Integrity can be defined as: "wholeness; uprightness; honesty or soundness of moral principle and character; an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting."
Dr. Bob Reccord, president of the International Missions Board told about a pastor friend in Texas who was in a hurry after his regular office hours at the church. He had to get to the mall to buy some items, go to his daughter's school to pick her up, take her home, get to a church officers meeting, and then to spend the evening in counseling sessions.
Once in the mall, he saw an advertisement on a music store window that said, "2 CD's for $9.99." He loved music so he just had to take advantage of the sale. He went in and picked up 2 CD's he'd really wanted, and went to the register to pay for them. He threw down with his money while talking to everyone around him -- as pastors do. Then he picked up his bag and his change and went out of the mall.
When he threw the bag in the front seat of his car, he noticed for the first time that the clerk had charged him $1.99 instead of $9.99 for those CD's. His first thought was that he didn't have time to go back in to get it fixed. But a small voice kept saying, "You don't have time not to." So, he went back in, stood in the same line until it came his time to talk to the clerk once again. He said, "Look I'm in a hurry. You made a mistake. The sign says $9.99 and you charged me $1.99. Please make this correct so I can get on with what I have to do."
She said, "Sir, I didn't make a mistake."
He said, "Sure you did. There's the sign; here's the receipt. Please make the correction."
She said, "No, sir, I didn't make a mistake."
He said, "What do you mean?!!"
She said, "Can I tell you the rest of the story. Will you let me finish, please?"
He said, "Yes I will."
She said, "For 17 years I've been out of church. Recently, my life has been falling apart and I needed to get back into church. I looked around at what was closest to me. I found the name of the church and I went there Sunday and slipped in and sat on the back row. The pastor that day was speaking on integrity. Sir, it happened to be your church. And when I saw you in my line, I wondered if this was something you preached on Sunday or lived on Monday. And I determined to find out."
Then she said, "Sir, I don't even know the right questions to ask, but I know that whatever you've got I need." And then she began to cry.
Do you think she would have ever gone to church again if this pastor had not gone back in? Our witness, even in the everyday events of our lives, makes a difference in others' lives.
(From a sermon by Michael Luke, Discussing the Deacons, 5/5/2011)
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