Shepherding with Integrity
I was called in an emergency situation to substitute for a senior class English teacher in a private Christian school. I had no lesson plans, so I entered the classroom and wrote on the board the word “Integrity.” Then, I asked the students to tell me what they thought this word meant and did they think it might apply to their lives.
We had a very lively discussion. As we ended the class I told them that without “integrity” in their lives, their lives as Christians would not have any meaning or influence because people could not depend on them or trust them.
“Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.” (Wikipedia)
Years later I would occasionally see individuals who were in the class, and they would recall the conversation on “integrity” and tell me that, over the years, they had reflected on how important integrity was in their lives.
Asaph, David’s friend and protégé, writes a historical account of Israel in Psalm 78. He recalls David’s life in the last three verses, and in verse 72 he makes a powerful declaration about David:
“So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart...” (NKJV)
Shepherding with integrity is God’s calling us up to a very high ministry. Leadership in God’s Kingdom is built on heart integrity. C.S. Lewis gives us insight when he states, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
Most of us have known people who wrote checks on their talent that their character could not cash. Without integrity, the people whom we serve will lack the one thing that makes us a leader - that one thing is the trust of the followers!
People may forget what we say. People may forget what we do. But they will never forget how we make them feel. Someone once stated that no matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is everything.
If we are not a person of integrity, the day will come when that will be unveiled. On that day – trust is gone and leadership is gone. Former Wyoming Senator Alan K. Simpson states it even clearer: “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”
In Job 27:5, Job emphatically says, even in his pain and loss...
“Far be it from me that I should say you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.” (NKJV)
Author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, is even more emphatic when he tells us, “It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one.” So, the bottom line is this - we must shepherd with integrity!