So, there I was in front of my laptop on Wednesday 1 June 2011 at work, online as usual. Suddenly, my faithful Nokia phone beeped. I checked my Yahoo! mailbox a little longer, clicked on an e-mail, and then picked up the phone. The SMS read “N3, 000 was transferred to you from the 0803*** on 01/06/11 11:35 via Share & Sell. Your new account balance is N3, 198.9.” That was quite interesting because I was expecting that exact amount from someone.
I verified the sender’s number with the one I had, but the phone numbers were different. Then, my first reaction was to call the sender, and that was what I did. It turned out my phone line had been wrongly credited by a Hausa man who was supposed to recharge his boss’ phone. He was happy I called, quickly switched from his native language to English, and happily told me how to re-credit his phone with the amount. Some fifteen minutes later, I was able to do so. He called and was very excited as he thanked me and said some prayers. When I eventually opened the Yahoo! Mail tab, guess what the e-mail was about?
Here’s the devotional I had received on that day from Pastors Joel & Victoria Osteen:
The Power of Integrity
“The Lord judges the people; judge me, O Lord, and do me justice according to my righteousness [my rightness, justice, and right standing with You] and according to the integrity that is in me” (Psalm 7:8, AMP)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria:
Integrity is a powerful attribute in the life of the believer. Integrity means that you are dependable. You are a person of your word. You’re consistent and honest.
You might say, “Oh, I’m a pretty good person. I do the right thing most of the time.” But understand, it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. You can veer off course just a little bit, and before you know it, you’re miles away from your destination. Don’t allow the little things to keep you from your destiny; choose integrity — even when no one is looking. For instance, you might need some paper at home, but you shouldn’t take supplies from the office. Or, you might be running into a store for just a minute, but don’t park in the handicap parking spot unless you’re supposed to. If the checkout clerk makes a mistake and gives you too much money back, that’s not God’s provision, that’s a test of integrity!
Remember, if you’ll be faithful and choose integrity in the little things, God will make you ruler over much. Be a person of integrity and open the door for God’s blessing and honor all the days of your life!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father God, today I commit to live a life of integrity. I choose a life of excellence and ask for Your hand of favor. Show me any area that is not pleasing to You so that I can continue to grow and increase in You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen
You can be sure I gasped! I nodded quietly to myself. Yes, that amount was not that much (it’s barely $15, you know?), but leading a life of honesty and integrity begins with the little things.
Just last month, I had been faced with a related test. I had gone to interview a celebrity for a story that would be run less than an hour from the time I got the scoop. As I made to leave the venue, I received a ‘white’ envelope from the interviewee’s PR person, who told me it was for my transport. However, the amount I counted was at least fifteen times the total amount I spent biking to and from the venue, back to the office. I contemplated for some hours and even called a senior friend in the media for advice and insight ‘into these things’. Not to even think that a Facebook friend had sought my opinion about the ‘brown’ envelop syndrome in the Nigerian media some months earlier, and I had never encountered such. Of course, there it is common practice and there are standards for paying honorarium (at press conferences, etc.) in the media world, but when you reward me for something I am being paid for by my employers, I might as well respectfully reject it, or declare it to my boss. It is not uncommon for writers and journalists in the print media to receive such ‘packages’ in order to expedite their action in ensuring their reports on such events are written and published in time. My organisation does not do such, and I am wary of such myself. I called my boss later that evening and duly informed her. [Truth is, on the bike back to the office that day, a thought had flashed through my mind that ‘See how God sends his blessings!’ But, I was not one to be fooled by that. God is not a dubious God.] I’d rather borrow, than claim what is not legally mine. Of course, like they told us in moral instruction classes in the elementary school, a good name is better than silver and gold. I prefer a good name, and I guard it with so much passion. But, beyond just that, I want to be honest and continue to be a man of integrity, fundamentally because it is the right thing to do!
To wrap this post up, last Sunday one of the salient points Pastor Poju Oyemade (Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos) made was that: if you are an employee, approach and handle your job as a steward and not as a digger. I want to operate much better with this mindset – a steward must give account so he must be responsible and treat his jurisdiction like he is the owner of the company, not just a digger who is in it just for his personal gains (only!). If you want to grow and be a CEO, then handle other people’s affairs with utmost care and a sense of ownership and accountability. It should not just be about you waiting for the next paycheck, and you’re out! Be honest and trustworthy, because it is right. Mostly, what goes around comes around. -GN