Solomon once wrote: "He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out" (Proverbs 10:9). Job became "the greatest of all the men of the east." People respected him because he was "upright, fearing God and turning away from evil" (Job 1:1-3). Job walked securely.
Similar things were said of Joseph. Whether managing workers or handling large sums of money or all alone in the home with Mrs. Potiphar, Joseph could be trusted.
Daniel also distinguished himself among his peers because "he possessed an extraordinary spirit." His enemies "could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption" anywhere (Daniel 6:1-4).
What did these men have in common?
Perfection? These men were far from perfect.
Easy times? Hardly.
How about slick rhetoric? Wrong again.
What they had in common was character—high moral character. They walked securely; they didn't fear being "found out."
Call me dated or old-fashioned or idealistic if you wish, but my passionate plea is that we unearth and restore the concept of character. It's been buried long enough.
Character belongs first on our list when searching for employees of excellence in the workplace. It must be a non-negotiable among those we place into leadership positions in our schools, our churches, our nation. Character is what wholesome parents strive to cultivate in their children. It is the foundational quality all of us expect from the circle of professionals and labourers who serve us up close and personal.
We have every right to expect of ourselves and others virtue, dignity, self-mastery, resoluteness, determination, strength of will, moral purity, and personal integrity—in public and in private. The fact that many fail to live up to the minimal daily requirement does not change the ideal.
If men like Job and Joseph and Daniel could demonstrate character in the worst of times, you and I can do so now. And because we can, we must.
Think about the people you admire and respect most. Does character figure into that assessment? What qualities do you look for in a leader...in an elected official? Do you need to revise your priorities in light of this?
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.