During his time as a rancher, Theodore Roosevelt and one of his workers lassoed a maverick steer. They lit a fire and prepared the branding irons. Unfortunately, the part of the range they were on belonged to one of Roosevelt’s neighbors, Gregor Lang. According to the cattleman’s rule, the steer belonged to the neighbor since it was found on his land. As his worker was about to apply the brand, Roosevelt said, “Wait, it should be Lang’s steer.” “That’s all right, boss,” said the worker. “But you’re putting on my brand,” Roosevelt said. “That’s right,” said the man. “Drop that iron,” Roosevelt demanded, “and get back to the ranch and get out. I don’t need you anymore. A man who will steal for me will steal from me” (Today In The Word, March 28, 1993).
Even in Roosevelt’s day, honesty and integrity were exceedingly rare traits. Today, it seems they are nearly extinct. Taking someone at his word is foolish. A gentleman’s handshake has become basically worthless. People no longer value nor strive to be honest and upright. Scripture, however, makes it quite clear that God values such qualities.
Elders and deacons are the only two leadership positions God gives qualifications to. Interestingly, among all the qualifications that are listed, God expects elders and deacons to be men who uphold honesty and integrity. The elders are called to be men who are above reproach (blameless), respectable, and love what is good (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). The deacons are to be men of dignity and not double-tongued (1 Timothy 3:8-13). If these are the qualities God expects of the most devout leaders in the church, then certainly these are qualities we should all strive to have in our own lives as well.
It’s not just these two positions though; God call on all people to be honest and upright (1 Kings 9:4-5; Proverbs 19:1; 1 Peter 3:10-12; Philippians 4:8-9). In a world that will do anything for self, let’s stand out of the crowd with our good example. Let’s keep these godly characteristics from going extinct. Above all else, let’s please God by being people of truth.