The Integrity of the witness

Tuesday 31 March 2020

For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.

2 Corinthians 8:21

The word Integrity stems from the Latin word ‘integer’ which means whole and complete. So, integrity requires an inner sense of ‘wholeness’ and consistency of character. When you are in integrity, people should be able to visibly see it through your actions, words, decisions, methods, and outcomes. When you are ‘whole’ and consistent, there is only one you. You bring that same you wherever you are, regardless of the circumstance. You don’t leave parts of yourself behind. You don’t have a ‘work you,’ a ‘family you,’ and a ‘social you.’ You are YOU who is a Christian all the time and a witness of Christs work in you.
There is an old story told about an Emperor from China who had no successor. He invited thousands of children from across the kingdom came to the palace as he was going to choose one of them. He gave them all a seed. They were to go home to their villages, plant the seed in a pot and tend it for a year.  When they returned in a year, the Emperor would judge their efforts and choose his successor.
There was a boy named Ling who received his seed and returned to his village. He watered it every day Many of the children of the village would get together to compare their plants. After a few weeks, there were signs of life in all but Ling’s pot. The weeks passed and Ling continued to water his pot every day. After a few months, the pots really came to life.  Some had trees starting to grow, some had flowers and some had leafy shrubs. Poor old Ling still had nothing growing in his pot, Ling continued to water his pot every day.
A year passed and it was time to return to the palace to show what had grown and decide on the new heir. Ling was anxious as his pot still showed no signs of life but” His mother explained that whatever the consequences were, he had to return and show the Emperor his barren pot. The Emperor came out and started to make his way through the crowd, looking at the many impressive trees, shrubs and flowers that were on display.  Then the Emperor came to Ling.  He looked at the pot then he looked at Ling. “What happened here?”  He asked. “I watered the pot every day, but nothing ever grew.” Ling muttered nervously. After a few hours, the Emperor finally finished his assessment. He stood in front of the children and congratulated them on their efforts. He told the crowd clearly, some of you desperately want to be Emperor and would do anything to make that happen, but there is one boy that I would like to point out as he has come to me with nothing.  He invited Ling to come out, then the Emperor continued, “A year ago, I gave you all a seed.  I told you to go away, plant the seed and return with your plant.  The seeds that I gave you all were boiled until they were no longer viable and wouldn’t grow, but I see before me thousands of plants and only one barren pot.  Ling here will be my heir as he has honesty and integrity.”
An effective witness must endeavour to have integrity in every area of life, we may try to impress others or hide our truth selves from others, but nothing is hidden from the Lord. Our Bible story today challenges us to reflect on how transparent we are.

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 Acts 5 v 1-16

Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

CS Lewis
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Rosemary Street
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
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