Our Bible verse for today: “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.” 2 Corinthians 8:21 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Be known for your honesty”
Abraham Lincoln, old “Honest Abe”, was known for his honesty and integrity. His wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, once wrote to a friend that Lincoln “is almost monomaniac on the subject of honesty.” Lincoln felt so convicted about the importance of making honesty and integrity the defining aspects of his character that he was compulsive about it.
Numerous biographers have written that Lincoln first became known as “Honest Abe” as a teenager and young man when he was working as a store clerk in New Salem, Ill. According to one story, if he realized that he had shortchanged a customer, even only a few pennies, he would close the shop and walk to the customer’s home, regardless of the distance, to deliver the correct change. Evidently this happened on enough occasions that it became widely known and thus the nickname “Honest Abe”.
Honesty and integrity were character traits that continued to define Lincoln as he grew older and moved into positions of greater responsibility. As a young community leader, and then as a member of the state legislature, Lincoln was often called upon to act as judge and mediator in various disputes, because he was widely accepted by everyone as an honest broker who would arrive at decisions that were unbiased and fair to all.
In 2 Corinthians 8:21 the Apostle Paul wrote about his own commitment to honesty and integrity – not just in truth-telling but in all areas of life and conduct. Paul was first and foremost concerned about his standing in the Lord’s eyes, but he wanted to be sure that people also knew him to be a man of good character as well.
This should be true for you and me too. We should care about how we are perceived by others. Over time people will discover if you are a man or woman of high character. It will become obvious whether or not you are someone who can be depended on to act honestly and with integrity, always keeping your word and dealing with others fairly. And, they will also discover if you aren’t.
I encourage you to consider the examples of the Apostle Paul and “Honest Abe” – live in such a way that people will know that you are a person of honesty and integrity.