I was listening to a speaker this past week and I heard something rather notable. While talking about business ethics from a Christian perspective, he said something like, “Christians seem to struggle with making ethical business decisions like everyone else— especially when they try to find a verse in the Bible that fits their circumstances. This approach often leads to a decision that mirrors what the world does. Instead, Christians should refrain from trying to find one or two verses that speak to the specific decision before them. Rather, they should use the Bible as a whole to determine what their core values are. Once they know what they truly value, what is most important in their lives— the decision making process is rather short. The biggest challenge for a Christian using this process is not in deciding what to do, instead it becomes taking the necessary steps to honor their values.”
His words made me wonder, what are my values? As a Christian I know that God created everything, I know he loves me, and I know he wants only good for me. The best “good” possible is being in a right relationship with Him for eternity. Because this is what God want’s, He provided His Word, the book we call the Bible. He revealed Himself to us, told us how to live, showed us examples of good living, showed us examples of bad living, and clearly outlined the consequences of each. So the first, number one, most important thing that I value is keeping my relationship right with God as best as I can. (Of course, without God’s grace, mercy and the sacrifice of Jesus, nothing I can do can keep it right.) This matches what Jesus declared as the greatest and most important command, “Love the Lord your God” (Matthew 22:37). As I am sure most have you have already guessed, my second most important thing that I value is loving others. Jesus says this second command is “like the first”. He says I am to “Love my neighbor as myself” (Matthew 22:40).
Knowing that I value love, makes most decisions easy. If any of my options are not consistent with loving God or loving others—then it is not an option, and I must decide on another option. This means the only hard decisions left for me are things like: I only have a $20 bill in my pocket and I am faced with a special one-time only opportunity to give…do I give the money to support a missionary preaching the Gospel or to a Christian orphanage? I have a free hour this afternoon with no responsibilities and nothing to do…do I go visit one of our shut-ins or spend the hour in personal Bible study. Tough choices…but maybe not so tough, because either of these choices affirms what I value.