“We don’t do what we believe in; we do what we value.”
That statement has stuck with me for over twenty years. It was spoken by our adjunct professor in my first doctoral seminar in 1994. Here was his point: Often, when we say we believe in something, what we mean is that we agree with it in principle.
We believe in honesty until a “little white lie” gets us out of a jam. We believe in living within our means until we see something shiny that’s on sale for a limited time only. We believe in God but can’t really bring ourselves to surrender our lives to Him. I could go on and on, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
What we truly value, on the other hand, is not demonstrated in our statements, but by our actions. If I say I value something, but don’t truly invest myself in doing it, I don’t really value it; I simply believe in it.
I don’t know when the term “core values” first came into vogue, but it has been popular for some time for businesses, organizations (including churches), and even individuals to identify their core values.
According to businessdictionary.com: A core value is “A principle that guides an organization’s internal conduct as well as its relationship with the external world. Core values are usually summarized in the mission statement or in a statement of core values.”
Not long ago, I spent two days in a LifePlanning process. As a part of that, I identified four core values by which I intend to operate in the world. I am sharing two of them with you this week and two of them next week.
I share them as (1) an explanation of why I communicate the way I do, (2) permission for you to call me out if I violate them, and (3) an example to challenge you to consider your own core values.
Core Value #1 – “Gospel” means “good news.” Part of my calling is to proclaim (sometimes speak, sometimes write, sometimes demonstrate) the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is incredibly important for me to remember that the word “gospel” literally means “good message or news.” That why I’m not big on whining, criticism, or getting sucked into politics. I must demonstrate this core value by not being a jerk and by living joyfully.
Core Value #2 – Focus on the road ahead. I believe there is always something new and amazing over the next hill and around the next corner. To make that belief a value, I must demonstrate this value by being completely present wherever I am and constantly learning something that will prepare me for the next step.
Your core values will be different from mine. You may even disagree with mine. You may even want to argue with mine. (It would be pointless, but you could do it). I’m actually not very concerned about what you think of mine. I would, however, love to hear about yours.
Why? Because our lives and our values matter to God and we are on this amazing journey of life together.
To share your thoughts on core values:
- Comment below to share them with me publicly.
- To share them with me privately, Email contactgerrylewis.com