Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in Your faithfulness. I do not sit with men of falsehood. Psalm 26:1-4
A man is only as good as his word, a woman, too.
In September of 1878 buffalo hunter Andrew Garcia had purchased supplies in Bozeman, Montana. Amongst his purchases were ten pack mules, ammunition, food and gear. The whole price of the outfitting cost him $300 more than he had.
The storeowner told Garcia he could pay him later on. He agreed to make that payment by January 1st.
Unfortunately, the winter snows came early that year and Garcia wasn't able to get back to Bozeman. Instead, Garcia wandered through Colorado and into New Mexico. When Garcia announced to his friends he had to go back to pay his debt to the storeowner, they disagreed. They told him, "A year has passed. By now the man has forgotten you and what you owe."
Garcia didn't care what the storeowner had remembered or forgotten. He only cared about the fact he had made a promise, and he had every intention of keeping his word. Garcia made a trek of 1,300 miles so he could pay the debt in full.
Some say integrity is "being real." That is, you are what you are, wherever you are, whatever you are doing. Translating that to the Christian sphere, integrity means you are God's righteous person not just on Sunday mornings when you are in church; you are His righteous person all the time. You're just as righteous when you're filling out your tax returns or when you're working at the office or going through a rather heated discussion with your spouse. You are who you are.
If that definition works for you, might I suggest we need more people of integrity in the church? I have always been saddened by the number of parents who make a Baptism promise to bring their children to church regularly, but didn't; the confirmands who promised to be faithful, but weren't; the spouses who committed themselves to lifelong support and faithfulness, but who forgot.
Truly, the Savior deserves better from us than that. His entire life was spent walking the path of suffering, treading the roads that would lead to our salvation. Look as you will, you will never find a time or a place where Jesus was not true to His Father or to the plan to win our salvation.
Now we who have been redeemed have been given the opportunity to respond in kind. It is time for us to show our integrity. How did David say it: to trust in the Lord without wavering ... to be tested in our hearts and minds ... to walk in His faithfulness and avoid sitting with men of falsehood?
That's the kind of disciples of integrity the Lord wants and can use.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may my words and my actions show the sincerity of my love toward the Savior, who first loved me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries