For many years in Cincinnati, we’ve had a program welcoming China scholars, mostly doctors and professors who came to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for several months training and observership. One of the more dramatic welcoming gestures is organized by a restauranteur, who personally picks the scholars up from the airport, and most impressively gives them two or three days of Chinese food from his fine restaurant. For scholars who may have traveled by plane for 24 hours to land in Cincinnati, who have been deprived of delicious Chinese food during that time, it is nearly a shocking welcome. But a perfect welcome, since not eating for more than a few hours already seems like a major deprivation to most Asians! And to have no Chinese food for 24 hours, for some, is quasi torture!
在辛辛那提的很多年里，我们都有一个欢迎中国学者的项目，大部分是来辛辛那提儿童医院培训、参观访学几个月的医生和教授。 最重要的一个欢迎举动是由一个餐馆老板组织的。 他亲自去机场接机， 并且还从自己的饭店给学者拿两三天的中餐。对于坐24小时的飞机来到辛辛那提的学者们来说，这些中餐是令人震惊的欢迎。因为几个小时不吃东西对大多数亚洲人已经是剥夺了！24小时都没有中餐，对一些学者来说，准是折磨啊！
But this great welcome always raises many questions, like “why are you doing this?” “Are you paid for doing this?” “What’s the advantage for you?” In short, the question is really “What Is Your ulterior motive?”
And we have a team of people who offer to drive the scholars around when they need help, such as for shopping. And we have welcome dinners, weekly dinners, even Korean dinners. “Who’s paying for this?” “Are you being paid for doing this?” And the weekly lectures and talks, and Cincinnati tours? “What’s going on here?”
Sometimes it is quite difficult to explain, that in the Christian faith, God loves us, unconditionally, and therefore because of that, we are actually touched by God to love others. So, what God gives us, we would like to give to others. It is like, the original ulterior motive is from God, who loves us, and in response to that love, we continue the love by spreading it.
有时候很难解释清楚， 在基督信仰中，神爱我们，并且无条件的，因为这样，我们也被神感动去爱别人。所以，上帝给我们的，我们也愿意给别人。 就像是，最初隐藏的动机是从神而来，神爱我们，回应这个爱，我们继续传播这个爱。
This might seem at first to contradict the more common Asian tradition of “gift exchange.” In normal life, we have been taught through many generations to always try to return a gift, so a gift traditionally obligates you to returning the gift in some manner. So, when you boil down the essence of giving a gift, it isn’t just giving the gift away; it really is designed to be an “exchange” of gifts. Meaning that if you get a gift, but you don’t return something, you will feel the pressure of an obligation, sometimes for a very long time. I once got a call from an aunt, who mentioned a favor that she had done to my father fifty years ago, which I had no way of verifying since my father had passed away. But because of that favor she felt she gave to my father decades ago, she expected that I return the favor now. So historically, gifts do seem to come with a tail, with an expectation, and with consequences. If I return a gift that is not considered equivalent to the original gift, it could be considered as an insult, in a sense demeaning the original gift. And if I wait too long in returning the gift, I could be considered an ingrate.
这可能第一眼看起来和更常见的亚洲人传统习惯“礼物交换”相悖。在日程生活中，我们代代相传的教导是总要尽力去回礼，所以一个礼物通常也要求你用某种方式回礼。 所以，当你把给礼物的本质归结起来，它不只是把礼物送走; 它真的是被精心设计成一个“交换”礼物。 这意味着如果你得到一个礼物，但你不返回什么东西，你会感到一种有义务的压力，有时还会持续很长一段时间。 我曾经接到过一个阿姨的电话，她提到了她五十年前给我父亲帮的一个忙，我也没有办法证实因为父亲已经去世了。 但是，她觉的因为她几十年前给我父亲帮过忙，她认为我现在应该还回来。 所以在历史上，礼物似乎和一些故事，一个期待甚至后果相伴而来。 如果我的回礼不等同于最初的礼物，那么它可以被认为是一种侮辱，在某种意义上贬低了最初的礼物。 如果我等太长时间才回礼，我可能被认为是一个不知恩的人。
This applies especially to religious situations, where we have been taught to go to the temple to give to the idols, so that the idols will give back a gift, with the expectation that it will be an even better gift. This would then be a great investment, and the best form of gift exchange. So, to receive a gift with “no strings attached” seems strange and in a sense intimidating, and could make someone think “what are you expecting from me,” and “now I am obligated to you,” especially if it is a very nice gift.
这尤其适用于宗教情境，我们被教导去寺庙给偶像献礼，那么偶像就会回馈一份礼物，通常预计它将是一个更好的礼物。 这将是一个高回报的投资，礼物交换的最好形式。 所以，收到一个“没有附加条件”的礼物看起来很奇怪，在某种意义上甚至是一种恐吓，会让人觉得“你期望从我这里得到什么”和“现在我欠你的了”，尤其是当它是一个非常 不错的礼物的时候。
So, when I usually explain this “inverted logic” in our faith, I like to emphasize that when God gives us a gift, we don’t need to feel obligated to return the gift, like a gift exchange; it is a one-way gift. But if we really want to “do something” after getting the gift, we can always give it to the next person! So that the gift keeps going on and on, in the one direction, with no need or no expectation that we have to swap gifts back and forth. That way the gift can be received graciously with no intimidation, and we have the free will to pass it on. Isn’t that wonderful!?
所以，通常当我解释在我们的信仰中这个“颠倒常理的逻辑”时，我想强调，当神给我们一个礼物时，我们不需要感到有义务像礼物交换一样回礼; 它是一种单向的礼物。 但如果我们真的想在得到礼物后“做点什么”，我们总是可以把它给下一个人！ 所以礼物在不断地单向传递，没有必要也不要期望我们要来回交换礼物。 这样礼物可以放宽心地接受，没有害怕，担心，我们也可以自由的传递它。 那不是很精彩吗！
But wait, you say. Isn’t our final “ulterior motive” to introduce Jesus to everyone? Of course, that’s true. And we would do that anyway, gift or no gift. With or without helping anyone. It’s a way of life for many believers, because we have found something so precious that we want to share that with as many friends as possible. But we really believe that that is a noble motive. Since if we know we have something good, why are we keeping it to ourselves? We definitely should share it with others. But it is a free country that we live in, and everyone has a freedom to choose. And freedom to choose is part of our faith. So, we really believe it is a win-win situation. We get to pass on the love from God, with no strings attached. And if some people would like to also believe in the faith, that’s a bonus.
但等一下，读者可能会问，我们最终“隐藏的动机”不是把耶稣介绍给每一个人吗？当然这是真的。 并且无论我们有没有送礼物，是不是帮助别人，我们都要传讲耶稣。 这是很多信徒的生活方式， 因为如果我们发现了如此宝贵的东西，我们希望与尽可能多的朋友分享。 而且我们真的相信，这是一个高尚的动机。 因为如果我们知道我们有好东西，为什么我们自己守着它呢？ 我们当然应该与他人分享。 但我们生活在一个自由的国家，每个人都有选择的自由。 选择的自由也是我们信仰的一部分。 所以，我们真的相信这是一个双赢的局面。 我们要传递从上帝而来的爱，没有任何附加条件。 如果有些人也愿意相信这个信仰，这是一个额外的奖励。
Catch the blessing, pass it on and spread the love cheerfully! It is definitely in the bible.