Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Missing Point?

Wednesday morning is my usual sermon preparation day. I like to think that my gradual transition over the years, from finishing my sermons on Saturday night to actually having them done four days early, is sign of maturity and being more conscientious, but it's actually more about my shear love of what God has called me to do. This week, since we were in Arkansas the first part of the week, I actually spent part of Tuesday afternoon preparing this week's lesson on Building Integrity. It is the final lesson in my eight part series on Extreme Makeover: Building Better Homes. I knew I'd be on the road Wednesday morning, (again, my usual sermon prep time) and I wanted it done so I could stay on my usual track and routine of weekly tasks.
I've said all that so I could make this point - the down side of finishing early is all the additional ideas that come to me over the next four days. I plan on that, and most of the time I jot them down in my sermon notes and use them on Sunday - unless they are too big and I know I don't have time to include them. Printing a final draft of a sermon, is like sending a manuscript off to a printer. The moment you say it's finished, you find things you wish you could add. Or to put it another way, it's like buying a dozen Krispi Kream doughnuts and telling yourself you're only going to eat one. Later you add the forgotten clarification of - I meant one - at a time.
I don't know if this will make it into Sunday's lesson on integrity, but here is a "Rootism" that has been on my heart today. Our integrity is defined and diminished by what we don't care about. That may not seem incredibly profound - until you start realizing what you DON'T DO THAT YOU SHOULD. If integrity is what you are when no one is looking, what does that say about us when we don't do things we should, because we don't care about them. We do the BIG STUFF - the SEEN stuff, but what about doing what is right when no one sees us? Picking up trash, rather than disgustedly thinking, "Someone needs to pick that up!" What about helping someone who dropped something, or who is having a hard time getting into their car with children and groceries? What about using that turn signal to let others know what you are planning to do? What about wiping off the sink in the public bathroom after you wash your hands?
The list is endless. It's all the little things we see, or choose to ignore, and - without saying it - we just don't care enough about it to do what's right! Doesn't that speak to the very essence of integrity? It's not just about telling the truth and not cheating on your taxes. It's being driven by a heart that is at peace with God. A heart that doesn't see burdens and guilt avoidance, but just consideration and compassion. A heart that truly wants to be like Jesus.
God tells us "As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man." (Prov.27:19) Head integrity is image management. Integrity in the heart, is instinctive thoughtfulness.

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