BOTH ADVERSITY AND PROMINENCE confront our equilibrium, but prominence is perhaps the more challenging test. The classic example is David.
[God] chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.
As God scanned the Judean landscape in search of Saul’s successor, He found a youth in his mid-teens who possessed a unique combination: the humility of a servant, the heart of a shepherd, and the hands of a skilled hunter.
And by his thirtieth birthday, Jesse’s youngest son held the premier office in the nation. King. At his fingertips were a vast treasury, unlimited privileges, and enormous power.
And how did he handle such prominence? Read that final verse again. He shepherded the nation “with a true heart.” Despite his limitations and imperfections, he was one of the few who passed the test of prominence.
If so, when you give your word, you do it. Exactly as you said you would. Because integrity means you are verbally trustworthy. Furthermore, when bills come due, you pay them. Because integrity means you are financially dependable. Also, when you’re tempted to mess around with an illicit sexual affair, you resist. Because integrity means you are morally pure. You don’t fudge because you’re able to cover your tracks. Neither do you fake it because you’re now a big shot. Being successful doesn’t give anybody the right to call wrong right. Or the okay to say something’s okay if it isn’t okay.
Adversity or prominence—both are tough tests on our balance. To stay balanced through either—ah, that demands integrity. The swift wind of compromise is a lot more devastating than the sudden jolt of misfortune.