在你無能為力時發生在你生命的美善事情，你的清單會是如何的? 你覺得是否該將這些重大的發展歸功於神? 你是否發現自己對於「積存在地上的財寶」而不是「積存在天上的財寶」一事感到有罪惡感? 解釋你的答案。
QUESTIONING GOD”S FAITHFULNESS
By: Jim Mathis
Have you ever had the feeling that you have been faithful and obedient to God, but for whatever reason He was not returning the favor? Admittedly, that was how I had been feeling for several years. I would pray and try to do what I believed God was calling me to do, but the fruits of my labors were not matching up with what I had been expecting. Everything was too hard, and the results were too small.
One day when I expressed my frustrations to my wife, she suggested we write down some of the ways God has been faithful to us over the past 10 years or so. Specifically, she suggested I list things out of my control that had occurred, things that showed God working in my life.
As my list grew to 10 specific things, I saw an obvious pattern. Nine out of the 10 were linked to people and relationships. Most of the instances where I saw God at work involved His bringing people into my life that I had not expected. He introduced me to new friends in unusual ways; guided me to people that would help to solve problems, and brought people who would encourage and teach me at just the right time.
For example, I have always had a desire to sing, but when I would try, I never received much encouragement. Obviously, I was not very good. One day my wife suggested I consider hiring a voice coach. I few days later I met someone who was an outstanding singer. Almost without thinking, I asked if she gave vocal lessons. I started singing lessons the next week. She proved to be an excellent teacher and three years later, I am no longer hesitant to sing in public – and often receive warm compliments. God brought exactly the right person into my life at the right time to fulfill the desire of my heart.
During the seven years that I managed a coffeehouse, people would often ask where we found all the wonderful staff. I would honestly have to admit that God had brought in just the right people at the right time. We could not have been smart enough to make those hiring choices ourselves.
Other highlights of the past few years have had to do with God leading special people my way at just the right time. I play in a band that strives to communicate a biblically based message. God has orchestrated bringing each member of our group together at the right time in our careers so He would be glorified.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I believe ultimately the “treasures in heaven” are our relationships, friendships, and things we have done to reach out to those around us with the love of Jesus Christ.
In every instance, my frustration with God related to material concerns, things that I knew were only temporary in nature – treasures on earth. His work involved permanent things like people, relationships, and truth.
God”s priorities are people; to Him, material things are only secondary at best. I knew God provides all our needs, but was still expecting to be rewarded with luxuries – the result was my frustration. The long list of wonderful people in my life makes me embarrassed to have ever doubted God”s love and faithfulness to me.
Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.
Whether you are a strong believer in God, someone new to faith, or even a skeptic, what is your response to this idea of God”s faithfulness to us in exchange for our obedience to Him? Have you ever felt, like Jim Mathis, that God should be rewarding you for your actions, the things you are doing in light of what the Bible teaches? If you were to stop and take a personal inventory, listing positive things that have occurred in your life over which you had no control, what would your list look like? Do you think God should be credited for these significant developments in your life? Why or why not? Do you ever find yourself guilty of “storing up treasures on earth,” rather than “storing up treasures in heaven,” as Jesus taught? Explain your answer.If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages:
Psalm 37:4-5; Proverbs 16:3,9, 24:4; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 6:25-34