integSometimes I’m asked to comment on the ills of society or to meet with an individual who is in need of counseling.  The common denominator that frequently links the two is a lack of integrity.  Whether it’s a politician, a musician, an actor, or an individual, the lack of integrity can be at the root of their problems.

Earlier today, I read about a sting conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that focused on sex trafficking.  Two ministers were arrested in a sex for money scheme. The actions of these men is indicative of their lack of integrity.

Integrity is defined as an “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”  It is an important trait that should be highly valued, and it is a part of Warren Buffet’s screening process: “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”

Buffet’s quote reminds me of the people of Berea and the manner in which they validated the ministry of Paul and Silas—they did an integrity check:

“The people of Berea were more receptive than they had been in Thessalonica. They warmly and enthusiastically welcomed the message and then, day by day, would check for themselves to see if what they heard from Paul and Silas was truly in harmony with the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).”

The Bereans didn’t take the teaching of Paul and Silas at face value.  They checked it to see if it adhered to the principles of Scripture.

Searching the Scriptures was a daily habit of these people, and I suggest that it’s a practice you should adopt as well.  When you read a passage of Scripture, I recommend that you ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • Is there a promise I can claim?
  • What lesson can I learn?
  • Is there a command I should obey?
  • Is there a sin I should avoid?
  • Is there a blessing I can share?

These questions will help you focus on the principles of the Bible and apply them to your life, so read them through; think them clear; pray them in; live them out; and pass them on.

Manager or a Man-ager?

In my last post, I mentioned a trip to Tennessee.  The purpose of the trip was work not pleasure, and I went there to attend a workshop.

On the first day of class a fellow student made a comment about age, and I asked him:  “Well how old are you?”  His reply was:  “I’m older than I look, and I bet we are the same age.”  I should have taken the bet.  He is 43 and was shocked to learn that I am 59.

That conversation caused me to think about how a person manages his life.  Over the years I have seen many people who “age gracefully” and others who are “fully-aged.”

Good examples of this are Dick Clark and Naomi from the book of Ruth.  Clark died earlier this week and was known as the “world’s oldest teenager,”  Until he had a stroke a few years ago, Clark looked incredibly young for his age.  I’m certain that his DNA had a lot to do with this, but I am just as certain that he was a good manager of his life.

The second example may be one that is less familiar to you, so I will point you to the book of Ruth.  When Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”  “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter (Ruth 1:19-20).

Naomi is a Hebrew name that means pleasantness.  Naomi’s life had been anything but pleasant.  She and her family had left Israel when a famine came; her husband had died; and, a few years later both sons died.  With no one left to support her, Naomi decided to return to her hometown.  When she arrived her family and friends were perplexed and asked:  “Can this be Naomi?”

The once young and pretty girl with a smile on her face had returned home, but the smile was gone.  The smooth skin was wrinkled, and the nimble girl was now bent over and fully-aged.  People could not believe what they saw.

Naomi had failed to manage her life.  Instead of managing her emotions and desires, they had managed her.  The result was a broken body and a crushed spirit.

In I Timothy 6:6, Paul said:  Godliness with contentment is great gain.  The problem with Naomi and many people people today is this:  In a quest for great gain, godliness can become an unwelcome guest.

Here’s a thought to keep you thinking:  Does the content of your life give you contentment?  If it does, there is a good chance that godliness is at the center of your life.  If there is a void and a lack 0f contentment, you may want to check your level of godliness.