Summary: Who are you when no one is looking is the essence of your personal character.


(Ezek. 8:7-12)

1. Jay Utley tells a story of a homeless man walking up to him on the street and asking

for a cup of coffee. The man was drunk and rather obnoxious. After the 2nd or 3rd

time Jay got frustrated, and with the man standing close in front of him Jay quickly brushed by him. As he did he accidentally bumped the man and the man losing his balance fell to the sidewalk. As Jay looked on the man raised up on one elbow and said “Young man I wish you could see the man that I am supposed to be.”

a. I wish each of us could see the person that we are supposed to be.

b. As one writer expressed it: “If we could see ourselves as God sees us, we would rise up and never be the same again.”

c. Lewis Smedes in his book The Pretty Good Person tells of a conversation with

his brother Wes who because of brain cancer had at best a year of reasonably

good health left. So he asked Wes, “What are you going to do?” His reply, “I’ve

been thinking about it, but I feel silly talking about it. I just want to be a better


d. What do you want? Do you just want to be a better person?

e. When Pablo Pasas, the greatest challis of all time was 90, he continued to practice

4-5 hours each day. When he was asked “Why” he responded by saying “I have

a feeling that I am making a little progress.”

(1) That should be the attitude, the desire, the commitment of every Christian.

(2) Just wanting to make a little progress…just wanting to be a little more of what

God would have me to be…just wanting to be a little better.

(3) What I want to talk about specifically is personal character. One area that all

of us should be concerned about growing in.

2. Let me tell you about four people who have character.

a. Ruben Gonzales was in the first professional racket-ball tournament. An unknown

who was playing the world champion. It was the fourth and final game and it was

match point. Gonzales made a killer shot into the front wall to win the game. The

referee called the shot good. The line judge confirmed that the shot was in. But

Gonzales, after a moment’s hesitation, turned around, walked over to his opponent and shook hand and declared that his shot had hit the floor first. As a result he lost the match. The crowd was stunned as he walked off the floor. Everything was officially in his favor. He had the victory. But he chose to disqualify himself because he knew the truth. When asked why he did what he did, his reply “It was the only thing I could do to maintain my integrity. There will always be another match to win, but I could never regain my lost integrity.”

b. Coach Cleveland Stroud coached the Blue Collar Bulldogs of Rockdale County

High School in Georgia for 18 years. After a 21-5 season, he lead his team to the

state championship and they won. He described it as “the perfect night. A night

that you dream of.” He was carried off the floor on his players shoulders, his

picture was on the front page of the local paper the next day. The town was

ecstatic. But the excitement was short lived.

Two months after the championship during a routine grade check, Coach Stroud

discovered that one of his players had been academically ineligible. The player

in question had only played 45 seconds during the first of five post season games

and had made no impact on the outcome of the game. Briefly struggling with

what to do, Coach Stroud did what people of integrity do – he did what was

right. He reported the error to the league officials and the Bulldogs had to

forfeit their state championship. Coach Stroud’s statement to his team “Winning

is the most important goal to any coach, but your principles have to be higher

than your goals. You have got to do what is honest and right and what the rules

say. People will forget the scores of basketball games, but they don’t ever forget

what you are made of.”

c. Then there was the young girl a few years ago who before a national audience misspelled a word at the national spelling competition. The judges however counted it right. The girl turned to take her seat, but she could not. Knowing

she had misspelled the word, she turned, walked back to the podium, stepped in front of the mike and disqualified herself from the competition, telling the judges

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