Summary: If you want to be a truly great man, be an honest man, be a humble man; but most of all, be heaven's man.
In one of the more memorable Peanuts cartoons, Linus and Lucy are discussing an appropriate way to show appreciation for Charlie Brown, their baseball manager. Linus says, “I’ve been thinking. Charlie brown has really been a dedicated baseball manager. He’s devoted his whole life to the team. We should give him a testimonial dinner.”
“Is he that deserving?” Lucy responds. “How about a testimonial snack?”
Obviously, Linus and Lucy have different opinions of Charlie Brown. Linus thinks he’s really great. Lucy, not so much.
But that raises a question I’d like us to consider tonight / this morning as we get ready to celebrate Father’s Day: What makes a man truly great? What makes a husband or father truly worthy of high honor? Dads, what makes you truly wonderful in your family’s eyes?
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Exodus 11, Exodus 11, where the Bible identifies a truly great man. Exodus 11, and verse 3. Look at it – the 2nd part of that verse. Moses himself was highly regarded – literally, Moses was very great – in Egypt [regarded so] by Pharaoh’s officials AND by the people. (NIV)
The high and the mighty saw Moses as a great man, but so did the weak and the lowly people, as well. Moses was great in everyone’s eyes, but what made him so?
Exodus 14:31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him AND in Moses his servant. (NIV)
The people put their trust in God, to be sure. But they also put their trust in Moses, and that’s exactly what God wanted. God wanted everyone to trust in the leader He had appointed to lead His people.
Exodus 19:9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” (NIV)
God wanted the people to put their trust in Moses! Now, that word “trust” comes from the Hebrew word, Amen, the same word we use at the end of our prayers. Do you know, when you attach the word “Amen” to your prayers, you are saying, “Let it be true” or “Let it be sure.” In the verb form it means “to confirm” or “to verify” something. And when it is used of people, it means they are firm and true; they are trustworthy and reliable; they are dependable.
Well, let me tell you: That’s what made Moses great. Moses was true. Moses was trustworthy. Moses was a man of integrity. And that’s what makes you and me truly great today. If we want to be truly great in the eyes of the powerful, if we want to be truly great in the eyes of regular people, if we want to be truly great in our own family’s eyes, then like Moses, we must…
BE HONEST MEN.
We must be men of integrity. We must be firm and true, trustworthy and reliable. That means we don’t make promises we cannot keep. And we keep the promises we do make even to our own hurt.
On March 2, 1857, a group of people in Janesville, Wisconsin, started the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. A couple of years later, in 1859, the fledgling company moved to Milwaukee and soon experienced its first two death claims. A passenger train, traveling from Janesville to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, derailed, killing 14 people, two of whom were policy owners. The losses amounted to $3,500, but Northwestern Mutual had only $2,000 on hand. So company President Samuel Daggett and Treasurer Charles Nash personally borrowed the money they needed to pay the claims immediately.
Legally, they could have simply defaulted on the payments, but they decided to do the right thing. They both agreed that they would rather see the company fail than neglect their obligation to those who trusted them to keep their word. (The Origins of Doing the Right Thing, northwesternmutual.com; as reported on www.PreachingToday.com)
These were truly great men, because they kept their word even if it meant losing their company. They were trustworthy, dependable, men of integrity.
Ted Engstrom put it this way: “When you promised to be faithful to your mate, integrity says you’ll stay with that person no matter what – for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. If you promised the Lord that you would give Him the glory, integrity means you keep on doing that whether you’re reduced to nothing or exalted to the highest pinnacle on earth. If you promised a friend that you would return a call, integrity means you return it. If you promised your child that you would spend Saturday together, integrity means you keep that appointment. A promise is a holy thing, whether made to a chairman of the board – or to a child.”