Summary: A sermon on Integrity using my own father as an example. This was originally presented as a Father's Day Sermon, but can be used for any occasion when preaching on integrity. Main points come from Old and New Testament scriptures on integrity.
June 18, 2017 – Father’s Day
Lanier Christian Church
Living With Integrity SLIDE #1
My dad is 88 years old. If I were to define him in one simple sentence it would be, “He is a man of integrity”. What exactly does the word “integrity” really mean? From Merriam-Webster’s dictionary I discovered that integrity is defined as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility”
The student edition of that same dictionary defined integrity as: “total honesty and sincerity.” That’s my dad.
Integrity is a trait that cannot be earned overnight. It is developed over time. In fact, someone once said: “A person is not given integrity. It results from the endless pursuit of honesty at all times.” (Unknown) Integrity is not something you claim to have, but a characteristic you simply demonstrate. Integrity is not a rarely used behavior; it is, instead a conduct that you live out daily.
To have a father with life-long integrity is a gift indeed. My family recently attended the concert of a well-known country singer. In the second half of the concert, between songs, he told stories about his father. He had nothing good to say about his dad. In fact, one story involved the singer’s days when he worked at a pizza restaurant. His dad called him late one night at work and asked him to bring home a couple of pizzas, but to drop them or figure out a way to get them home without paying for them. So, sure enough, the pizzas were made and a story was concocted about someone ordering them but not picking them up. The manager said, “Go ahead and take them home, then.” He did, but it was at the expense of a lie. My dad has never asked me to lie. His integrity and faith has always been of greater value than any lie.
Dad started his banking career as a teller at Exchange Bank and worked his way up to become executive vice-president of that same bank. He remains to this day, at 88, a director emeritus of the bank. I worked with my dad for three summers at the bank. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, from customers to fellow employees respected my dad for his friendliness, his concern and his attentiveness. I saw it every day when I worked with him, but, the trait that defined him most then, and continues to define him now is integrity.
On one occasion, I was responsible to mail out the monthly bank statements. This was not an easy process. It involved the cancelled checks being placed in an envelope, then placing them into a machine to seal the envelope, which would then weigh and stamp the envelope with the proper postage. However, on this day, things went awry! The envelopes got jammed in the machine. Checks got bent and red ink smeared all over numerous envelopes. I could not repair the problem, so, I had to resort to doing most of the statements by hand. This was a long process. When dad checked on me, it was late in the afternoon and the statements were supposed to be on their way to the post office. Rather than say, we’ll deal with this tomorrow, he stopped what he was doing and helped me get them done, saying: “The customers expect their statements in the mail on a certain day and we WILL get this done today.” I thought one day late would not make any difference, but not to him. To this day, no one knows the feverish effort this father/son duo made to get those statements stuffed and delivered to the post office in time on that hot summer non-air conditioned room back in 1975.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said: “It takes less time to do a thing right, than to explain why you did it wrong.”
The Bible says: “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9)
Out of many blessings in my life, having parents of integrity is a treasure that I will never take for granted. Because of them I have more security in who I am today. Just think, I could have had a dad that taught me to lie, but my dad has taken the high road every time and for that I am grateful and blessed!
Former Congressman J.C.Watts once said: “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by; and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”
Let’s talk about character on this Father’s Day:
Integrity is pleasing to God. SL#2
1 Chronicles 29:17 (NIV)
17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.