After a good night’s sleep I felt a little more rested when I went to work to start page 131 with cleaning and building prep. It was another rainy day so there wasn’t any outside work getting done and no Waist Management walk taking place. After the building was ready for the day and the students began arriving I spent most of the morning working in my role as the missions’ treasurer for the church. Doing so is always a fun time for me as I go through recent correspondence from missionaries and pray for them and the work God is doing through them. As I finished up my work and prayer time with the missions focus, it was time for a weekly mentoring/discipleship lunch with a friend.
When I returned from lunch it was still raining steadily so I settled in my office chair to work on some writing in the daily devotions series that I have in process. Today’s devotional writing was about various aspects of serving with integrity. While it can be a very complex topic, one of the simplest approaches to laying a foundation for a lifestyle of integrity is to follow the teaching of Jesus to let your yes be yes and your no be no. Many times we struggle with being a person of our word because we are too quick to speak and too slow to listen. We commit to things only to change our mind when we have more information. We want to sound confident so we agree, or disagree, before we even know what doing so will cost us. We are so accustomed to a lack of commitment in our culture that we think nothing of “changing our mind” when it comes to broken promises and disregarded vows. Not that there isn’t a time and place for changing our mind — that’s the very heart of repentance.
James says that everyone should be quick to listen, slow to become angry, and slow to speak. That instruction makes for great building material to go with the foundation of keeping our word. Our integrity is strengthened when we make an effort to listen — both to God and to the people around us. Sometimes we destroy our reputation, and our integrity, by not being quick to listen so our response is more of a quick to become angry that does much harm to our witness for Christ. For most people, when they are easily angered they are also quick to speak. That combination gets people in trouble faster than almost anything else. To be a person of integrity means that we keep our word and that we listen to others so when appropriate to respond, we sound like Jesus.
As I worked at writing the devotional pages, a woodpecker flew by my window and landed in a tree nearby. As he made his way up and down and around the tree, he kept pecking away at the bark in search of his “daily bread”. Integrity in his life could be defined by being, and doing, what God created woodpeckers to be and do. In a culture that is so rapidly trying to redefine everything according to our own wishes and desires, perhaps the greatest representation of integrity in our life would be for us to simply be and do what God has created us to be and do.
I pray that you and I would be involved in the work of global missions with our prayers, our resources, and our life. I pray that we would seek to live a life of integrity. I pray that we would grow to be people of our word in all circumstances. I pray that we would learn to listen first to avoid speaking in haste or becoming unnecessarily angry. I pray that we would be content with being who God created us to be.