Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
- Proverbs 10:9
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
- Job 1:1-3
From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.
- Genesis 39:5
It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
- Daniel 6:1-4
“Solomon once wrote; ‘He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out’ (Prov. 10:9).
“By the time Job had reared his family, established himself in the business world, and gotten up in years, he had become ‘the greatest of all the men of the east.’ People respected him because he was ‘upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil’ (Job 1:1-3). Job walked securely.
“Similar things were said of Joseph. As a young man he became Potiphar’s ‘personal servant’ and eventually was put in charge over all the man owned ‘in the house and in the field’ (Gen. 39:5). Whether managing workers or handling large sums of money or all alone in the home with Mrs. Potiphar, Joseph could be trusted. He walked securely.
“Daniel also distinguished himself among his peers because ‘he possessed an extraordinary spirit,’ which was observed by his superior, King Darius. The plan to promote him to prime minister so infuriated those who envied him that they ‘began trying to find a ground of accusation’ against him. They struck out. After all their searching and spying, attempting to dig up some dirt, ‘they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption’ anywhere (Dan. 6:1-4). Daniel walked securely.
“What did these men have in common?
“Perfection? These men were far from perfect.
“Easy times? Hardly. All of them experienced heartaches and hardships that would make your head ache.
“Well, how about an impressive presence, carefully choreographed by clever public-image makers? Don’t make me laugh. That sort of stuff didn’t come into vogue until our culture created it in this century.
“How about slick rhetoric? Wrong again.
“What they had in common was character—high moral character. They walked securely; they didn’t fear being ‘found out.’
“Call me dated or old-fashioned or idealistic if you wish, but my passionate plea is that we unearth and restore the concept of character. It’s been buried long enough.
“Character belongs first on our list when searching for employees of excellence in the workplace. It must be a nonnegotiable among those we place into leadership positions in our schools, our churches, our cities, our state, and our nation. Character is what wholesome parents strive to cultivate in their children. It is the foundational quality all of us expect from the circle of professionals and laborers who serve us up close and personal—our physician, our attorney, our counselor, our pastor, our teacher, our CPA, our banker, our builder, our policeman, our mechanic, our plumber, our repairman … you name it.
“We may not say it every time, but deep down in our souls we long for and expect character, and when it is lacking, we feel it, we know it, we resent it. It is the ‘given’ in greatness.
“Why, then, is character so seldom mentioned? Is it because we have come to believe we have no right to expect it? After all, ‘nobody’s perfect.’
“Again I am reminded of one of my favorite Greek terms – Hogwash! It is character we require, not perfection.”
- Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch (Devotion for Week 27, Friday)
Is a person of high moral character hidden today? Buried, as Rev. Swindoll suggests? Or nonexistent?
Once, in a Sunday school class, many, many years ago, we were studying the articles in Christianity Today or some such Christian monthly magazine. There was an article written by a member of the Chicago Seven, the leaders of the riot during the 1968 Democratic Party Convention. The author said that when Yippies grew up, they became Yuppies. The teacher looked around the room and saw that the only people who might qualify in either group were my wife and I.
I quipped, “I went from being an Eagle Scout to an Army officer during those years…”
Before I could add to that, the teacher laughed and said, “That leaves you out.” Then, the rest of the class laughed.
But why was that a disqualifier? Both have oaths of honor.
To far too many, scouting was camping out and having fun. You could slip through with poor character, but you had to have a double dose of “sneaky”, which a sneaky friend of mine added to the Scout Law. “A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.” My sneaky friend would add “sneaky” to that list, and it baffled me that he could add it at any point and not get tongue tied or miss any of the others. It almost seemed to fit. But no, it does not fit. Sneaky may get you by in a pinch, but it violates just about all the other points in the Law.
And what is a person of character or a person with honor? Is it not the twelve points of the Scout Law?
I once knew a person that felt “responsible” was a four-letter word. Regardless of the activity, the responsible person would wipe down the table in the fast-food restaurant, even though they were in a hurry to get to where they were going and does the restaurant not have people that do that?
My wife was called “Super Mom” by many people, and we heard ladies say that they would never be a super Mom. But then, by observation, it seemed they were not a responsible mother either.
There is an odd thing that I am not the only one to notice. If you set your goal really low, you probably will fail to achieve even that low goal, but if you set your goal high, you might overachieve and go even higher. Avoid setting the goal for perfection, but any reasonable high goal can be achieved, and on occasion overachieved. This could apply to anything in life, but it has a lot to do with character, and honor, and responsibility.
Character may prevent you from getting a job, but do you want that job? I may have been passed over for promotion or I may have failed to get the job at a job interview, but I do not wrestle with guilt over decisions where I let character and honor make the choice for me.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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