Last week we took a look at why our Founders chose the form of government that they did. We also touched on the problems that could erupt when ‘politicians’ are so desperate for power that they will promise voters anything knowing that the promises can only be honored on the backs of hard-working taxpayers…and maybe one day, even the church.
Before we take a look at how the ‘bridge crew’ got as into ‘shoal waters’, let’s take a look at what makes a competent ‘navigator’. Such a ‘navigator’ is a political leader and/or minister of God who knows the ‘rules of the road’ and insists that all the ‘bridge ! crew’ follow them. This quality is found in the word integrity. To God, integrity is an indispensable necessity for His children. God even promises special blessings for those who live by integrity (Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; 20:7). With such a clear emphasis on integrity throughout the Bible, it is not surprising that the Founding Fathers considered it to be the highest human virtue. Signer of the Declaration Benjamin Rush who also started the Sunday School movement in America and America’s first Bible society noted : I think I have observed that integrity in the conduct of both the living and the dead takes a stronger hold of the human heart than any other virtue. [ Letters of Benjamin Rush to John Adams on September 4, 1811; Princeton University Press, 1951, Vol. II, pg. 1103]. By this he meant that an individual, whether living or dead, was most often remembered for his integrity…or lack thereof.
What is integrity? Dr. Rush provides a concise definition : By integrity, I mean veracity…devotion to truth, fidelity to promises, and a strict coincidence between thoughts, words, and actions. [Ibid] Integrity exists when there is consistency between what one thinks, says, and does…when actions actually match words. The signers of the Declaration mutually pledged “to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor”. There is not a single recorded instance of any of the fifty-six signers refusing to deliver on that pledge. This is a trait we want of our ‘navigator’.
In addition to integrity being important to our Founders it was also important to such Bible heroes as Job, Daniel, Joseph, Paul, Jesus and so many others. How is integrity achieved? Joseph Story provides an answer. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by President James Madison. Story is also known as the “Father of American Jurisprudence”. He was very clear about how integrity was attained : To secure integrity, there must be a lofty sense of duty and a deep responsibility to future times as well as to God. [Joseph Story Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Boston:Little Brown and Company, 1891, Vol. 1, PG.546, Book III, Ch. X. para 745] Integrity is born out of the awareness of a deep sense of answerability to God. If there is not a genuine mindfulness of God and accountability to Him, there is no real reason to keep one’s word. When we know that we will give full account to God, and that He will either reward or punish us for the performance of our word, that awakens a clear incentive. If we desire to please Him, we will keep our word no matter the cost. We have redemption because He kept His Word, even though it cost the life of His precious Son to do so. He is a God of integrity. May your word be your bond, and may He be the glue by which you stick to it.
If we are to ever extricate our ‘ship of state’ from these ‘shoal waters’ we must have ‘navigators’ who are dedicated to integrity and a ‘nav crew’ who can carry out the ‘navigators’ directions knowing they are lead by ! knowledge and integrity. Our ability to choose our leaders gives us the opportunity gauge integrity of the candidates and vote for those we believe will do what they say…of course with Godly direction. Next week we will see how a lack of integrity can lead the ‘ship of state’…the nation…into dangerous ‘shoal waters’.
– Bob Munsey
Something to think about : The ‘ship of state’ has gotten into ‘shoal waters’ partially due to the fact that those who work for a living are now outnumbered by those who vote for a living.