Spirituality Sunday — Ethics, Virtues, and Values: Knowing What Matters Most (Part I)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Not everything in life is worth doing. The most successful people have mastered the skill of selection — knowing what is important and what is not. God has not called you to do everything that everybody else wants you to do. When you choose how to spend your time, money, and resources, you are exhibiting your values, virtues and ethics. Ultimately, your values/virtues/ethics affect not only your stress level and success, but also your salvation. 

Ben Franklin is an excellent example of a man who defined his virtues and values and aspired to live by them.

Ben's Story
To help us understand what matters most we should consider the story of Benjamin Franklin. Think if you will who Ben Franklin was, but even more importantly, what was his legacy?

Benjamin Franklin was an author, a painter, an inventor, a father, a politician, and the first American Ambassador to France. He invented bifocals, swim flippers, lightening rods, and the Franklin stove. He founded a public library, a hospital, and insurance company, and a fire department. He helped write the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He wrote an autobiography in the middle of his life and shortly before his death in his 80's, he completed his memoirs. 

Franklin was truly a Renaissance man. He was one of the greatest citizens and thinkers the world has ever seen. But Franklin was not always a great or successful man. At the age of 17 he ran away from home in Boston, estranged from his family because of an argument he had with his brother.

Franklin tried in business and failed, not once but twice. He was the father and single parent of an illegitimate son whose mother abandoned the child to Franklin unable and unwilling to live with Franklin and the child. As a young adult Franklin was by almost any measure and especially his own measure a dismal failure. His life was confused, difficult and not at all satisfying to Franklin or to anyone else. He decided to change.

Benjamin Franklin sat down and made a list. The list consisted of twelve characteristics, values and virtues to which he aspired. He called his list "Virtues". Franklin's list of virtues looked like this. 

Franklin's List of Virtues

Image result for benjamin franklin
1. Temperance
2. Silence
3. Order
4. Resolution
5. Frugality
6. Industry
7. Sincerity
8. Justice
9. Moderation
10. Cleanliness
11. Tranquility
12. Chastity

What determines your values and your destiny? 


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