Last week I went to the “golden arches” for lunch. I know, I know it’s not the healthiest food, but I had a “pregnant woman’s craving” for a hamburger and some of those golden, greasy fries. I placed my order, gave the cashier a twenty and he gave me all my food and my change (You know some are notorious for shorting you on everything, and then you have to go back in the cold, dark night and snow and sleet and demand justice! All they can offer you for your trek in the elements is a freakin’ medium drink. I digress).
Later that evening, when I was getting ready for our leaders’ retreat, I noticed that I had twenty-three dollars in my pocket, three dollars more than when I paid for my lunch earlier in the afternoon.
Wow! I knew God could multiply loaves and fish, but to multiply my dollars while I napped, was beyond miraculous. It could be a ministry: “Increase While you Sleep!” Can the church say Amen!
Well, God did not miraculously multiply my loaves, the cashier was irresponsible (in my favor, I might add). Instead of giving me thirteen dollars back for my change, he gave me twenty-three dollars. When I recognized what happened, my first thoughts were Praisallujah!!!! (I know it’s not a word, but it should be) God is good all the time and all the time, God is good; I have ten extra dollars; and It’s not my fault that math wasn’t his strongest subject in school. My next thought was I need to return it because it didn’t belong to me. But between my first thought and second thought, I felt a jab, stick and twist. The Holy Spirit, in a matter of seconds, had checked me, busted me, exposed me, stripped me, and told me to return the money, immediately, right now, instantly, promptly, forthwith, right away, pronto! I finished dressing and took the money back to the store. The cashier’s drawer was, in fact, short exactly ten dollars, and the manager suspected him of stealing it and was going to fire him. The manager and workers were shocked that I brought the money back and they offered me, get this, two apple pies and a large drink. They’re getting better.
When I thought about the incident later, I realized that it wasn’t about the money, although money was involved. It was about something more expensive than ten dollars. This incident was about the rare and priceless commodity of integrity, of wholeness of character, of Jesus being integrated in to all of my life, even when it involved someone else’s error in my favor. In the end, the Holy Spirit saved a man’s job and a pastor’s character. Here are some questions to test and preserve our integrity/character as Jesus followers and as leaders:
1. How free is my life from ethical and moral spots, corruption and inconsistencies?
2. Have I compartmentalized my life, letting God in some rooms, while keeping him at bay from other rooms of my life?
3. Is there an important area of my life that I am leaving uncultivated?
4. Is there a gap between what I want to be known for and who I really am?
5. Are my words dependable and trustworhty?
6. How insistent am I on thinking and speaking what it true?
7. Is my financial stewardship honorable?
8. How do I make and use money?
9. Have I put money before people?
10. Have I fulfilled my commitments completely?
11. Are my allegiances clear or confused?
12. By whom is my life being defined and shaped?
13. On whose back have I thrown dirt?
14. Have I initiated information that would discredit others?
15. Have I slandered other people/leaders by saying things that are untrue and destructive?
16. Is there anyone in my life who can edit my life with tough questions?
Lord, may you join together, in holy matrimony, our private and public lives, and what you have joined together, let not inconsistencies, moral corruption, poor stewardship, gossip, popularity without power, clandestine relationships and ungodly business deals put it asunder. Amen!
Popularity: 9% [?]