What are your core values? To help you think about it, here’s a illustration developed by James Newman in Releasing You Brakes!
Suppose I come to your house with a 120’ I-beam and lay it across your front yard. When you come out, I wave a $100 bill and say if you can cross from one end to the other in less than 2 minutes, I’ll give you the $100. Would you do it? Why not? What have you got to lose?
However, suppose that I-beam is stretched across 2 skyscrapers in NYC, 1300’ above the ground. Would you cross for $100? I doubt it. Why? You value your life more than a measly $100.
Now, let’s change the scenario again. Suppose I kidnap your 2-year-old daughter and hold her over the edge of the I-Beam 1300’ above the ground. Then I say, “If you don’t cross that I-Beam, I’’ll drop her! Hyrum Smith says he used that illustration many times in seminars and 99 times out of 100, people say they will cross. Why? They value the life of their child. They love their child.
While the illustration of the I-Beam is pretty heavy, it presents a powerful principle. What would you cross the I-Beam for? What do you value? What matters most?
Here are 5 questions to consider as you evaluate and contemplate what you value.
(1) Do your values give glory and honor to God?
We are commanded to live in a way that honors God. Our behavior among unbelievers should complement our Christian profession. Peter put it this way:
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Pet 2:11-12)
(2) Do your values bless and benefit the lives of other people?
A universally held value is the Golden Rule–Treat other people the way you want to be treated. (Matt 7:12). Living by this value demonstrates deference to others. Acknowledges our respect for human dignity. And blesses others. Coupled with the second great commandment, “love your neighbor as yourself, living by these values will make a difference in our relationships.
(3) Do your values deal with moral and ethical choices honestly?
Value driven Christians understand sin and are honest about dealing with it. The Bible teaches that all unrighteousness is sin (1 Jn 5:17). Lawlessness is sin ( I Jn. 3:4). Failure to do good when we know what is right is sin (Jas 4:17). And violating one’s conscience is sin (Rom. 14:23).
When these principles are properly applied in our business dealings, social relationships, recreational choices and family commitments, our values will be honored.
(4) Do your values provide your life with meaning, purpose and significance?
Values give us a reason for living. A meaning to our existence. Values direct us as we make choices. They guide us through difficult decisions. They guard us from improper impulses and harmful actions.
A close communion with God, a belief in Jesus as the Son of God and a commitment to the Bible as the Word of God, will equip us to live a purpose-driven life.
(5) Do your values transcend this life?
This value speaks to your world view. Are you other world focused? Do your values have impact beyond this life? Do they answer the big questions of life: What is my origin? Why am I here? Where am I going?
Value driven Christians know the answers to these questions. And they know “this world is not my home. I’m just a passing through.”
Peter Hirsch was right, “Your values are what makes you tick. Your values are the seat and source of your wants and desires.”
So, what would you walk the I-beam for?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman