My Resolutions

Jonathan Edwards, as a young pastor, wrote 70 Resolutions when he was about 20 years old. He said,

“BEING SENSIBLE THAT I AM UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING WITHOUT GOD’ S HELP, I DO HUMBLY ENTREAT HIM BY HIS GRACE TO ENABLE ME TO KEEP THESE RESOLUTIONS, SO FAR AS THEY ARE AGREEABLE TO HIS WILL, FOR CHRIST’ S SAKE.”

He promised to read them weekly. Taking his lead, I have compiled my own set of resolutions and split them into various categories to make it easier to digest. These are a few of my personal and professional convictions.

Personal Statement of Professional Ethics

I resolve to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which I have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph 4:1-3) I believe that there are three eternal things, namely: God, the Word, and people. Therefore, as a minister, I desire to bring people to God through the Word.[1] Thereby, the following resolutions shall be my guide for my personal conduct.[2]

Personal

  1. I resolve to dedicate time for worship and service by use of Bible study, prayer, meditation, and acts of righteousness.
  2. I resolve to be a defender of the weak, and a helper for the poor, elderly, and underprivileged, taking a stand against injustice and determine to be a peacemaker.
  3. I resolve to be a man of integrity, honor, honesty, forthrightness, and responsibility within all my relationships (both professional and social).
  4. I resolve to treat all individuals with love and respect without regard to sex, sexual orientation, creed, race, socio-economic standing, and/or ethnicity.
  5. I resolve to care for my spiritual, physical and emotional needs by recognizing my strengths and weaknesses.
  6. I resolve to be a good steward of all my resources including, but not limited to, time, money, and spiritual gifts.
  7. I resolve to seek affirmation in following God’s will and work within all areas of my life.
  8. I resolve, in scholarship, to master the Word (to the best of my ability) and, in the practice of lectio divina (and like spiritual disciplines), to let the Word master me.[3]
  9. Marriage and Family

  10. I resolve to keep a balanced life.
  11. I resolve not to share confidences of my marriage with others.[4]
  12. I resolve to have above adequate time set aside for my wife and children.
  13. I resolve that in times of family crises family comes before professional duties.
  14. I resolve to be actively involved and actively listening to each member of my family.
  15. I resolve to be active in the development of my children’s spiritual walk and secular ambitions.
  16. I resolve to keep my children as close to me as possible and shielded from public scrutiny in regard to my ministry.
  17. Ministerial

  18. I resolve to defend against heresy and proclaim without hindrance the truth of the Gospel at whatever cost.
  19. I resolve to refrain from sinful behavior, and inappropriate behavior that could lead to sin or harm of others. When such behavior occurs, I resolve to be held accountable and seek Christian counsel.
  20. I resolve to recognize times I ought to be a leader and times I ought to be a follower when ministering effectively.
  21. I resolve to endeavor to do what other people wish they had the courage to do.
  22. I resolve to continue in the study of things divine and secular; to be entwined in the ancients and in the contemporary.
  23. I resolve to keep from the allusion or appearance of evil.
  24. I resolve to make my counseling environment as safe as possible for the client and myself in order to protect their privacy and protect my integrity.
  25. I resolve not to go with nor stand against the crowd in order to pervert justice.[5]
  26. I resolve not to show partiality in disputes brought before me, and to delegate the responsibility when some type of personal gain may be evident at the outcome of the verdict.
  27. I resolve to do “justice” (mishpat) and love “kindness” (chesed).[6]
  28. I resolve to be willing to delegate when necessary, in order to cover my inadequacies in time, means, physical, mental, and/or emotional capacities.
  29. I resolve to make decisions as just as possible, taking into consideration the disadvantaged and making sure that their benefit is not hindered (whenever applicable to the situation).
  30. Community

  31. I resolve to be an upstanding and involved member in the community.[7]
  32. I resolve to “Greet everybody first, and be a tail to lions. But not be a head of foxes.”[8]
  33. I resolve, as Ben Sirah said, “Do not refrain from speaking at the proper moment and do not hide your wisdom.”[9]
  34. I resolve to bear a generous spirit, a modest mien, and a humble soul within the community.[10]
  35. I resolve not to do anything out of revenge.[11]
  36. I resolve to endear myself to the community by: 1) bowing to those who are greater, 2) giving ear to the poor, 3) rescuing the oppressed, and 4) a father to the orphans.[12]
  37. I resolve to not have my hand open to receive and closed to give.[13]
  38. I resolve to follow the advice of Yose b. Yoezer: 1) Let your home be wide open. 2) And seat the poor at your table… 3) And don’t talk too much with women.[14]

 


[1] Simeon the Righteous said “On three things does the world stand: 1) On the Torah, 2) And on the Temple service, 3) And on deeds of living kindness.” Abot 1:2 II. A-B. I see my work as an outcropping of this same theme.[2] Following a pattern similar to that of Jonathan Edwards, I have laid out my personal code of ethics in the form of resolutions. I felt this pattern would not only make my code of ethics personal and memorable but succinct and direct.[3] The Monks of New Skete, In the Spirit of Holiness (NY: Little, Brown and Company, 1999), 143.[4] This goes the same for those whom I counsel and with whom I am acquainted. “Never repeat a conversation, and you will lose nothing at all. With friend or foe do not report it, and unless it would be a sin for you, do not reveal it…Have you heard something? Let it die with you. Be brave, it will not make you burst!” (Sirach 19:7-10)[5] Exodus 23:1-9[6] Micah 6:8

 

[7] “He who brings merit to the community never causes sin. And he who causes the community to sin – they never give him a sufficient chance to attain penitence” Abot 5:18 III A-B.

[8] Abot 4:15 B-D. Abraham Cohen interprets this to mean, “Be rather a humble member of an eminent company than associate with inferiors in order to stand out prominently amongst them.”

[9] Sirach 4:23

[10] Abot 5:19 A-G. By this I will show myself a disciple of Abraham and not Balaam, whose disciple bear the traits of a grudging spirit, an arrogant mien, and a proud soul.

[11] A Jonathan Edwards Reader, eds. John Smith, Harry S. Stout, and Kenneth P. Minkema (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 275.

[12] Sirach 4:7-10

[13] Sirach 4:31

[14] Abot 1:5 A 1-3.

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