HUMILITY AND INTEGRITY - Week of August 21st

By Judy Nichols

August 21, 2016


    I’ve lived in two main locales all my life. I was born and raised in Columbus and lived there the first twenty-five years of my life. For the last forty-four years I’ve lived in Mansfield and now consider it home. But I know my real home is not of this world.

    Abraham lived semi-nomadically in the land of Canaan for over sixty years, yet when it was time to buy a burial plot for his late wife Sarah, he approached the townspeople in humility as a sojourner and foreigner. From their response it is obvious that he was well known and respected among them. "Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs" (Gen 23:6).

    They offered him his pick of their tombs absolutely free. Instead, he asks to buy a particular field that has a cave in it. The owner is present and offers it to him as a gift, but Abraham insists that he wants to buy it. Just as David refused to offer to the Lord something that cost him nothing (see 2 Samuel 24:24), so Abraham’s integrity prevented him from taking a piece of land without paying for it.

    The owner of the field persists in offering it free, mentioning its value but adding, "what is that between you and me?" (V.15). Abraham quickly weighed out the silver and bought the field in the presence of the town leaders. No dickering, no secret deals, no negotiating a lower price; he wanted to do what was right and legal.

    The Apostle Peter admonished his readers, "Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation" (1 Pet. 2:11). Abraham obviously kept his conduct so honorable that the surrounding culture not only had nothing evil to say about him, but also recognized the source of his goodness as God.

    Would that we could all behave so well! I sincerely hope that my behavior, indeed the behavior of all who name the name of Christ – our humility and integrity, broken and intermittent as they are – will be remembered as being wrought of God at whatever moment He visits. Our culture generally vilifies Christians as hypocrites and haters. Our job is to live in such a way that humility and integrity are clearly visible to those whose eyes God opens to see them.

    This is no small task; it is impossible. How did Abraham do it? Perhaps a key may be found in the interpretation given in the book of Hebrews. "For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God" (Heb. 11:10). Keeping our eyes fixed on our ultimate destination, the home that’s not of this world, the place Jesus is preparing for us and will return to take us there, can motivate us to live our lives in such a way as to increase its population.

© Judy Nichols 2016

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