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"It matters a great deal who is going to win, but not at all who won"

Willie John McBride, Irish Rugby player


I put Hanani in charge of charge of Jerusalem…because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do. Nehemiah 7:2

What would you like your epitaph to be? World champion? Olympic gold medallist? Successful in business? Nothing wrong with any of these but how does “a person of integrity who feared God more than most people do” sound?

At the end of the day, if you are world or Olympic champion, it lasts only for 4 years. World records are often soon broken. Character, on the other hand, lasts for ever.

Nehemiah takes two statements about Hanani: he was a man of integrity and he feared God. I think we could argue that he was a man of integrity because he feared God. I would also suggest that the two statements are separate and equally important.

First of all let us make sure we understand “fearing God”. This is not about being terrified and scared of God. It is about knowing our place, understanding that he is God and we are not. It is about respecting God, loving God, accepting God’s standards and principles. It is about taking our standards from God. It is about getting out relationship with God right.

The other part is living a life of integrity – a life based on fearing God and making his standards ours. Hanani was not a spin-doctor.*

As you compete, coach or administer sport today – or whatever you do – do it with integrity because you fear God.

*a person who works for a politician ensuring that any incident is presented to show the politician in a good light, irrespective of the facts!

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