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Banking on VirtuesMay 18, 2015
When you really think about it, virtues are our greatest treasure – love, honor, family loyalty, friendship, purpose, service, forgiveness, justice, joy. And when we spend them – use them -- instead of using them up, we gain more! It's like a really amazing savings account that just keeps growing and growing. The down side is that when we forget our virtues, and stop practicing tact, honesty, and gratitude, the savings dry up.
A wise old man (probably over 40) spoke to my youth group when I was at Faith camp. He told us a story of a wealthy man who gave a lot of money to the church but beat his children, growled his wife, and was dishonest in business. After he died, he stood before the pearly gates of Heaven. St. Peter greeted him politely and said, "I'll take you to your new home." The man rubbed his hands together thinking of all the money he had given the church and thought, "Ahh! Streets paved with gold, a mansion…" His reverie was interrupted as the carriage passed by the mansions into a smaller neighborhood. "Isn't one of those mine?" he asked, looking back. "Be patient," said St. Peter as the carriage passed through a street of tiny houses, then shacks. The man started getting nervous. The carriage finally stopped on the outskirts of the town, beside a small pile of rubble. "This is where you get out," said St. Peter. The man said, "Why are you leaving me here? Where is my home?" St. Peter said, "These are the only virtues you sent ahead to build your home in Heaven."
If we knew how important peace and unity are to our own soul's wellbeing, would we backbite about others? Would we be unkind to our children? Shame our employees? What virtues would we invest in our spiritual foundation?
Speaking of banking, one day Dan and I were about to drive off from the "Central Business District" of Aitutaki, the tiny area where the Post Office, Customs and two banks are located, when the manager of Bank of the Cook Islands, Mii Makimare ran after us and said, "Mama Linda and Papa Dan, look! I have a gift for you." She presented us with a beautiful calendar, with colour photos of Aitutaki dancers arrayed in gorgeous costumes.
Each month also had words from our Virtues cards for the Virtue of the Month.
She told us that having taken a course in Virtues in Business from Virtues Cook Islands in Rarotonga, she was now using it with employees. She said the staff are sharing (with no names attached) the strength virtues they see in one another as well as the growth virtues – the ones they need to develop. They take turns each morning leading a devotional and reflecting on the virtues in Bible verses such as the Beatitudes and how to practice them. Mii's face was radiant as she joyfully described the new morale impacting the staff as a result. "We all have greater awareness now, and we are building love, trust, loyalty, respect – all the virtues we need with each other and our customers.
The virtues are a gold mine! We have tapped into the strengths of our character." She also said, "God speaks to us in our workplaces too. We confine Him to a corner of our life, but virtues help us to tune into Him at work too."
Is there love and loyalty in your house, in your relationships, in the way you do your work, or care for your children? Are virtues beautifying your language, elevating your behavior, radiating within your inner being? Honestly speaking, the greatest investment you can ever make, for your present and future joy -- and for the Heavenly home you are building for your soul -- is to bring your virtues to life.