By Pastor Jasper Mutale
“Zambia needs leaders of integrity” states a young entrepreneur sitting across from me in a mini bus on its way to Lilanda. These are words many of us have repeated.
The conversation involved most on the bus and there was clear disdain at the rate of corruption in government and political circles.
Yet, while we had this conversation the bus was being overloaded to the point of danger for all of us, not to mention breaking the laws we are talking about upholding. I asked for the conductor to stop loading people, the response… Laughter. I then pointed out that integrity did not begin at State House, but began with the average Zambian’s day-to-day life. Our political leaders were a reflection of what we ourselves were like. Political positions, power and money simply magnified what was already there; a lack of integrity. Luke 16:10 puts it succinctly; “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”(Pastor Vinjelu Muyaba)
Every great leader has learned that dishonest people are customary and must be dealt with every day. So let us begin this article by defining the words honest and integrity. Honest = Trustworthy/not likely to lie or cheat/direct, not hiding facts. Integrity: Strength and firmness of character or principle. Honesty that can be trusted. A state of wholeness /completeness.
There is a lot of what you must do to be a man of integrity and what you must not do.
It is helpful to remember that a heart-cry to be loved often lurks behind the obstinacy of many dishonest leaders. Remember the definition of the word honest above, I said not likely to lie or cheat, so this is a true saying as a leader you must not lie or cheat the people you are leading. You need to have the firmness and the strength to tell the truth or the integrity. Failure to tell the truth only confirms that you have no strength to lead. Let us now look at what the Bible says concerning integrity and being honest.
But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens (Exodus 18:21)
Here we see Jethro advising Moses, the kind of leaders that would handle thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Read the verse and clearly see that a leader must be capable. For without integrity or firmness, you cannot be capable to lead thousands of people. Without the atom of trustworthy, you cannot still be capable to lead thousands. If you don’t hate dishonest gain, then you have no strength to stand before thousands. Remember strength and firmness means integrity. The absence of these in your leadership style will give a bad signal to whoever you are leading.
This is a true advice, to our leaders both the ruling party and opposition party as they select their Ministers, ambassadors and other positions.
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.(Genesis 18:19)
Is the scripture true in your life? Can you confess before God and men that God knows your heart in such a way that you are able or capable of teaching your very children in your house to keep the way of the Lord? Do you think you have the strength to tell your children to do justice?
Remember that as a leader, you are simply a steward and not the owner of the people you are leading, including your very life and your possessions belong to God. It is very shocking that some leaders feel, think and behave like they own the whole nations and the Zambia. What is the truth about these questions? Let us look at psalms 24 :1
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
The truth is that the earth belongs to God and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. This means that Zambia belongs to the Lord and everything in Zambia and all the people who are living in Zambia. It’s not true that any leader owns anybody or the earth. So, as a leader you are simply a steward and not the owner of anything. We shall one day give an account of how we used the authority God gave us in heaven. Therefore, this calls for soberness of a mindset and we need to bear in mind that the very people at times we may look down on will be the very people we will need. Let us look at another scripture from Luke 16:1-13
1.Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
3. “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4. I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
5. “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
6.’Nine hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied.
“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’
7. “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
“‘A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,’ he replied.
“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
8. “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
10. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12. And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
13. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Lesson from this verse is that, you need to know what to do now? If you are in any leadership position be humble and help people to be kind, time will come when you will no longer have the power you have now and it will be hard for you to be welcomed by anyone. Learn to be honest; even in small things it’s important that you remain honest as taught in verse 10. When you are faithful in small dealings, you will have the integrity to be faithful in leading thousands .
Will quickly point out other areas we need to think about and look at our integrity. Firstly, neglecting property and equipment. We must keep well every property God has trusted us with, for in doing so we are so revealing that we are steward leaders who care for every property and equipment. We often have an attitude of, “It’s my life, my choice and my possession so what? But it’s true that it’s your possession. Psalm 24:1 told us the earth is the Lords and everything in it.
Secondly, we need integrity in manner we use money. There is too much misuse of money. We often buy things we never budgeted for. Most people in Zambia are willing to be in leadership but the main obstacle is how to handle money. We need to be capable, honest and trustworthy in the issue of handling money. Which one of these 3 topics do you think the Bible speaks about most? Faith = 500; Finances = 2000; Prayer = 500. The gospel contain more verses on finances than any other subject.1 out of every 4 verses in Matthew, Mark, Luke speak on finances/possessions. Jesus spoke more on finances than on heaven and hell combined. Deep level of integrity is needed in this area.
Before we talk on how to handle money . The main mechanism to keep integrity in money matters is important. Luke 13. Jesus needs to be the master (Lord) in this area. Mark 10:17-22. (We need to come to know our own hearts) The Bible says: Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength.
For now may God bless you and make you a capable, honest and full of integrity. May you be blessed in all your leadership skills and cause you to overcome storms in Jesus’ Name.
For prayers and questions kindly contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0966487131.