June 13-14, 2009
Balance, Part Two
by Charles R. Swindoll
Both adversity and prosperity confront our equilibrium, but prosperity is perhaps the more challenging test. Today we look at another biblical person who rose to the top and kept his balance. The classic example is David. According to the last three verses of Psalm 78:
[God] also chose David His servant
And took him from the sheepfolds;
From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands.
(Psalm 78:70-72, emphasis added)
As Jehovah scanned the Judean landscape in search of Saul's successor, He found a youth in his mid-teens who possessed a unique combination: the humility of a servant, the heart of a shepherd, and the hands of skill.
And by his thirtieth birthday, Jesse's youngest son held the premier office in the nation. King. At his fingertips were a vast treasury, unlimited privileges, and enormous power.
And how did he handle such prosperity? Read that final verse again. He shepherded the nation "according to the integrity of his heart." In spite of his limitations and imperfections, he was one of the few who passed the test of prosperity.
Are you? If so, when you give your word, you do it. Exactly as you said you would. Because integrity means you are verbally trustworthy. Furthermore, when bills come due, you pay them. Because integrity means you are financially dependable. Also, when you're tempted to mess around with an illicit affair, you resist. Because integrity means you are morally pure. You don't fudge because you're able to cover your tracks. Neither do you fake it because you're now a big shot. Being successful doesn't give anybody the right to call wrong right. Or the okay to say something's okay if it isn't okay.
Adversity or prosperity, both are tough tests on our balance. To stay balanced through prosperity---ah, that demands integrity. The swift wind of compromise is a lot more devastating than the sudden jolt of misfortune.
That's why walking on a wire is harder than standing up in a storm. Height has a strange way of disturbing our balance.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.