My wife and I are frequently in Canada doing ministry. We just returned from 6 days in the Province of Quebec, in a community called Thetford Mines. We have developed a good relationship with quite a number of Canadian pastors over the years, and even though they speak French primarily, we still have great communication with them. This is due by far to faithful interpreters. My basic knowledge of French and their basic knowledge of English has also helped in the process. Beyond that, there is the love we share for one another, and for the Lord. In the final analysis, it is this genuine love that really breaks down all the barriers of language and culture that might tend to be a problem.
We love these Pastors and their congregations, and we count it an honor to be invited back to minister in their churches year after year. Best of all, they really love and respect us. They have come to recognize the treasure we bring and they embrace it because they have also come to respect the integrity of who we are. It is this combination of who we are, and the ministry gifts we have, that makes such a profound change in those who hear us. However, even the gifts we may bring really don’t matter if the integrity of character is not present to back them up.
I was once told by a man I deeply respect that the talents and abilities I have are the gifts God gave me. But, the character and integrity I have are the gifts I give myself. God gives the first two and He never takes them back. However, if we fail to give ourselves the second two, what God gave us will have no platform to stand on. In other words, unless we do our part and live honorably, it really does not matter what God has already done in us, and that is a shocking truth. By failing to walk in honor and transparency we actually treminate what God intended for us to do with our time here on earth.
This concept is found so clearly in the business world. I worked for several years at department and grocery stores as a young man. In each of these the policy was exactly the same. If the package was damaged, or the seal was broken, the product could not be sold. In fact it was illegal to sell any product in such condition. This is because there is the possibility of damage to what’s inside the package. Worse yet, the product could be contaminated with something that was harmful, or even deadly, to anyone who touched it. As a result such containers were sent back to the manufacturer or thrown out.
Imagine how all this applies when it comes to the gifts and abilities in us. If we lack integrity, honor and transparency we are a package in a damaged condition. That means the nasty things around us or in us can contaminate what God gave us to bless others. In that state even the most powerful gifts have the potential to do a great deal of harm. This is one reason why we need healthy relationships in our life. We can’t stay isolated. Healthy relationships are like watchmen that keep us safe and keep our gifts in a pure condition. The bottom line is simple, the treasure we have is no better than the container that protects it.
Are you broken in ways that may have damaged the treasure within? If you have compromised your integrity, lost your honor or clouded your transparency, then the damage has already been done. Like it or not, this has impacted the gifts that are within you and you are in need of repair. But take heart, because all is not lost. We can all begin again, any day, with a fresh start. We can choose to do the right thing, one thing at a time, and slowly but surely rebuild our lives.
The recovery of any broken life is just one good decision away. Once we face who we are and what needs to change, we can begin. If that’s you, and you are a broken package, then my hope is that you will start today by making your first right decision. You can rebuild what was lost, one good decision at a time, and have a life story to help others do the same. Now is the time and now is the day to begin changing your world……. so just do it!