Integrity Invites Scrutiny

Erwin McManus' words came to mind as I read a portion of the Old Testament recently, “The world doesn’t need more great leaders, it needs more great people who lead.”

The life of Samuel is provoking on so many different levels.  He maintained his integrity even being around men with serious deficiencies in this area like a priest named Eli and a King named Saul.

Samuel almost single handedly had to lead Israel during a dark time spiritually and yethe was able to finish strong. (I Samuel 12:1-5)
To be able to stand up at the end of his life and invite scrutiny from the very people he spent the past few decades leading is an amazing statement to his character and integrity.
The responses of his followers found in I Samuel 12:4 are incredibly helpful for any parent or person serving in leadership.
#1 “You have not defrauded us.”
For this group of people to never have felt misled or falsely guided by Samuel is an amazing statement.  Samuel never made empty promises and never led the people down a path leading to a dead end.  He never led them for his own benefit.
#2 “You have not oppressed us.”
It’s been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely. 
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”  Samuel never abused his spiritual leadership.  He never developed the poor practice of resorting to fear, control or manipulation even when the people of Israel would not respond to the Word of God!
#3 “You have not taken anything from any man’s hand.”
Samuel never stole or accepted a bride to sway his influence.  A person that cannot be bought, no matter what the price is what our world is looking for. With our current crisis of credibility happening all around us, a look at the life of Samuel is incredibly refreshing. William Shakespeare could have easily used the prophet Samuel for the poster child of his famous quote, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”