When Ted Williams was forty years old and closing out his career with the Boston Red Sox, he was suffering from a pinched nerve in his neck.
“The thing was so bad,” he later explained, “that I could hardly turn my head to look at the pitcher.” . . . For the first time in his career he batted under .300, hitting just .254 with ten home runs. He was the highest salaried player in sports that year, making $125,000. The next year the Red Sox sent him the same contract.”When I got it, I sent it back with a note. I told them I wouldn’t sign it until they gave me the full pay cut allowed. I think it was twenty-five percent. My feeling was that I was always greated fairly by the Red Sox when it came to contracts.
“I never had any problem with them about money. Now they were offering me a contract I didn’t deserve. And I only wanted what I deserved.”
Williams cut his own salary by $32,250!
— Jerry White, Honesty, Morality, and Conscience
Integrity is rare. It is so rare that to the modern ear this story almost sounds absurd. The lack of integrity in our culture merely reflects its absence in the church. Almost twenty years ago, Warren Wiersbe wrote,
“We are facing an integrity crisis. Not only is the conduct of the church in question, but so is the very character of the church. The world is asking ‘Can the church be trusted?’ and how we answer is as important as what we answer.”
The early life of David is a lesson in the integrity we need. It was in the humility and seclusion of the sheepfold that God developed within David the character that qualified him to lead God’s people.
It is a time-affirmed principle that faithfulness to the common, daily routine of the ordinary task works to produce character and strengthen integrity. Years before David, God had prepared another great leader by placing him in isolation and there developing the character required. The years Moses spent in the desert were necessary to transform him from an arrogant, angry, self-willed Prince of Egypt into the “meekest man” (Numbers 12:3).
Over several posts, I want to think about the integrity of David as displayed in three distinct areas:
1) The life he lived
2) The lessons he learned
3) The Lord he loved
Perhaps this story, written “for our admonition,” will help us examine our own integrity.