Recently I sat on a plane next to a man named John. Several months ago, John’s wife of 15 years left him for another man. She was his second wife. His first wife left him after 10 years of marriage for similar reasons. When I looked in his eyes, I saw a kind, confused man. I shared with John that the reasons his wives left him were not really about or because of him, they were about the emptiness in their hearts that marriage was not filling. After interacting with his ex-wives, John hears that neither of them is happy. As he described his current journey to see his girlfriend, it was obvious that he also is unfulfilled.
1 Timothy 4:7,8—But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, for, the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Values shape both our decisions and our destiny. You and I can learn and know much about each other by studying what we pursue. Every one of us has values. We may not be conscious of them but they are there. Norman Douglas said, “You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.” We are all walking advertisements! When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God’s instruction in the Garden of Eden, it was a decision made over values. They chose to take what Satan enticed them to have over keeping God’s dictum. They opted for knowledge of good and evil and in so doing died.
The problem of misplaced values is that we choose:
Good over best. Saint Augustine taught:
Sin arises when things that are a minor good are pursued as though they were goals in life. If money or affection or power are sought in disproportionate, obsessive ways, then sin occurs. And that sin is magnified when, for these lesser goals, we fail to pursue the highest good and the finest goals. So then we ask ourselves why, in a given situation, we committed a sin, the answer is usually one of two things. Either we wanted to obtain something we didn't have, or we feared losing something we had.
What is temporal over what is eternal. Thomas a Kempis once said, “For a little reward men make a long journey; for eternal life many will scarce lift a foot once from the ground.” Ted Koppel, the famous journalist wrote:
What is largely missing in American life today is a sense of context, of saying or doing anything that is intended or even expected to live beyond the moment. There is no culture in the world that is so obsessed as ours with immediacy. In our journalism, the trivial displaces the momentous because we tend to measure the importance of events by how recently they happened. We have become so obsessed with facts that we have lost all touch with truth.
So how as God’s children do we determine what constitute great values?
Below is an illustration that might be of help as you answer this question.
The Value Pipe
“Put this in your pipe and live it!”
Great People Well bring Great
Values Stand the Reward!
Test of Time
No man knows what he is living for until he knows what he'll die for.—Peter Pertocci says,
©2008 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
Augustine in The Confessions of St. Augustine (Christian Classics in Modern English)
Thomas a Kempis in The Imitation of Christ
Ted Koppel in a speech to the International Radio and Television Society, quoted in Harper's (Jan. 1986). Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no. 8.