所有好領導者都會有瘸腿──ALL GOOD LEADERS HAVE A LIMP

MONDAY MANNA

也許你很熟悉聖經舊約中《創世記》第三十二章的故事:雅各在成為以色列國的族長之前,獨自在夜裡遇到一名「神秘人」,兩人摔跤了好幾個小時。黎明將至前,神的使者將他的大腿窩摸了一把,雅各就被打敗了。但是神的使者仍祝福雅各,而雅各的腿從那天開始就瘸了。在此之前,雅各總是能找到可以勝出的辦法。但現在他遇到了一個無法擊敗的對手。雅各被破碎了——他卻也因此變得更好了。

何謂瘸腿?在過去三十年訓練主管的經驗中,我花了很多時間陪伴像雅各一樣始終使自己勝出的人。但接連的勝利會讓我們把過多的信心跟倚賴放在錯誤的人——「我們自己」身上。我注意到最傑出的領袖們卻有另一個特徵——瘸腿,這是他們與上帝摔角輸了後留下的印記。

靈性上、情感上、心理上,甚至有時是身體上的瘸腿,讓我們知道自己不是生命的最高掌權者。越早知道自己並非全知、全能且未臻完美,就越好。我的一位朋友說,所有人最關鍵的生命議題就是:「誰掌權?」雅各曾與上帝角力,爭奪生命的掌管權。他花了很多年的時間掌控自己的人生,似乎也非常成功。雅各和大多數的人(即便他們不願承認)一樣,表現得彷彿自己不需要上帝。

與上帝角力。你或許也花了很多年來贏取生命中的一切,然後突然之間,一切都煙消雲散:也許,就像我幾年前的經驗,你身患重病,讓你感到即將不久於世,或者,你花了好幾個月設計的企業策略失敗了。你夢寐以求的角落辦公室被分配給了其他人。你比任何人都更努力工作,卻並未被選入心目中的夢幻團隊。你的婚姻或孩子發展得不如預期。換句話說,某些事情打破了你前進的動力。

談到誰能掌權時,我們總是要與全能神角力。與上帝角力就會瘸腿,因為上帝決心要贏。祂也一定得勝。

為什麼我們需要瘸腿?瘸腿會導致兩個結果:人性(Humanity)和謙卑(Humility)。這兩件事是綁在一起的,當我們失去其中任何一件時,壞事就會發生。例如,脫離人性時,人們會表現的好像自己是超人一樣,說到這裡,我們可能會聯想到一些運動員、電影明星、傳教士、企業主和執行長,但這也可能發生在我們每一個人身上。

瘸腿的第二個副產品是謙卑。你總是可以在與上帝角力輸了的人身上發現它。這其實是一件好事,因為直到我們與上帝角力,我們才可以避免挑戰自己的人性。與上帝角力並經歷破碎的經驗無可取代。

「破碎」聽起來很糟糕,好像我們出了什麼問題。但是破碎有沒有可能是件好事?畢竟,聖經經常談到破碎和軟弱是上帝光照的地方。正如詩篇51篇17節所說:「神所要的祭就是憂傷的靈; 神啊,憂傷痛悔的心,你必不輕看。」我認識的最偉大的領袖都有瘸腿。他們明白自己不過是人,謙卑而行。經歷過失敗、沮喪和無數風雨後,他們知道神掌權。

史帝芬R. 格里夫氏博士(Dr. Stephen R. Graves)把自己描述為組織戰略家、實用神學家和社會資本家。他為高級主管、企業主以及年輕企業家提供諮詢服務。同時也是眾多書籍、文章的作者,和一位大眾演說家。他的網站是www.stephenrgraves.com

反省與問題討論

  1. 你認識有肢體障礙的人嗎?這個障礙對那個人造成了什麼影響?
  2. 作者所說的「瘸腿(靈性上、情感上、心理上)」是什麼意思?你自己,或是你認識的人有這樣的「瘸腿」嗎?這對當事人有什麼影響?
  3. 你曾否與上帝角力過?也許那是你現在正在做的事情。那是什麼感覺呢?
  4. 第與上帝角力導致的瘸腿,如何能正面影響我們的生命?

備註:如果你手上有聖經,想閱讀更多的經文,請參考以下內容:

詩篇6篇1-3節
6:1 耶和華啊,求你不要在怒中責備我,也不要在烈怒中懲罰我!
6:2 耶和華啊,求你可憐我,因為我軟弱。耶和華啊,求你醫治我,因為我的骨頭發戰。
6:3 我心也大大地驚惶。耶和華啊,你要到幾時才救我呢?
以賽亞書40章29-31節
40:29 疲乏的,他賜能力;軟弱的,他加力量。
40:30 就是少年人也要疲乏困倦;強壯的也必全然跌倒。
40:31 但那等候耶和華的必重新得力。他們必如鷹展翅上騰;他們奔跑卻不困倦,行走卻不疲乏。
哥林多前書1章27-31節
1:27  神卻揀選了世上愚拙的,叫有智慧的羞愧;又揀選了世上軟弱的,叫那強壯的羞愧。
1:28  神也揀選了世上卑賤的,被人厭惡的,以及那無有的,為要廢掉那有的,
1:29 使一切有血氣的,在 神面前一個也不能自誇。
1:30 但你們得在基督耶穌裏是本乎 神, 神又使他成為我們的智慧、公義、聖潔、救贖。
1:31 如經上所記:「誇口的,當指著主誇口。」
哥林多前書9章24-27節
9:24 豈不知在場上賽跑的都跑,但得獎賞的只有一人?你們也當這樣跑,好叫你們得著獎賞。
9:25 凡較力爭勝的,諸事都有節制,他們不過是要得能壞的冠冕;我們卻是要得不能壞的冠冕。
9:26 所以,我奔跑不像無定向的;我鬥拳不像打空氣的。
9:27 我是攻克己身,叫身服我,恐怕我傳福音給別人,自己反被棄絕了。
哥林多後書12章7-10節
12:7 又恐怕我因所得的啟示甚大,就過於自高,所以有一根刺加在我肉體上,就是撒但的差役要攻擊我,免得我過於自高。
12:8 為這事,我三次求過主,叫這刺離開我。
12:9 他對我說:「我的恩典夠你用的,因為我的能力是在人的軟弱上顯得完全。」所以,我更喜歡誇自己的軟弱,好叫基督的能力覆庇我。
12:10 我為基督的緣故,就以軟弱、凌辱、急難、逼迫、困苦為可喜樂的;因我甚麼時候軟弱,甚麼時候就剛強了。


ALL GOOD LEADERS HAVE A LIMP

By Dr. Stephen R. Graves

Maybe you are familiar with the story in Genesis 32 in the Bible’s Old Testament. Alone for the night, Jacob, who would become the patriarch for the nation of Israel, was confronted by “a mysterious man,” and the two wrestled for hours. Toward the end of the night, the God-man touched Jacob’s hip, and Jacob was defeated. Nevertheless, the God-man blessed Jacob, and from that day on Jacob walked with a limp. Until this point, Jacob had always found a way to come out on top. But now he had come up against an opponent he could not beat. Jacob was broken – yet he was better because of it.

What is a limp? Over three decades of coaching executives, I have spent time with a lot of people who, like Jacob, keep coming out on top. But constantly winning can result in placing our confidence and certainty on the wrong person: ourselves. I have noticed another trait among the most remarkable leaders I have met. They carry a limp, a scar from getting in the ring with God – and losing.

A limp is the spiritual, emotional, mental, and even physical (at times) recognition that we are not the supreme agent of life. The faster I can learn that I do not know all, cannot do all, and am not completely the person I need to be, the better. A friend of mine says the key issue for every person is, “Who has the right to rule?” Jacob was wrestling with God over who was in charge. He had spent years ruling his own life, and it seemed to be working. He did most people will not admit about themselves – he acted as if he did not need God.

Wrestling with God. Perhaps you, too, spent years winning at everything in life and then, all of a sudden, it was gone: Maybe, as happened to me a couple years ago, you suffered an illness that reminded you of your mortality. Or the corporate strategy you spent months designing failed. The corner office you spent coveting was given to someone else. You did not make the team after working harder than anyone else. Your marriage or your kids did not turn out the way you planned. In other words, something broke your forward momentum.

When the issue is who has the right to rule, it always involves a wrestling match going up against the Almighty. A limp comes when you battle God, and God decides to win. As He always does.

Why do we need a limp? Two things are the results of a limp: humanity and humility. These two things are tied together, and bad things happen when we lose a grip on either one. We all know people who have lost touch with their humanity, who act as if they are superhuman. Athletes, movie stars, preachers, business owners, and CEOs come to mind, but it could happen to any one of us.

The second by-product of a limp is humility. You can always spot it in people who have wrestled with God and lost. This is actually a good thing, because until we wrestle with God, we can avoid having to confront our humanity. There is no substitute for wrestling with God and going the experience of being broken.

“Brokenness” sounds bad, as if something is wrong with us. But what if brokenness is a good thing? The Bible, after all, often talks about brokenness and weakness being the places where God shines through.

As Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” The greatest leaders I know have a limp. They have realized their humanity and walk in humility. Through defeat, disappointment, or any number of things, they have discovered who has the right to rule.

Dr. Stephen R. Graves is an organizational strategist, pragmatic theologian, and social capitalist. He advises executives and business owners, as well as young entrepreneurs. He is the author of numerous books and many articles, and a public speaker. His website is www.stephenrgraves.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1.  Do you know someone who has a physical limp? How does that affect that individual? 
  2. What about the type of “limp” Mr. Graves describes? Do you have one of those – or know of someone who does? What has been the effect of that? 
  3. Have you ever experienced wrestling with God? Perhaps that is something you are doing right now. What has that been like?
  4. How can a limp, resulting from wrestling with God, serve a positive benefit in our lives?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
Psalm 6:1-3; Isaiah 40:29-31; 1 Corinthians 1:27-31, 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10


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