I have heard it said, and you probably have heard the same, the greatest sermon you will ever preach is the one you live. It is the life you put on a display that tells the world of your character, of your priorities, of your love. I believe this is an important sentiment to remember, for as a society, we seem to be losing our grasp on the importance of good character. We see from people of so-called “renown” such as celebrities and leaders, a complete shedding of character. We also increasingly see it in our families and communities. As Christian, we may feel that exalting character is a losing battle and may be tempted to join in with the crowd.
There is something else that needs to consider before we throw off the importance of character and join in with the seeming masses. You are a unique creation. God made you, and there is only one of you. In a world that tells us we are but one of 6 or 7 billion, we need to know that God made us uniquely individual. There is a unique influence that comes with that unique creation. Since you are the only you, no one has the same impact as you do. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, or whomever, you relate to this world with particular influence. That means what you do and how you do it does have an impact. Character does matter.
You see, it is not that character has lost its significance; it is that lousy character has taken the lead. Character does have power, which means that the display of good character has within its power as well.
On the news a few years ago, there was a story about a police officer in New York City. He has made the news for doing a remarkable deed. It wasn't for saving someone from a wrecked vehicle or staring down a shooter or arresting a would-be murderer; all of those things are remarkable in themselves. A picture emerged of this police officer, and it went “viral” as we call it. It spread through social media and ended up on the news. The man involved was never aware, until after the sudden fame, of the gravity of his act. You see, he was working one night and came across a homeless man. It was cold, the officer had even mentioned in one interview how he wore two sets of socks and was still freezing, yet this homeless man was barefoot.
After speaking with the man for a short time, he left him, seemingly as many would, to go on his way. The officer had instead gone to a local shoe store. He had inquired of the shoe size of this man and set out to get him some warm shoes. He got some thermal boots, the retail clerk was moved by the act of the officer and so let him use his employee discount, bringing the cost of the boots down from $100 to $75.
Having purchased the boots he returned to the homeless man, not just giving him the boots, but helping him put them on. The picture that went viral across the internet captured the moment. The story spoke of how the officer now keeps the receipt from the purchase in his chest pocket to remind him that some people are dealing with worse, to be grateful for his life.
You stop and realize with this one good deed, this moment of amazing character, hundreds of thousands of people were drawn into it. Character does matter. Your character matters. You can change this world for the better but it first starts with you. Do not give in to the lie that good character does not matter. Embrace it and live it. Change your world one deed, one person at a time.
This would also be a good time to remind you that there is a God in heaven who created you to be a unique individual with a unique influence. He desires that you would know Him and His Son whom He gave for your sins, that you might free from the power and subjugation of sin. That you might be an ambassador for Jesus unto the world. For the greatest gift, the highest good is to share with this dying world, the gospel that sets men free. May God bless you as you seek His ways in this world.