After leading the tribes of Israel for several decades, the prophet Samuel didn’t get a retirement party and a gold watch. He got something much better! It was this commendation: ‘You have not cheated or oppressed us.’ (1 Samuel 12:4 NIV) He led the people, instructed them, and blessed them, but not one time did he take advantage of them.
How refreshing! How remarkable—particularly in today’s world of business and politics. CS Lewis said, ‘Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man a more clever devil.’ So before you set your goals, determine your values. Values are like guard rails on the motorway; they keep you from veering off the road and over the edge. They determine how far you’ll go on questionable issues. Knowing what matters and what you truly value is the key to living a life of meaning and purpose. For most of us the problem isn’t having values, the problem is living them out.
We all value honesty, integrity, and forgiveness, but when we’re pressed, do we really live them out—especially when it costs us? Pursuing a life of values comes with a price. But what we get in exchange is the ability to hold our head high during the day and sleep well at night. And perhaps just as important—it allows us to relax and be ourselves. The mental toll of cheating, lying, and stealing is draining. Trying to remember the lie you told someone last week, so that today’s lie will match up, can literally wear you out. When you live a life of integrity, you don’t have to worry about such things!