In high school, I worked at Family Christian Stores, a retail bookseller. Dressed in my purple apron, baggy Khols button up shirt and the knowledge of where to find the latest Bill Gaither cassette tape I was unstoppable. Not to brag, but I was pretty amazing at the job. I was the youngest employee ever to receive a key to the store and the title of assistant manager (or maybe it was the assistant to the regional manager). I would stay late and arrive early. I was an excellent employee, and I knew it. That’s when I let the power get to my head.
After being on the job for two years, I knew the ins and outs of the store like the back of my hand.

So well, in fact, I began cutting corners because I knew no one would catch me.

I started leaving books in the wrong categories, playing “snake” on my Nokia cell phone in the inventory room while I “looked” for an item, and I started closing the store early almost every night.

One night, in particular, I locked the doors at 8:30 pm. We closed at 9:00 pm. My reasoning behind this was simple, I wanted to go home early. Plus no one wants to be that guy who walks in the last minute, right? Opening the cash register, I began closing out process. My thumb flipping through the dollar bills
45…
46…
47…

RATTLE

The door shook hard, I kept my head down so not to make eye contact.

“Pretend that you don’t hear it, Chris.”

The door tugs again and then the sound of wrestling of keys followed. I glanced my eyes towards the door, and to my horror, I realized it was the manager of the store.

My boss.

I knew I was in trouble as he opened the door and walked back to his office muttering “Come to my office.” As I followed him to the back of the store, I knew the likelihood of getting fired was very high. So I did what any “excellent” employee would do…I quit on the spot before he could fire me.

I knew he was going to shine a light on my character, and I was too scared to face my consequences. I handled the situation like a coward.

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What Does Scripture Say About Character?

“If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Let’s get some context so we can understand this passage. The Corinthian church was an amazingly gifted church. Paul writes about these gifts in verse 1-3 in the above passage. Then Paul slowly shifts gears and implies that you can have all these amazing gifts and still be nothing. As we read more of that passage, we see a darker side of the church that Paul is trying to point out. These people were impatient, critical, jealous, self-seeking, and easily angered.

Paul is saying you can perform all of these miracles by the Power of God, have dreams of revelations and not even be a Christian. It’s possible to do ministry through the power of God and not be aligned in his calling.

It’s possible to work at a Family Christian Store and not act like a Christian.

Having gifts without character will lead us to have huge blind spots in our leadership. There becomes this enormous disadvantage when relying solely on your skills and not your character. The disadvantage is that people think they’re more spiritually mature than they truly are. This then leads to the day where there is a pull at the locked doors, and the lack of your character is exposed.

As Christians, our character should be essential to who we are. I love what Tim Keller says about character in Christian ministry;

“Ministry is joy, but it’s like the joy of climbing a mountain. You must watch where you put your feet; you must know what you are standing on.”

Application

Character matters. Your work is important and the person you are becoming is just as important. Value helps shape our character. Understanding that there are distinct values that God has called us to have as Christians and as business owners. Answer the questions as below:

Value helps shape our character. Understanding that there are distinct values that God has called us to have as Christians and as business owners. Answer the questions as below:

1. Why do I admire who I admire?
2. Why do I buy what I buy?
3. Do you I give credit where credit is due?
4. Do I keep my promises?
5. The taxi driver gives you a blank receipt as he drops you off. You’re on an expense account. Do you write the correct amount?

Character is how you treat people who offer no value to you.

Focus on your character. It’s an integral part of we are and who we are becoming as people. Once you have your character in check, everything else will fall into place.

Benediction

May you understand that God has called us to live a life above reproach. That no matter how gifted we are, are gifts don’t matter unless we are actually living with character.

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