Living With Financial Integrity

When was the last time you gave thought to your personal integrity as it relates to your finances?

A man was sitting at home one day and suddenly the power went out in his home. His wife called out to them to see what happened. Well, he knew exactly what happened; he forgot to pay the light bill. In moments like this, it is easy for us to point the finger, but integrity says, “Honey, the truth is, I forgot to pay the bill. I will head out to take care of it right now.” One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was go to my wife and explain to her why a certain thing was paid late. We all face financial hardship that causes money to become tight, but what about when we simply don’t manage or properly steward our resources?

 

When I first came to faith in Christ I joined a church who had a heart for prayer, worship, missions and integrity. In fact, one of the reasons I respected my pastor so much was because he was a man of great integrity. He would always share with us that the basis of integrity is truthfulness, keeping your word, and financial rectitude.

I remember the story he told once of an award the church received from the local light company. Now it is not often a church receives an award from the community, let alone a utility company. The church had developed a reputation for simply paying their light bill on time. In fact, there was another situation where a TV station called the church in for a meeting to thank them for paying their invoice on time each month. The integrity of the ministry in this one area afforded them major influence in the community.

It was at this church that I first heard the pastor say, if you are a guest, feel no pressure to give. This was a breath of fresh air for me as it removed any thought in my mind of a lack of integrity within the ministry.  Yet, this all came from the leadership of the church taking a stand that “it is better to live a life of integrity than shame.”

Proverbs 22:1 says this, “A good name is to be chosen over great wealth.” When was the last time you gave thought to your personal integrity as it relates to your finances?  Have you ever had those moments where the Scripture almost leaps off the page and grabs hold of your heart? That is what happened to me as I read Romans 13:7, “Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.” In the context of this verse, Paul is writing about the government and our relation to it. Part of this is paying what is due. Of course, here Paul is talking of taxes that we as citizens pay, at times begrudgingly. As I sat at my kitchen table, it wasn’t the idea of paying taxes that convicted me—it was the truth of paying what it owed. Hence, I was remembered a bill that was past due.

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