Integrity seems to be foundational to leadership today—whether that's in business, in the church or in politics.
Samuel's story is incredible and it's a measuring stick for every leader today. As he stood before "all Israel" he asked those famous questions: "Testify against me in the presence of the LORD and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? from whose hand have I accepted a bride to make me shut my eyes?" ... "You have not cheated or oppressed us", they replied. "You have not taken anything from anyone's hand." (1 Samuel 12:1-4)
If people are going to follow someone, whether into battle or in business or ministry, they want assurance that their leader can be trusted. They want to know that he or she will keep promises and follow through with commitments.
During his farewell speech, after having led Israel for decades, Samuel promised to repay anything he had unjustly taken from anyone. What a promise! Even more impressive was the people’s response: Not one person rose up to make a claim against Samuel. Samuel’s honesty and personal integrity permeated every area of his life.
These two characteristics directed how he regarded his possessions, his business dealings and his treatment of those who were weaker than himself. Samuel held himself accountable to the people he led. He opened himself up to the scrutiny of everyone with whom he had ever had dealings. As a result of this practice, Samuel’s leadership has become legendary as this story has been told and retold throughout the centuries. Samuel’s example calls each of us to hold to this same standard of integrity.
Whatever your leadership responsibilities, whether you’re in charge of a multimillion-dollar business, a two-year-old child, a congregation or a nation, manage your affairs with honesty. Let your personal commitment to integrity show in what you do during the day, every day. As you do so, you’ll become a leader whom others will eagerly follow.