Speaking Of Life 4016 | The Integrity of God’s Covenant
A research study published in the Journal of Business Ethics in 2000 found that promise-keeping was not a high priority in the American workplace. In fact, only 30 percent of the 700 study participants kept their word in business, and if they were faced with legal action, even then only 57 percent would keep their word. News like this can be discouraging, but let me share the story of one CEO who kept his promise to his employees.
Josh James, the co-founder and former CEO of the web analytics company Omniture, was faced with a tough choice in December of 2000 when he had to lay off 48 employees—without severance—to save the company. James told the laid-off employees that if he ever found a way to pay them the severance they should have had, he would do it. Almost five years later, James was able to send those employees the severance money they were due. He demonstrated integrity in business, and as a result, some of those former employees came back to work for him when he started another company.
Integrity matters. Our God is a God of integrity, though, admittedly, we don’t always act like we believe it. A good example is Abram, who later was renamed, Abraham. He struggled to believe God’s promise to provide Abram with descendants. Note his conversation with God in Genesis 15.
Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him,
“Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you,
and your reward will be great.”
But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”
Genesis 15:1-3 (NLT)
Notice that Abram is already trying to take control of the problem and come up with a solution.
He’s doubting that God is going to keep his promise. Does God get angry with Abram when he doubts? Let’s see what happened next.
Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”
Genesis 15:4-5 (NRSV)
God reminds Abram of the original promise made. He doesn’t give Abram a list of things to do to help the process along. In fact, God shows Abram through a sacred ritual, that the promise coming true would have nothing to do with Abram’s efforts at all. God’s promise was a covenant he made that depends on God alone – proving his integrity.
And later, Abram had a son with his wife Sarah. God’s word is true.
The example of Josh James keeping his promise to his laid-off employees, even though he wasn’t legally obligated, illustrates the integrity of character we find in the story of Abram’s interaction and covenant with God. We can count on God to patiently remind us of his promises when we get discouraged and start thinking we need to do something to make those promises happen.
May you rest in the knowledge that the Father, Son, and Spirit will always keep their promises.
I’m Michelle Fleming, Speaking of Life.