My little girl who is 4 has a tendency to hold onto things and say, "It’s mine," especially when I ask her for a spoon of her ice cream.
I teach her generosity and I teach her sharing because it’s a core value in our family, in our schools, in our society and our culture.
Many of us have core values, if not all of us. Families, businesses, schools, etc., we all value something. Core values allow us to make decisions about things before we are in difficult situations. As one author puts it, "Core values answer the questions long before they're even asked."
As a pastor and a Christian, I have four core values and truths that shape my life and give me hope, identity and purpose. The first is that God is always up to something. In the midst of silence when I think God doesn’t hear my prayers or isn't working, this truth is life giving hope. God is always speaking. God is always working. It’s me who can’t see or hear what He’s up to, not he other way around. He is always up to something. He is always doing something. He created and continues to create. He never stopped.
The second core value and truth is that God is always good. So often people have a fear of God. But God is a good, good Father. When things don’t turn out the way we feel they should have, I know God is always good. He wants to give good gifts to you. He wants to bless you. He wants to be everything that a loving Father can be.
The third core value and truth is that God is the source of all my joy. This is hugely important because so often our joy is derived from our circumstances. That is temporary. God being the source of joy brings abundant, everlasting, eternal joy. It re-positions my heart to know that the only one who can truly fill my joy tank is God alone. His joy is my source of strength. We all need a bit more strength.
The last core value and truth that fuels my life is God is always enough. There’s no next best thing. There’s no other solution. Who He is and what He has done for us is always enough. Nothing else has ever filled the space that God occupies in my life. He is my security. He is always the right answer. He is the very oxygen I breathe. Knowing He is always enough brings a deep penetrating peace into every one of life’s situations.
These values are real. They are not put up on a wall and forgotten about. We live them out every day when we encounter a real, living, alive God breaking into the midst of both joy and brokenness. I developed these core values out of the relationship, the encounter and experience I have had with God. I pray you will too.
Rich Stein is the new associate pastor of Calvary Christian Church on Spring Street in St. Helena. Please stop by on Sunday at 10 a.m. for our worship celebration.