The Four Way Test

Several months ago I was invited to speak at the monthly meeting of the Sturbridge Rotary Club. I accepted the invitation and set off to the meeting not knowing what to expect from the group that I knew very little of other than the fact that they meet on Monday nights at the Public House.

The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise. But this not the entire story and if you are interested drop by a local Rotary meeting and meet some great people.

The one part of the history of Rotary that stuck with me, because it is very Orthodox, is something called the Four Way Test. Simply put it is a four question test that Rotarians should ask themselves before undertaking anything. I adapted this four way test recently in a homily as I think we can learn much from this simple little test.

Question number one, is it the truth? Truth is one of those things that seems to be on a slippery slope these days in America. We can say anything we want and get away with it or of someone disagrees we say they are liberal or conservative, depending on what side of the fence you are on of course. Scripture tells us to speak the truth and truth will set you free. Sage advice I would say. Truth is important and should be spoken at all times.

Question number two, is it fair to all concerned? Fairness is another philosophy that changes with the times. Are we taking sides and if we are taking sides do we have all of the information. I feel it is important to listen to what people say and not what others said they said.

Question number three, will it build goodwill and better friendships? There is enough bad will in the world we can all use a little goodwill so let’s work hard at building up and not breaking down.

Question number four, will it be beneficial to all concerned? Again I refer to the analogy of building and not destroying. It is not enough just to be right you need to be correct! By correct I don’t mean political correctness either. Get your facts straight and don’t go for the cheap shot that is too easy and we need to rise above that.

This is a simple test that we can use in our everyday life in business, school, church, or whatever we happen to be doing. Just imagine what the world would be like if we all followed these simple words.

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1 Comment

  1. The Rotary Four-Way Test is very inspiring from an Orthodox perspective.

    Truth, fairness, goodwill, and building are four traits that all people should try to live by, since doing so makes the world a better place in which to live.

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