Life Lessons: Decision Making - Plastic or Gold?

Submitted February 19, 2013

Man reading a Bible.

If offered the choice between a box containing plastic jewelry and a box filled with gold jewelry studded with diamonds and pearls wouldn't you automatically choose the real jewelry? You know that gold and natural pearls are intrinsically more valuable than plastic. Gold is the value standard of jewelry.

Ethical values are standards that are so important to you that they define how you spend your life. When a standard forms a foundational value, to compromise with that standard will cause intense internal conflict. You must then choose to change your actions or change your values.

For many people spiritual, emotional and mental plastic is valued more than spiritual gold.

Jesus told a parable that the Kingdom of God is like a man who discovered a pearl of great price and sold everything he had in order to purchase it. What are the standards in your life? What principles do you value so much that to compromise would mean to change who you are? What cost are you willing to pay for the pearl of great price?

Points to Build on

1. Make a list of what you value most in life.

2. The apostle Paul lists the qualities of character based on Godly values in 1 Corinthians:13:1-13. Evaluate how you exhibit each of these traits in your life and what you can do to further develop the qualities of God's love in your character.



Not envious

Not parading self

Not vain

Doesn't behave rudely

Doesn't seek to force others

Is not provoked

Doesn't think evil thoughts

Doesn't rejoice in iniquity

Rejoices in the truth

Bears all things

Believes all things

Hopes all things

Endures all things


When you value God's ways you will experience major changes in how you live.

1. You begin to seek God's purposes and goals in your life. All too often we approach God as if He is our "errand boy" who is supposed to fulfill all of our desires and goals. Every morning ask God to fulfill His desires and goals in your life.

When you seek His future you in turn accept His direction to that future. This may be the most difficult thing for human beings to do. All of us want to be masters of our own fate. We want to control our immediate environment and everyone else around us so we can feel secure and happy. The foundation of faith is to give up control of your life to God as a loving Father. You can give up the need to control only if you trust in God's promised future and His involvement in your life now.

2. You begin to change your priorities. How do you spend your time? Time is the great gift God has given to each of us. When we allow God to set our priorities, the drive for money and things is replaced with a drive to produce Christ like spiritual character. The need for status is replaced with the need to love others. The search for self-determination is replaced with seeking God's determination for your life. The desire for constant entertainment and immediate gratification is replaced with a peaceful understanding of what is really valuable in life--family, how we treat others and worshipping God in a way that is pleasing to Him.

3. You begin to have a change in how you spend your mental and emotional energy. We waste so much of our lives in resentment, selfishness, envy and other destructive thoughts and emotions. God wants to produce in your life: "love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians:5:22-23). This can only happen when you acknowledge that you need God's rule in your life and accept your absoluteinability to satisfy your spiritual hunger by your own means.

4. You begin to want to obey God's commandments. You must accept the right of the Creator of life to have dominion over His creation. Just as there are physical laws like gravity that govern the universe, there are spiritual laws that govern your relationship with God and your relationships with others.

Solomon wrote, "How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver." (Proverbs:16:16).

Blog posts do not undergo review by the doctrinal review team of the United Church of God. This post represents the personal opinion of the author and should not be considered the official stance of the United Church of God. If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to


KARS's picture

Thanks Mr. Petty. Have a nice day.


liz.creech's picture

It can be so difficult to give up control over the situation you are in, but giving it God, in my experience, allows me to just breathe because I know it will be handled perfectly. Thank you for your post!

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