He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (In Matthew 23:23 Jesus quotes Micah and uses the word faith instead of humility).
Micah’s mandate summarizes all of the Old Testament prophetic tradition. Stone Table Church, where I serve, has highlighted this prophetic passage as the essential elements of our Core Values. We distinguish our Core Virtues (Jesus’ beatitudes) from Structural Values.
Political observer and columnist, George F. Will made the following statement while addressing the graduating class at Layfayette College. “When we move beyond talk of good and evil, when the categories of virtue and vice are transcended, we are left with the thin gruel of values-talk, the talk of the non judgmental age, an age that is only judgmental about the sin of being judgmental. Therefore, speaking of virtues rather than values is considered elitist, offensive to democracy’s egalitarian, leveling ethos. I say that is precisely why talk of virtues should be revived and talk of values should be abandoned.
Values are only half the story when it comes to the leader’s character. Values are principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable. Values are beliefs that a person or group holds and in which they have emotional investment and heartfelt commitment. Virtues, on the other hand, are moral excellencies and qualities of righteousness corresponding to the nature and character of God. Because virtues are drawn from the character of God, virtues are universally morally correct. Truthfulness, wisdom, justice, compassion, love, and courage are examples of such virtues. These qualities are not right for one culture, era, or situation and wrong for another.”
We will not abandon values, but rather seek to establish an unchangeable benchmark of structural virtues and an initial set of core values. Culturally, shared values are those qualities of practice that reflect the heart of our uniqueness as a church and as individuals. Our values give us an architecture of realizing the kingdom of God coming among us.
- He has shown you, O man… We Value the ability to see and hear the voice of God amidst vital relational and situational opportunities. (Prophetic Listening)
- What is Good… We Value the capacity to live from our hearts after the heart of God in pursuit of the good life. (Live from the Heart)
- What does the LORD require of you… We Value the formation of our future by the imagination of faith in the absolute commands and principles of God’s Word. (Live with the End in Mind)
- To do justly… We Value the responsibility of conviction to do what is right toward others. (Do What is Right)
- To love mercy… We Value the judgment to error on the side of giving mercy to others. (Seek First to Understand)
- To walk humbly with your God… We Value the accountability of humility to listen and obey God and others in authority. (Listen and Obey)
In the blogs ahead I will seek to provide value added content to each of our core values.