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Monday, January 27, 2014

Pastorgraphs: “The Value of Values”

E-Vangel Newsletter
January 27, 2014
[Pastorgraphs now online at]

Pastorgraphs: “The Value of Values”

“Happy are those who find wisdom
    and those who gain understanding.
Her profit is better than silver,
    and her gain better than gold.
Her value exceeds pearls;
    all you desire can’t compare with her.”
(Proverbs 3:13-15)

Last week, Warren Buffett said he would pay you $1 billion. All you have to do is perfectly predict the winners of every college basketball game in this year’s “March Madness” tournament. That’s where about 64 teams make the playoffs and start playing each other until only one team is left. The last team standing is the national champion.

While it is reasonable to predict the eventual winner (it will be the Duke Methodists this year), to correctly predict the exact path of every team in the tournament defies 1 in 9.2 quintillion odds. Mr. Buffet is not losing sleep over the possibility of losing his billion dollars. But heck, go ahead and try. And if you win, please “tithe” to Christ Ministry Center of San Diego.

An employment expert once calculated American businesses lose $1.7 billion in productivity during March Madness. Workers play office pools, often fill out their brackets on company computers and watch the games over the internet on company time.

So I feel pretty confident in saying Americans spend more time, money and energy in e-VALUE-ating sports teams than they do their own VALUES.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a Pastorgraph about wisdom. Last week, I wrote about thinking and beliefs. There is a pattern here. You don’t just suddenly wake up one morning with wisdom.

·       The first step toward wisdom is “getting your head screwed on right”. That is, getting your thinking (beliefs) straightened out.
·       The next step is to order your beliefs into values.

You hear a lot about values (“family values”, “core values”, “old fashioned values”), but do you really know what your values are? And why should you even care? Hypocrisy, the opposite of integrity, occurs when you say you believe one thing but value or do the opposite thing. For example, many people say they believe in “family values”, but never spend time with family.

Values are important, so I offer:

Seven Secrets About Your Values

1.          Your Values Impact Every Aspect of Your Life.  Knowing your personal values is extremely important because your values influence and shape everything about your life, (even if you cannot name them all). Your values establish a firm foundation for the criteria by which you establish worth to everything in your life, including people, ideas, activities, and money. 
2.          Your Values Express What is Important to You. A good simple definition of values is “the things you like, and the order in which you like them”. So values are not just what you “like”. A good indication of what you truly value is where you spend your time and money.
3.          Your Values Expose Your Priorities. Someone wisely said, “Show me your checkbook and I will tell you what your values are!” Often values conflict with each other. For instance, you want to save money, but you want a better car. How you deal with such conflicts expresses your priorities.
4.          Your Values Shape Your Sense of Right and Wrong. That is why you must start with what you believe before you can adequately deal with what you value. In a “live-and-let-live” world we have been convinced that deciding right from wrong is “being judgmental”. Sorry, but to be a person of ethics and integrity, you cannot avoid deciding what is right and wrong for you. That doesn’t mean you judge others. Personal values provide an internal reference for what is right, beneficial, important and useful in life.
5.          Your Values Reveal Who You Believe You Ought to Be. Values reveal who you believe you “ought” to be. This “oughtness” is an essential aspect of ethics. Your values help design the plan of your whole life. Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a person of success but rather try to become a person of value.”
6.          Your Values Show What You Ought to Do. You cannot escape your responsibilities and obligations if you know what you value. If you find you are not following your values in life, you have the ability to change what you are doing, or not doing.
7.          Your Values Determine Your Choices. Values guide decisions. Your list of values becomes a resource to evaluate any decision with confidence by asking yourself: “What should I do in this situation if these are my guiding values in life?” If you apply this method to every area of your life, you will surely see your life becoming more aligned with your values.

So how do you determine your values? Use the model of a basketball tournament bracket. List the top things you value. Then place them into the first round of the bracket, and stage a playoff for each pairing. Ask yourself if you had to select just one of the two, which would it be? The winner advances to the next round. Continue until you have just one value. That is what you value most. You will know what is most important to you, and the order of those important things.

You might find, as Proverbs says, that finding your values is worth more than pearls, silver, gold, and even Mr. Buffet’s billion dollars.

Devotedly yours, Bill Jenkins

From the Quote Garden:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

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