W49D3 - Values

"The merchant uses dishonest scales and loves
to defraud. Ephraim boasts, 'I am very rich; I have
become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find
in me any iniquity or sin'" - Hosea 12:7-8.

Today's passage contains a description of business people who have prospered because of fraudulent and dubious business practices. Yet they boasted about their unethical behavior, claiming that being good business people (or at least employing 'unsinful' practices) has brought them success. The interesting thing is that God was watching them and of course condemned their practices, proving that God is interested in values-based behavior in the business world. Leaders would do well to remember this so they can develop and be guided by honesty and integrity when they are dealing with employees, suppliers, customers and the public in general.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine your business practices. Look for areas where your talk and your walk aren't quite in sync. First of all, do you encourage discussion around decisions to get various perspectives on their ethical impact? Do you have a set of values and standards for customer service, pricing, environmental impact and product or service quality? How often and how effectively do you audit the application and consistency of those values?

W44D3 - Values

"But Ruth replied, 'Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me'" - Ruth 1:16-17.

Naomi and Ruth were widows and Naomi was in a foreign land. Naomi decided to return home to Israel, and urged Ruth to stay behind so that she could remarry, which made sense. Ruth refused to stay behind, but decided to relocate to a new land with her mother-in-law. This was a values-based decision, for it did not seem to be in Ruth's best interests to go. However, she stayed true to what was most important to her and went because she loved Naomi and had decided she was going to stay loyal, even though it looked like it was going to cost her something. God blessed Ruth and she found a husband in her new land, and that couple became the grandparents of King David. Like Ruth, leaders must also identify their values and then make decisions consistent with those values and not just decisions that are expedient or self-serving.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Throughout the year, you have been encouraged to identify, clarify and review your values to ensure you are acting on them. Have you taken the time to spell them out? Have you then put them in some order of priority? This may seem like a cumbersome exercise because it is new to you. Your Step today is to read the attached article and follow the steps to write out your values. If you have done that, then help someone else clarify theirs.

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W39D3 - Values

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?'" - Ezekiel 34:2.

God was upset with the leaders in Israel because of their misguided values. Instead of taking care of their followers, the leaders were taking care of themselves and God was not pleased. God places leaders in the Church and over other entities like business and governments to take care of people and meet their needs. When this doesn't happen, leaders tend to use their power, which was given to empower others, to grab what is most important to them—money, position, prestige, or ego-inflating projects. One interesting point to notice in today's verse is that God is watching leaders and holds them accountable for the attitudes and values they have—or don't have.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to once again revise or develop your leadership values, especially regarding how you relate to others.. First, determine what kind of leader you will be, preferably before you start leading anything. Then explain in 2-3 sentences how that value will be expressed as you lead. Then put those values in order of priority and attach a Bible passage that epitomizes that value. Finally, review those values regularly to hold yourself accountable.

W34D3 - Values

"What is more, I consider everything a loss because
of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my
Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider
them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness
that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—
yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his
sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow,
attaining to the resurrection from the dead" - Philippians 3:8-11.

There is no more brilliant writing in the New Testament than Paul's letter to his favorite church in Philippi. In it, he repeatedly explains his concept of leadership and the values that go with it. In this passage, Paul acknowledged that he experienced some loss in return for gaining Christ, but he expressed no regret. He renounced any attempts at or gains from self-righteousness and determined that only benefits in Christ really mattered. He also confessed that he lived in the power of resurrection life as he was suffering in this life and looking forward to the life to come in his resurrection from the dead. Every leader should have a life philosophy and blueprint for living just like Paul as he decribed in this letter and passage.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine your thinking about the themes raised in this passage along with how they are playing out in your life. Especially look at two of them: suffering and loss. There are no guarantees that your leadership will be successful and without pain. Are you prepared to risk losing what you worked for as you pursue God's will? Are you willing to suffer for His sake as a leader? Are you carrying out your plans or His as you lead?

W29D3: Values

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long" - Matthew 23:5.

The Pharisees performed their religious rituals with one value in mind: be noticed by other people. Their desire was to draw attention to themselves so people would honor them as leaders and consider them spiritual men. Jesus commented that they did everything to attract the attention of others. Leaders cannot get away from their values; what they consider important is what they will do and how they will act every chance they have. And authoritarian leaders are doing things for one reason, no matter what they do: to establish that they are in charge and worthy of the honor and benefits they believe the position warrants.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Why do you do what you do as a leader? Is it to draw attention to yourself? Your Step today is to reflect on your motivation for leadership. Are you offended when people don't treat you with the respect you think they should? Do you need the best office and parking space because you are the leader? Do you do the things you do to serve others or to promote yourself? It's important that you be honest with yourself concerning these answers.

W24D3 - Values

"When a king sits on his throne to judge,
    he winnows out all evil with his eyes" - Proverbs 20:8.

Leaders must pay attention to what is going on around them to insure that the values they espouse are not just so many words on a company brochure, but are truly being lived out in the organization's daily activities. Tom Peters coined the phrase 'management by wandering around,' which meant leaders do not isolate themselves in their office suite, but stay in touch with the company by going to where the action is and the work is done. By doing this, leaders can see the people and work for themselves and not rely only on reports from peers or subordinates.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you a prisoner by choice in your own office, protected by a closed door and an administrative assistant who guards it? Today's Step is to have a coming out party. You will institute a regular regimen of going where your people are for meetings or simply for impromptu visits and tours. By doing this, you can insure that you evaluate the conditions, opportunities, problems, and people according to the company's values and objectives.

W19D3 - Values

"Kings detest wrongdoing,
    for a throne is established through righteousness" - Proverbs 16:12.

Kings were the leaders in the Old Testament, so principles that applied to them can easily apply to modern leaders in any sphere or life. In this verse, the wisdom writer indicated that a leader's foundation was righteous deeds and active opposition to wrongdoing. Above all, a king was to stand for justice and leaders must do the same today. That means justice in human relations, justice in customer service, justice in employee affairs, justice in organizational commitments and justice in financial affairs. Absence of justice in any one of those areas can 'undo' leaders, no matter how much good they have done in the others.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today you will do a justice audit in your family or workplace. Take a look at the justice level in each one of the areas mentioned above: human relations, customer service, employee affairs, organizational commitments and financial affairs. Give some thought to each area and then assign a score of 1 (poor) or 5 (excellent) in each area. Get three other people to do the same, then get together and compare your scores. What do they tell you?

W14D3 - Values

"When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given,
they held the king in awe, because they saw that he
had wisdom from God to administer justice" - 1 Kings 3:28.

Leaders must operate with wisdom, but that wisdom must be focused and practical. In the case of Solomon, he chose to apply his wisdom from God to judge the people with justice. The people loved the king because they both 'heard' and 'saw' his values in action when he judged between the two women, each claiming a child was theirs. Values must and will be reflected in two places, the checkbook and the calendar, for them to be true values and not just talk. When people behold consistency as leaders express positive values, they will tend to hold the leaders in high esteem.

LEADERSHIP STEP: In W9D3, you were given an assignment to write out your personal values. Have you completed this exercise yet? If not, you cannot put it off any longer, for you must recognize what your values are for people to 'hear' and 'see' them as in this verse. In W9D3 you have a worksheet to guide you through the process. If you have done this, then take the same form and develop with your team the values, standards or norms for your organization.

W9D3 - Values

"As was his custom, Paul went into
the synagogue, and on three Sabbath
days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, . . .” - Acts 17:2.

Leaders have established personal values that guide their daily decisions. They don't have to think or pray when faced with expressing their values in their actions; they simply do them. In this verse, it is clear that Paul had a value to visit the synagogue on any Sabbath day to teach and talk about the Lord. When leaders have values, they show up in their calendars and in their checkbooks.

LEADERSHIP STEP: In W4D3, you were encouraged to write out your personal values. That worksheet is attached in case you did not finish or need to revisit that exercise. When you have identified your values,, go through your calendar and your checkbook (personal or company) to see if you have consistently expressed those values. Set out a plan for the remainder of this month where your values can find expressions in what you do on a regular basis.

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W4D3 - Values

"Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our
toil and hardship; we worked night and day in
order not to be a burden to anyone while we
preached the gospel of God to you" - 1 Thessalonians 2:9.

Paul worked a full-time job whenever he went into a new place to spread the gospel so as not to be a financial burden on his new converts, and so he would not be confused with teachers who traveled the Greek world teaching secular subjects for pay. He wanted people to know he was on a different mission than the other teachers. He did this because it was part of a personal values system that guided his daily decisions on ministry, finances, learning and work. All leaders also have a values system, and those values will make them productive servants, overbearing tyrants or a leader someplace between those two possibilities.

LEADERSHIP STEP: To insure that your values are taking you in the correct leadership direction toward service and team-building, your assignment today is to sketch out your values and put them in order of priority. You can start this today and then revisit and refine this list the next time values are discussed in this devotional. Below is a sample list of values and how to produce them to help get you started. Don't put this off! 

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