JONATHAN’S IN­TEGRITY

Activated - - ACTIVATED - By Mara Hodler This ar­ti­cle was adapted from a pod­cast on Just1Thing, a Chris­tian char­ac­ter-build­ing web­site for young peo­ple.

I’ve al­ways thought Prince Jonathan,

the son of Is­rael’s first anointed king, is an amaz­ing ex­am­ple in the Bi­ble of honor and in­tegrity. Think about it: he was log­i­cally ex­pected to suc­ceed his father, King Saul, as king—but the prophet Sa­muel anointed the boy David in­stead.

Now, if I were in Jonathan’s po­si­tion, I think I would have suc­cumbed in one of two ways. Ei­ther I would have be­come con­sumed with envy, feel­ing that I had been dealt an un­just hand. Or I would have not cared about the af­fairs of the king­dom from then on. 1. See 1 Sa­muel 31:6. 2. See 1 Sa­muel 14:1–16. 3. 1 Sa­muel 20:2 NIV 4. www.just1thing.com

The truth is, I’ve ac­tu­ally had both those re­ac­tions to things far less im­pact­ful than los­ing my place in the suc­ces­sion to a throne. It’s easy to lose sight of what I would re­gard as “my morals” when I feel like I’m get­ting the raw end of a deal.

But what did Jonathan do? For as long as he re­mained a prince, he was the best prince that he could be, right up un­til the end when he died fight­ing a doomed bat­tle. Even

1 while he filled his role of prince, he also honored and pro­tected the fu­ture king, David, on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions.

Jonathan was brave in the ser­vice of his coun­try. He had the courage to take on thou­sands of Philistines with just the help of his ar­mor bearer. He

2 also seemed to have been con­cerned about the wel­fare of Is­rael and played an ac­tive role in his father’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. Jonathan once told David, “Look, my father doesn’t do any­thing, great or small, with­out con­fid­ing in me.”

3 I don’t think Jonathan saw rul­ing Is­rael as a self-serv­ing op­por­tu­nity. He didn’t seem to care who was king, as long as they led the coun­try in God’s ways. He put his full weight be­hind David, God’s anointed, sim­ply be­cause he was God’s anointed. That takes in­tegrity—the kind of deep-seated in­tegrity that comes from com­plete con­fi­dence in God’s prov­i­dence.

His father Saul, by con­trast, showed a lack of in­tegrity on many oc­ca­sions. He re­peat­edly went against his own word, dis­obeyed God’s prophet, and was more in­ter­ested in pre­serv­ing his reign than he was in do­ing a good job as king. Saul’s fear of los­ing his king­dom prompted him

to make many wrong de­ci­sions that even­tu­ally ended up cost­ing him the king­dom and his life.

Now we’ll talk about me. A few years ago, I had some ma­jor is­sues in my work­place. It all came to a head for me when some­one I felt was do­ing less for the com­pany than I was got the pro­mo­tion I’d pretty much been in line for. I’d been putting my all into work­ing for the com­pany and hon­estly felt that I de­served the pro­mo­tion. I tried to be gra­cious, but it frus­trated me to no end. My “team spirit” was sorely damp­ened.

I hate when I feel some­thing is un­fair! Some­times it leads to my think­ing that some­one else’s un­just at­ti­tudes or ac­tions jus­tify my own bad re­ac­tions. Or worse yet, I think that their be­hav­ior ac­tu­ally en­ti­tles me to have a poor at­ti­tude.

There I was, stew­ing in self-pity for a week or so be­fore I fi­nally got down to pray­ing about my sit­u­a­tion. Guess who God brought to mind? Yes, Jonathan. God re­minded me of Jonathan’s love for David and how he didn’t ques­tion God’s choice. Jonathan would prob­a­bly have been a good king for Is­rael, but God chose David, and Jonathan trusted God’s choice.

To be the kind of per­son that can do their best in their God-cho­sen post even when it doesn’t of­fer pres­tige or “perks” takes in­tegrity and honor. To be able to rec­og­nize the part God has for you to play and play it with­out look­ing over your shoul­der to see if any­one else has a bet­ter part or is do­ing as good a job as you are takes a very big per­son. As my lit­tle story shows, I didn’t quite live up to this stan­dard.

I had to put some work into align­ing my ac­tions to make them con­sis­tent with my be­liefs. That’s be­come my per­sonal def­i­ni­tion of in­tegrity, and a ques­tion I can ask my­self when won­der­ing if I am mak­ing the right choice: “Are my ac­tions con­sis­tent with my be­liefs?” Only when I can an­swer with a re­sound­ing “yes” can I be sure that my in­tegrity is not in ques­tion.

The happy end­ing is that I did bring my ac­tions and my at­ti­tude around to match my be­liefs. I learned the value of play­ing my part, and sure enough, my su­pe­ri­ors soon be­gan to no­tice.

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