Best of Daily Reflections: A Call to Consistent Integrity
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?”
Many of us live disintegrated lives. We live one way at work and another way at home. We follow one code of behavior when we’re at church and another when we’re out with our friends. We cut moral corners when we think nobody’s looking, but try to do the right thing when we’re in the spotlight. We tell “little white lies” when they don’t seem to matter, but claim to be honest people deserving of trust from others.
We live such fractured lives quite naturally, partly because of habit, partly because of what we’ve seen around us, and partly because our culture endorses such lack of personal integrity. How many times have we heard that it’s just fine for a political leader to lie to his wife, just as long as he is good at his public job? We disconnect private and public life, as if such disintegration is no big deal.
Jesus thought differently. He said that if you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones too. By implication, you will not be faithful in the big things if you are not faithful in the little ones. The same is true, according to Jesus, when it comes to honesty. He even connects stewardship of financial resources with taking care of God’s riches.
Jesus helps us to understand that we are not meant to live splintered lives. How we live in private cannot be distinct from how we live in public. We are called to a life of consistent integrity, consistent wholeness, consistent living no matter the context. Of course, we will all fail at times in our effort to live this way. But our failures do not mean the vision of Jesus is wrong. They mean, rather, that we must confess them to the Lord and ask him to help us live each moment in a way that honors him and serves the interests of his kingdom.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: As you think about your life, are there places where you struggle with consistent integrity? Why is it hard for you to live in a godly way in these settings? What should you do if your workplace seems to require a way of life that is contrary to Jesus’ ethical vision? What helps you to be a person of integrity in every facet of your life?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, this passage challenges me to take a good, long look at my life. Where am I falling short in my integrity? Where do I give myself the freedom to be selfish rather than self-giving? Where do I excuse my behavior because “nobody will know”? Where do I cut corners, thinking that it doesn’t matter if I am trustworthy in little things?
Help me, Lord, to see my life as you do. Give me the courage to name my inconsistencies and shortcomings. Help me to confess them to you. Give me a fresh vision for living each moment for your purposes and glory. By your grace, may I live each day with consistent integrity. Amen.