“… also rejoice in your sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” – Roms. 5:4; Mark 6:14-29.
Challenge Enterprises of Ghana organized a National Pastors’ and Christian Leaders Conference 2010 themed “HOLDING FORTH THE BANNER OF MINISTERIAL INTEGRITY” in Accra and Kumasi from 30th August – 3rd September 2010 and 6th – 10th September, 2010 respectively.
The speakers included Dr. Charles C. Bing – Grace Life Ministries, USA, Bro. Gbile Akanni – Living Seed Ministries, Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Aboagye Mensah – Former Presiding Bishop, the Methodist Church, Ghana. In the next couple of weeks, we will be publishing the notes of the conference. Please continue to enjoy!
We have defined integrity as, the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. It is a oneness, or consistency of character in which we are what we say we are and we conduct ourselves consistent with what we say we are. Who we are is called character. Character is defined as a person’s moral quality or their true nature. Someone has said that character is who you are when no one is looking.
You can see the relationship integrity and character. We have a good character if we live with integrity. Our integrity causes us to make the choices that eventually become our character. Someone said, “Sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character reap a destiny.” Character eventually catches up with us as reputation and we become known or revealed for who we really are on the inside. By guarding our integrity, we guard our character, which in turn guards our reputation, which determines our destiny and our legacy.
Character counts. It eventually works itself out in our choices and our conduct. It affects others. When one of our past president was caught in sexual immorality, his defenders said, “Private morality has nothing to do with public morality.” But they were and are absolutely wrong. If a leader lies to his wife, he will lie to his people, or his church.
How can we have character? Another way of saying that we have moral character might be to say that we are “Christ-like.” It is not just knowing what is right, but doing it as Christ would have. It is difficult to have character in today’s world where we see so many compromising themselves morally to get for themselves money, sex, or power.
It is always good to ask yourself early in life, how do I want to be remembered? What will people think about me based on my character? What legacy will l leave behind?
Sometimes a picture is worth 1000 words. In Mark 6 we have a picture of integrity of character in a man of God named John the Baptist. The scene of this story is the Castle of Machaerus, east of the Dead Sea, where a lonely John the Baptist sits in a grim cold prison. The prophet who was used to living in the wide open spaces of wilderness could now only see the cold stone walls that enclosed him
1. Fear God more than man
2. Boldly stand for what is right, and speak out against sin.
3. Be ready to pay the price.
4. Leave a legacy of character.
In this gruesome story we have two example from which we learn one lesson. If we do not have the moral character to stand for righteousness, we are in danger of falling into sin.
Where do you need to take a stand? Does something need to be said at your church about gossip, dishonesty, how authority is abused, or how finances are mishandled? Does someone need your loving confrontation about their language, attitude, or habits? Do your friends or colleague need your loving intervention to confront their abuse of alcohol, drugs, or pornography? Do you need to stop looking the other way at school when students are cheating or plagiarizing the writing of others?
I encourage you to join the character club. There are benefits: you are guaranteed suffering. John the Baptist suffered, Jesus suffered, the disciples suffered, and so will you.
I leave you with this quote entitled “Leadership Integrity” which has no author named: Integrity is a commitment to do what is right, regardless of the cost… It is being governed by settled convictions instead of momentary expediency… by principles rather than pragmatism… by vision rather than comfort … by mission rather than by politics… by God’s will rather than human whim … for God’s kingdom rather than our own.
INTEGRITY IN THE STEWARDSHIP OF MINISTRY – EPHESIANS 3:1-12
“So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God” – 1 Cor. 4:1.
There are different illustrations in the Bible that picture what a minister is and what he does. He is a workman, an athlete, a servant, a slave, a herald, a shepherd, and other things. When we talk about integrity, one useful illustration of the minister is that of steward.
What is a steward? The word comes from a word that combines “house” and “law” so that a steward means one who manages a household. He was a trusted person, sometimes a trusted servant. In ancient days, a steward would be responsible for managing the property owner’s finances and property. Of course, the steward did not own the property; he only managed it. It is a temporary responsibility entrusted to his care
As a minister, the Apostle Paul said In 1 Corinthians 4:1 that we are “stewards of the mysteries of God.” God has entrusted to us His mysteries. But what is he referring to?
I. Understand the purpose God has for you –Ephesians 3:1-6
II. Use the gift entrusted to you – Ephesians 3:7
III. Know your place in God’s eternal program – Ephesians 3:8-12
IV. Remember you must give an account – 1 Corinthians 4: 2-5
You have been given a trust, a stewardship. It is a great privilege for God to include us in His unfolding plan for the ages. It is a gift. We should not be proud of the ministry He has given us; we should be humbled. We should not use the ministry as a platform for selfish ambition, but to make known God’s gospel to all people.
Keep the big picture in mind. God is using your ministry in His eternal program for the whole creation. Your ministry is not insignificant, but of eternal value in God’s plan.
One day, on that Day of judgement, we who are ministers will be asked to give an accounting to our Master whose Church He has placed in our care. We will each be rewarded accordingly, or denied rewards. God will be fair. He knows our intensions, He “will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Integrity will insure that you minister in a worthy way. Integrity in the stewardship of your ministry will earn an eternal reward.
Please remember to join us on Sunny – Tuesdays 5:30am; Asempa – Sundays 5:30am and Unique – Saturdays 7:30pm for our Radio Bible.
We also invite you to join us every Sunday at 3:30pm on Sunny 88.7 Fm for a programme on Hymns and their Stories. You will enjoy it!