Saturday, July 28, 2018

Examples of Integrity

Year 6 - Day 209: Today, I am grateful for examples of integrity.

Rare. Right? Even in places you expect integrity to shine... men and women fail to meet the expectation. Why? Because it is easier to do the easy thing, than it is to do the right thing at times. 

"When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity, regardless of what others may do - you are destined for greatness." -Napoleon Hill

Greatness is not necessarily riches, position, fortune or fame. Greatness is much more about the genuine impact made by ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things in common places. 

Not out of a desire to be great, but out of a heart that beats to serve, share and lift up those who struggle. Once again, I opened my Biblegateway to add scripture and look the "Verse of the Day":

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:14

I never get used to it. That was not the scripture I had in mind. His is better. It is always better! We can press on. Our reward is not on earth, but in heaven. Pilgrims but not settlers.

When trying our best, we can miss the mark. Thank goodness for his grace does not require perfection. Paul, in this letter to the Philippians reflects on the awful things he did in the name of the church and religion. Entering into a personal relationship with Jesus changed everything. He went from knowing about God, to actually encountering him. Real life. Real time. Real scary. And then, a new relationship changed everything.

I've long thought Saul/Paul's conversion was more of a recruiting mission by God. Kind of like when the Cubs recruited Ben Zobrist. Ben was a great player... playing for the wrong team. (With no disrespect to Royals fans.) Getting the right players on the team makes all the difference.

Honestly, I wonder if the Cubs took one look at Ben Zobrist's reputation for integrity and being a team player and knew the potential for greatness, if he could continue to work at the game with good character and the highest standards. Look at the platform God gave him to share Christ. With the Cubs 2016 World Series win and MVP, he was on countless talk shows and watched by millions. His faith and integrity are a curiosity to many. Curiosity often precedes seeking.  

Like Paul, Ben is not perfect. But his actions show that he wants to chase the heart of Christ in his work, in the community and at home. Instead of sitting perched waiting for him to mess up, we can pray for guys like Ben. May they continue to be salt and light in a world where money, power, fame and fortune call the shots. Talk about a mission field! Who can withstand the pressures without a mighty God? 

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead." -Philippians 3:12-13 

Before his conversion, Saul/Paul had a strong curiosity about what made Christians tick. That they would die for what they believed intrigued him. "Saul approved of the stoning of Stephen." (Acts 8:1) 

Stephen was deeply loved and deeply mourned. This, too, peaked Saul's interest. He was zealous for the law and considered great and powerful in the minds of many, but he was not satisfied. He knew important people, he knew what it was like to be feared, but he didn't know peace. It was not until he came face to face with the Prince of Peace... blinded by His glorious light... that he truly found his worth and a new sense of wonder in living each day. 

Saul's life change warranted a name change. Saul/Paul would leave a life of importance to find new life. The only thing that didn't change in Paul's life was the level of his passion. In Christ, he would influence others, acting with integrity instead of insult and injury. 

We can be grateful for Paul, for Ben and other examples of integrity. Give thanks for those who went before us. Pray for those who try to live for Christ in the public eye and all of its pressures. 

Today, I am grateful for examples of integrity.

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