Have you ever wondered why faith is one of First United’s primary values and one of the four pillars of Spend Life Wisely?
Let’s first talk about values. Values reflect who we are. They are our priorities in life. They drive our actions or inactions. And though we may sometimes speak or act in opposition to our values, they are ultimately revealed in how we choose to live our lives. As an entity, First United espouses its values through its purpose and mission, which come directly from our people.
First United has always been an extraordinarily successful company and an excellent place to work. Several years ago, knowing we wanted to continue this success, we decided to look within to understand what makes our organization unique. Why do people enjoy working here? Why do our customers value their bank? To find answers, we simply sat down with every single employee (hundreds) and said, “Tell us about your personal values. Tell about how you interact with your co-workers. And, tell us why First United.”
The values you see stated by First United are those of the vast majority of individuals who make up our organization. Their personal priorities are first a belief in God, whom we put first in our lives. Our second priority is our family, both at home and at work. And our third priority is our job here at First United.
The results of the alignment of these priorities naturally lead into our other priorities. We know what’s right, we want to live what’s right and we want to share what’s right. By living these priorities we do what’s right. We have an unshakeable faith, we cherish our families, both at home and at work. We work to live with integrity, we work together as a high performance team, we meet others where they are and help them to get where they want to be by creating valued personal relationships. We care about our communities and share our time and hearts to make a difference.
In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul talked about the alignment of God’s priorities:
1. Make God number one, giving Him thanks for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Love one another as God loves each of us.
2. Love your spouse and give yourself up to him or her as Christ gave Himself to you.
3. Love your children. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord so they will honor their father and mother.
4. Work with a sincere heart. Do your best at work, not in a manner to please people, but work as if you are working for God.
5. Be on mission with God. Be strong in the faith and be an ambassador for His good news: that God so loved the world, He gave His son so we do not die but have everlasting life with Him.
Did you notice where we, as individuals, are ranked in that list of priorities? We aren’t! Herein lies the secret of success. With faith, we understand there is a higher power, a creator, whom we must put above ourselves. If we live in alignment with His priorities, we will have the strength to overcome all of life’s trials and live a life that succeeds in what really matters.
By placing faith in God, He shows us how to succeed by imitating what He has done and continues to do. Christ died for us, giving all to bridge the gap between us and God. This shows the value He placed on loving others above ourselves.
God then asks us to put our spouses above all, except Him. What happens if spouses actually do that with each other? They have lasting marriages that grow through their lives.
Next is children. Love them, but bring them up by teaching them about these priorities and respecting their parents.
Work as though you are working for God. As much as I enjoy working for First United, there are always some things and some times that are tough, or just not fun. Human nature would dictate putting these things off or just doing enough to get by. When I know that God expects me to do everything at work in a manner that honors Him, I am empowered to get it done and work at the highest level I can. This is a huge factor in why people who have faith perform at higher levels and raise the bar of all those around them. Leaders with faith care about the success of their employees above their own, and employees care more about the success of their team than themselves. There is no stronger sustainable enhancement of performance above this.
And the final priority: the importance of being on a mission to share God’s love and how to have a personal relationship with Him … Why would we not want to share the fact that there is a God who can show us how to have great marriages, raise children who grow up with character and purpose, find fulfillment and value in our work, and have the power and strength to deal with life’s inevitable pain and challenges?
So why is faith our primary value and one of the pillars of Spend Life Wisely? Because without faith, life is out of balance. Those who value themselves above others will never be valued by others. With faith and the proper alignment of God’s priorities, we can live a life of success in every aspect that matters. We can have great relationships with those we love, both at home and at work; we have the strength and power given by a real personal relationship with God to overcome any obstacle that comes our way; and we outperform other teams and businesses because we work for our company, our customers, and all of our stakeholders in a manner that brings honor and glory to God.