part three – H3: family values
(holy, happy, healthy)
We are in our third week of a series we are calling family fortune. In this series, we are discussing and discovering how to make our families a fortune. By setting our priorities and making the right investments we can make our families a fortune.
By that, I mean making a fortune FOR our families but making a fortune OF our families – making our families our fortune, enriching our lives with the wealth of a blessed or fortunate family.
Week one, I laid a foundation of C4: covenant, commitment, chemistry, and cohesion.
We discussed the importance of covenant, a binding oath or solemn agreement by which we ceremonialize and celebrate the joining together of two lives as one, the foundation of a fortunate family. We discussed the importance of remaining committed to that covenant, to one another and the importance of chemistry in addition to the commitment. We don’t want marriages based on commitment alone, but we want the heart of our spouse. Finally, we discussed cohesion, the oneness of a healthy marriage.
Last Sunday was my 12 year anniversary, so professor, author, and family counselor Larry Hall graciously spoke on my behalf about the importance of family values.
This morning I’d like to follow that up by tying family values into the family fortune paradigm. In terms of our fourth C cohesion or oneness, I believe family values is key. Again, when you have two people coming together to start a new family, they come from different homes with different values, different goals, and different methods and preferences. Different methods can be a source disagreement in a home;
we need to roll the toothpaste tube like this so it’s all at the end; it doesn’t matter, just squeeze it.
we need to clean the food off the plate before we put it in the dishwasher; just put it in the dishwasher – that’s what it’s for.
We have different methods and different preferences. But in all reality, those methods are really not that important when you look at the big picture. Because whether your method is the same as that of your spouse, chances are, you have the same goal.
Brush your teeth.
Wash the dishes.
So methods are not really a mountain; they are a molehill and they can differ.
Goals, however are more important. And while they are more important than methods, our goals can vary from those of our spouse. We don’t have to have the same goals, but we should be supportive of the goals of our spouse (provided that they line up with our values). If my goal is to eat healthier and exercise more, she can get behind that goal because it is driven by values that we share, but if my goal is to beat this next level in a video game I shouldn’t expect her to bear a heavier burden around the house in support of a goal that isn’t in line with our values.
We can change our methods and even our goals, but our values are more fixed, firm, and they represent who we are at the core of our being and they usually – or at least they should – drive our goals, our decisions, and even at times our methods.
All that to say, there is a hierarchy. Methods are how you go about accomplishing your goals and they aren’t really that important and we should be extremely flexible with our family members and their methods. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Goals are more important than methods, but they can still vary from our family members and we should be somewhat flexible with one another’s goals and even supportive of them, helping one another accomplish them. But most important is values. And in my opinion, the blessed family will share values. The closer the values of family members the more fortunate the family. The greater the variance in values, the more a family will struggle.
Now, I mentioned that our values SHOULD drive the decisions we make. In other words, our decisions SHOULD be in line with our values; that is the ideal. However, the reality is that we don’t always do that. Again, we have this tension between the real and the ideal. You and I are – to use professor Hall’s words “fellow strugglers” in this quest. So hopefully the tone of this message is not one that has an air of condemnation for not making decisions that line up with your values. But I think you will agree with me when I say that when we don’t make decisions that line up with our values, we can be stressed, but when we do make decisions that line up with our values, we are blessed.
At the end of part one, I issued a challenge to you to take the vows that represent the covenant, post them somewhere you will see them everyday, read them everyday and do your best to adhere to them, to fulfill your commitments. Today, I’m not going to wait until the end, I’m going to issue a challenge now. My challenge to you for this week, your homework assignment, in light of the importance of family values in the context of cohesion, is this: I want you and your spouse to sit down together this week and discuss your family values. Determine what your family values, write it down and make it your ambition to live according to those values as a family going forward. Reality is that you will fall short. You will make some decisions that fall outside of those values. But the more you live according to those values, the more blessed your family will be, the greater your family fortune.
For the remainder of this morning’s message, you could consider this as either a sample of family values or as a starting point upon which to build, consider it a suggestion. It happens to be an abbreviated version of my family values and it doesn’t have to be yours. But I do believe that it is in line with Scripture and our vision as a church is to cultivate a loving community of Christians with a biblical worldview. This is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, I have kept it very simple.
I’ll elaborate on each of these one by one and explain how they serve to balance one another and keep one another in check.
When I say, “healthy” I mean sound and there are several components to healthy when it comes to my family. I think when people say healthy, the first thing we tend to think of is physical health. And physical health is certainly part of health as we value it. In our family we value eating right and exercise. For the most part, this value drives our decision making when it comes to the food with put in our mouth and the general rule of thumb for us is the less ingredients the better and especially ingredients that we can pronounce; the less processed the better. Again, real and ideal – this value should drive all of our decision making but every now and then I’ll drink a can of something that has a million ingredients that I can’t even pronounce. And that’s okay in moderation I suppose, but the less I do that, the better I feel. Not only do we value healthy food choices, but also exercise. We make it a point to sign our children up for sports because it is a fun way for them to get exercise and learn to cooperate with others. One guideline we try to live by in our house is 30 minutes to an hour of exercise everyday. They get that at soccer practice and games. Other days, they get it from going outside and running around, jumping on the trampoline. Bre and I are both intentional about working out.
But in our family value system, being healthy is far more than just physical health.
We also value emotional health. We want our children to learn to express their emotions appropriately, and learn to handle conflict. Because when we become adults we still deal with the emotional roller coaster of coworkers throwing us under the bus and not getting our way. There is still conflict in the real world and we want our children to learn the healthy way to deal with that. So we have series of steps that they are to go through. Again, this is what we do currently. Not saying it’s what you have to do or even that it is the best way, it is just our way (method) in attempt to accomplish a goal in light of what we value. We value emotional health, and our goal is to have children who can manage their emotions and resolve conflict. So when they have a fight over something, they are not to come straight to us; we call that tattling and we don’t want our kids to be tattle tales. So first step is to calmly, without whining, without taking things out of one anothers’ hands, to try work it out with words. If they feel the other person is not cooperating and they have been wronged, then they come to us and we will get involved.
In addition to physical health and emotional health, we value spiritual health. I won’t go into depth here because it so heavily overlaps with our value of holiness.
I suppose the best way to categorize the next facet of health we value is social health. Our goal is to cultivate in our family members responsibility. I want my children to grow up and make a meaningful contribution to society. I want them to be responsible with money, with their belongings, with their commitments. I want them to be reliable, dependable, people who have integrity. One of the ways to cultivate responsibility – this actually came from one of the classes I took from professor Hall: don’t do for your children what they can do for themselves. If they can make a sandwich, let them make a sandwich. The temptation will be to do it for them because it’s less messy, it’s quicker, it’s just easier, but it is worth the extra time and extra work on the front end because we are cultivating responsibility. Also, along the lines of social health and responsibility, in our house, we have a loose guideline that you could call business before pleasure or first things first. In short, homework & chores before entertainment, etc.
Along those lines, we value mental health, continuing education. That value drives our goals and decisions. One of my goals is to finish school and get my degree. Bre supports that goal as it is in line with our values. Bre values continuing education, but our methods are different. While my method is formal education with professors, assignments and deadlines, hers is reading articles at her leisure. This value also tends to drive what we do with electronics. We let the kids play on the ipad and watch shows, and movies but a great majority of what they watch is educational (letter factory, super why) and the games they play are primarily educational. From time to time we all watch some form of mindless entertainment. We don’t currently have strict rules about how much TV or games the kids can watch or play but we definitely limit it. For example, if I’m home and I can be playing with the kids, teaching the kids, or reading to them, helping them with homework then I do. That’s not time that I want them glued to some electronic device.
So again, the first H in our 3H family values is healthy. I want my family members to be physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and mentally healthy.
The next H is HAPPY. We value happiness. The funny thing is that if the David Boone of ten years ago time traveled to today and was sitting in this audience he would scoff at this. He would say Happy? God doesn’t want us to be happy, he wants us to be holy – as if the two were mutually exclusive. And I would have made some fundamentalist and legalistic argument against happiness. But, what I’ve learned over the past ten years is that for a Christian, happiness and holiness are not mutually exclusive, but they go hand in hand. For a Christian, true and ultimate happiness is found in holiness. When sin promises happiness it lies. It’s a temporary vapor or more like a mirage.
So this is a perfect example of where these values work as a kind of checks and balance system. This value of Happiness, if we aren’t careful, can quickly turn into the loophole value by which I can justify any action. I want to do this – it’ll make me happy. Happy is low-man on the totem pole and he answers to Holy and Healthy. Buying this thing will make me happy; I don’t have the money for it, so I’ll charge it to my credit card, go into debt and pay a ton of interest on it. But happy, you must answer to socially healthy. Socially healthy says that you shouldn’t because you’ll be violating the value system because it’s not financially responsible. See, you want to be earning interest, not paying it. This illicit relationship will make me happy. But happy, you must answer to spiritually healthy and holy, who conferred and agreed that you shouldn’t because you’ll be violating the covenant, violating the commitment, and violating Scriptures, violating your loved ones, violating your God, need I go on? No, no. Spiritually healthy and holy, you’re right. Happy will take a back seat. Happy pouts for a little while, but in the end he realizes that he really is better off having listened to the others.
In fact, by definition, making your family a fortune is to make them happy, biblically speaking. The word used by Jesus throughout the beatitudes in Matt 5 (SOM), is makarios, which the NIV translates as blessed. It means fortunate or happy.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
True, ultimate happiness, comes not from getting our way or pursuing selfish desires, but from walking according to God.
Happy is a tricky little booger. It is easy to confuse happiness with always getting what we want. Face it; it’s often true that when we get what we want, it makes us happy. But that’s not always true. In a sense, I have seen several instances in which children get just about everything they ask for and more. And in many cases that creates – pardon the term “spoiled brats” who are really never satisfied, and ultimately unhappy. You’ve seen the people who have everything (materialistically speaking), but they’re never content. See, happiness, in the way that we value happiness, has to do with contentment.
Again, at NCF, our vision is to cultivate a loving community of Christians with a Biblical worldview. Let’s recall what a Biblical worldview says about happiness. We spent over 20 weeks studying the book of Ecclesiastes in which we found that we can look for happiness and fulfillment in worldly things but never find it – chasing the wind, happiness is a choice we make with regard to everyday life, the mundane Monday can and should be as happy as the Friday afternoon.
So much of happiness is a state of mind. We can choose to be happy in spite of our circumstances, and most people would probably prefer to use the term “joy” for this, making a distinction between the two and that’s fine – semantics. Bottom line is that the two go hand in hand.
A happy family, I believe, starts with a happy daddy.
Kids take their cues from the parents (may be wrong about this but primarily dad), so moms and dads, and especially dads (just my opinion) be happy; along those lines (again my opinion) wives take their cues from their husbands (premarital w/MR – mirror image), so husbands be happy.
The final H (and in my humble opinion, the most important) is HOLINESS
1 Peter 1:15-16 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Spending least amount of time because most sermons you hear from me are in some way, shape, or form intended to stress this value
Primarily spiritual soundness, set apart for God; just as the nation of Israel was God’s chosen people, set apart from the nations, so as the New Israel, the true Israel in Christ, we are to be set apart from those outside the Kingdom
Same vision as for NCF – to cultivate a loving household of Christians with a biblical worldview
Love God, love others, Do to others…
As a part of valuing holiness, we value our church and subsequently maintain a close relationship with those in our church; stress the importance of the Community of Christ
Time over time (can’t tan in one sitting, teeth brush, get fit – all takes regular deposits over time – so does holiness; it can’t be a once a week thing for an hour on Sundays)
Read bible story every night, prayer every night (except Wednesdays)
So this in a nutshell, is what my family values: health, happiness, and holiness.
Again, ideally, my family values should drive my goals and my decisions, but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the reality is that my decisions fall outside of my values. Sometimes monsters, sometimes I watch a TV show when I should be doing homework. When my decisions are in line with my values, I am blessed. When they don’t I tend to be stressed. There is an internal conflict and sometimes, conflict with others in my family. It is in my best interest and the best interest of my family for us to live consistently by these values.
So this week, tonight, in fact, or this afternoon, sit down with your spouse and discuss your values. Get on the same page and write it down. Decision-making can be difficult in your family at times because one spouse wants one thing and the other wants something else. It’s not always an easy black and white answer, but often times, the answer stares us right in the face when we filter the question through our value system. Does this line up with our values? Sometimes it is an easy YES. Sometimes, it is an easy, NO. Other times it takes further discussion, but it all begins with solidifying your values and answering that big question: what is our family about, what do we truly value?