The Legacy of Integrity

There is a commonly made comparison between the lives of “Max Jukes” and Jonathan Edwards. Edwards lived a life of integrity and godliness, and Jukes lived a life of rebellion and ungodliness. Jukes was a criminal who’s descendants became criminals, prostitutes and alcoholics. Edwards was a Christian minister who’s descendants became ministers, college professors, authors, and government leaders.

For some, the point of the comparison is to show that good and bad character is in the genes. Others use it to show the value of education, or the power of opportunity. Some reject the facts in the stories and say there is nothing significant about it.

Regardless of how true some of the facts are about these stories, the principle found here is strong: a life lived with integrity leaves a positive legacy. Jukes v. Edwards is not the only comparison one can make. Think about some of the prominent leaders and criminals of history, and what sort of legacy they have left.

Above all, these stories prompt me to consider what sort of legacy I am leaving. Stan Toler says it well:

Integrity cannot be faked; the future will bring it to light… integrity isn’t available on eBay. Neither can you borrow it from another. It comes by diligent effort.1

For myself as a new pastor, this effort includes frequent prayer, Scripture reading, and a refusal to allow secular standards for leadership to infiltrate my ministry.

  1. Stan Toler, Practical Guide for Pastoral Ministry. (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2011), 60. []

A Response to “Marriage Isn’t For You”

I’ve seen this article floating around Facebook that has the title Marriage Isn’t For You, so I thought I’d read it and provide a critical response.

Maybe you haven’t read it, or don’t want to take the time to read it. Basically, the author is saying that marriage isn’t about my happiness, but about the happiness of my spouse. I think that’s a good sentiment, and it provides for a good emotional response, but the author missed the mark.

It’s true, marriage isn’t for me. But it’s also not for my wife, or to make her happy.

Marriage is for God and his glory.

Marriage is but a shadow of the wedding to come between Christ and the church. A successful marriage is not known by how happy the couple is, but how well it paints a picture of the real marriage to come when the church and Christ are united for all eternity (See Revelation 21).

The happiness of my wife is a really important part of keeping a strong marriage, but it is not the biblical goal for marriage. To say that my wife’s happiness is the end goal of marriage is to miss the point entirely. God has a much greater and more important vision for marriage.

If you are married, be aware that you are painting a picture for everyone to see. This is a picture of what the Apostle Paul calls “a great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32).

The picture you paint through your marriage will never come close to the true and eternal marriage that is to come. However, success and true joy in marriage will be experienced between a man and a woman who seek to honour this responsibility with all their strength and humble dependence on God.

The Final Year

Coffee and Writing at Jonny's

As I sit in what has been my favourite thinking spot this week, I had to take some time to share my thoughts about this coming year.

In less than two weeks I will be back in classes for my final year at Prairie, both as a student and a teacher. As I have been doing the last two years, I will be teaching some Web development classes in the Digital Media Program. I will also be continuing my internship in the President’s office at Prairie. Lord willing, I will graduate in April with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Pastoral Ministry.

People ask if I am excited to finish school. I have two responses:

1. Yes, because I am eager to start working in a church ministry position and continue studying in seminary.
2. Yes, because I would like to move on to a more permanent setting for our family.

It has been a blast these last three years, but we can’t help but feel like pilgrims on our way to something else. Our desire is to set down some roots in community where we can serve the Lord. The next several months will be a time of prayer and searching where exactly that will be.

As is the case with most senior students, it will be challenging at times to stay focused on the here and now. With a bunch of “-ology” classes and two levels of Biblical Greek ahead of me, not to mention some very large papers to write, I need to stay focused in order to complete my degree successfully by the time I am scheduled to walk across the stage in April.

So, I look forward to our final year at Prairie, with anticipation that it will be the best year yet!

Winter Hike in Canmore

Those who follow my posts know that our family loves to go hiking. Even in winter.

Hiking in Canmore January 2013

We consider it a tremendous privilege to live near such a beautiful place, so we don’t want to pass up any opportunity to get out there. If you want some ideas for great hiking spots around Canmore and Kananaskis, let me know. Also, check out my YouTube channel for a few more hiking videos.

Hiking at Grotto Canyon and Quarry Lake near Canmore.

Music is Britt Nicole, “Seeing for the First Time.” Buy it on iTunes.