I love antiques. I’ve got several pieces in my house: the 1930’s table I slaved over for hours to refinish; the steamer trunk brought from Germany by my relatives; the little wooden rocker passed on to me by my mom; the matching 1920’s buffet, dresser, and bed from my great grandparents. They’re all special, but my favorite set of antiques is my book collection. Over a hundred and forty roughed up novels, Bibles, school text books, and history guides grace the shelves of an equally roughed up antique book case I got from my great grandparents’ farm house. Never mind the books’ frayed pages and worn out covers from as early as 1880. It just shows their character – the value of their age.
While antique books might show off their age to the world by their style and cover quality, we show off our value to the world by our integrity. This has nothing to do with our “covers” – that outside shell that, depending on our skin types, body build, or hair color, may or may not make us feel beautiful or handsome. This is about who we are on the inside . . . and how we live.
Integrity (or character) is doing what’s right all the time, whether or not anyone is looking. It’s like a rare book at an antique store: hard to find and very valuable. People who live with integrity are just as few and far between. A person has to search hard to find people who will always be honest and treat others like they would like to be treated.
Proverbs 10:9 says, “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”
The world shows off talent, looks, and personality. God, on the other hand, is looking for a person who will be a “pattern of good works,” or example, to those around them (Titus 2:7). This is someone who will live according to God’s principles no matter what the cost. That person be secure because God is always faithful to bless someone who chooses to live and act like Him. It may look like the world is making it big because they took some shortcuts along the way, but they’ll soon see their lives fall apart while we live in peace.
If we want to stand out and have the best, we need to live with integrity. We’ll get the best job and the best grades if we choose to be honest and dependable. We’ll find surprise gifts because we choose to help someone out of the goodness of our hearts. We’ll find friendships with people who will be true and good to us. Like an antique book, we’ll become more and more valuable as the world falls off the shelves because they didn’t know how to live God’s way.