A friend of mine used to say that many people are an inch deep and a mile wide. They had no depth or integrity. But believers in Jesus can be a mile deep and an inch wide—if we choose to be someone of integrity….
One person defined integrity as you are the same person whether anyone is watching or not. Another definition is the inside and the outside are the same. How would you define integrity?
Would Joseph, from Cyprus, fit your definition of integrity? Apparently he was so well respected by the early church that they nicknamed him, Barnabas, Son of Encouragement. I find it fascinating that he was identified in our main text, and, at that, in direct opposition to Ananias and Sapphira (from our last blog)—and he is named first….
Luke, the author of Acts, uses Joseph as an example of those who were meeting the needs of the early church as reported in Acts 4:34-35: “There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” He was one of those who owned land and sold a parcel. The big deal is Joseph was a man of integrity. He said he was going to give the church all the money from the sale and he did! (Whereas Ananias & Sapphira did not, remember?)
Is it possible that Luke is suggesting to us that there are two types of people in the church from which we can choose to surround ourselves? Either the Children of Encouragement or the Children of Lies?
I’d like to be chosen by Team Encouragement & Integrity. How about you? Do you feel we have a choice in this matter, and if so, what ramifications does this choice have? Your thoughts?
Main Text: — Acts 4:36-37— 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. [NIV84]
Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. — Philippians 3:17-20 (NIV84)
Always set an example for others by doing good actions. Teach with integrity and dignity. — Titus 2:7 (ISV)
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. — 2 Timothy 2:22-23 (NIV84)
Heavenly Father, as I follow in the footsteps of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and as I surround myself with my brothers and sisters who are on this same journey with Jesus, keep me in step with the Spirit in Jesus’ Name, Amen.