When you hear the word, ‘core,’ a lot of different images might spring to mind. The core of something is the center. It provides stability, like when you’re encouraged to ‘strengthen your core…’ Awhile back it was popular to replace your desk chair with a big bouncy ball in order to strengthen your core at work. Or maybe you do sit-ups or crunches as part of your workout routine. I remember HATING soccer conditioning when we spent time building the muscles in our abdomen, our core…
But it’s not just athletes that benefit from having strong core muscles. Those muscles around your middle are the crucial link between your upper and lower body. Even everyday tasks like mopping the floor or reaching to grab a glass off the top shelf or tossing the ball with the kids are aided by a strong core. It gives stability. The core of something also provides power and energy… I don’t know how it works, but I’ve read that the nuclear reactor core is the key component in nuclear fusion. It’s where the reactions take place and the heat and power is generated. And of course, everyone knows that the ‘warp core’ was where the power came from for the Starship Enterprise… (nerd alert!)
On the show Star Trek, the matter/antimatter reaction assembly used dilithium crystals that powered the warp core, enabling them to go where no man had gone before! Whether in real life or fiction, the core is important to produce power & energy. Or maybe when you think of a core, your mind is like mine and goes immediately to an apple. When it comes to an apple, the core is what determines what is reproduced. The core is the denser, more fibrous section in the middle of the apple that we don’t usually eat, and it protects and holds the seeds. Of course the seeds contain everything necessary to create more and more apples. So in a very real sense, the core determines and protects what is reproduced.
So when it comes to organizations (and people, I think), it really matters what’s at the core. What are we made of? What do we value? Those things are what give us stability and strength and energy, and they determine what we reproduce. So what’s at your core? What do you value above everything else?
A little while ago, our church drilled down on that question to think about who we are and what we value as a church. We came up with four things that we think are vitally important to what we do as a church, and those things can help you as you seek to live out your personal life with God. Intimate Relationship with God Investment in Relationships Involvement in Ministry Indulging in Laughter Those four things are essential to all that we do as a church.
Over the next few weeks in this space I want to look a little closer at each of those values. They help determine what we will or won’t be involved in as a church. They are a filter that helps us discern how we’ll go about ministry to the people of our church and community. Focusing on our core values helps us remain on the right track as we’re pursuing our mission, loving people to life!
So, I’ll ask again… What’s at your core?
When you get right down to it, what is it that you’re getting down to? It’s a question worth asking, and the answers are worth pursuing. In asking that, it helps not only to evaluate how you are living currently and what that says about your values, but it can also be a catalyst for us to establish better, more purposeful core values in order to point our lives toward Jesus. We can value a lot of things, but most of all, we’ve got to be pursuing Jesus.
Maybe you’ll find that one of your core values is your family? Family is great (most of the time). Those connections are wonderful and help us throughout our lives. But family isn’t Jesus. Maybe your job is at your core. You find fulfillment and satisfaction in what you do…and they pay’s not bad either! That’s great – we should all be working with all of our heart, making a difference in the world. But work isn’t Jesus. Maybe, if you’re real honest, money is pretty close to your core. The security that it brings and the things that it buys motivate you. And money’s not all bad either…but it isn’t Jesus.
I could keep listing things – people build their lives around all sorts of things. Hobbies, politics, relationships, you name it, we all have things at the core of our lives. What are yours? It’s important to think about, because those are the things that give you strength and stability and power, and they are what you reproduce.
Until next week, evaluate what’s at your core…