We left camp at 2 p.m. Our mission: cross four major obstacles in the confidence course.
At youth camp in the Philippines this summer I served as counselor for eight boys, and in this activity we were learning wilderness survival.
The first obstacle was the 40-foot-high vertical wall climb. As we ascended, it started to rain. The holds became slippery from mud on our shoes. We hoisted up our firewood, water jug and food supplies, and rappelled 40 feet back down.
Then darkness fell and rain poured down. We were cold and wet, and it was pitch black except for the illumination from our flashlights.
The second obstacle was a 50-meter pulley slide across a deep ravine. We crossed that chasm with both arms clutching firewood and supplies instead of grasping the pulley handles!
Before dinner, we crossed obstacle three—a 25-meter Monkey Bridge over another deep ravine. Then we cooked rice inside a bamboo tube and baked chicken and bread over an open fire. The food didn't cook very fast due to the hard rain.
Finally, we faced the mud tunnel, arguably the toughest obstacle. Due to the heavy downpour, it was slippery as oil, sloping gradually upward, getting narrower and steeper as we went. At last each of us entered a small concrete tube about 18 inches in diameter, squeezing our tired bodies through its 20- to 30-foot length.
Cheering each other on, every single camper successfully passed that confidence course, arriving at our campsite by 11 p.m.
What I failed to tell you: We had each been given a raw egg to carry over the course and to return unbroken and uncracked. Imagine the challenge of carrying a raw egg over all those obstacles!
The girls arrived with 100 percent of their raw eggs intact! For the guys, about 50 percent were cracked, broken…or eaten! I secured mine in a handkerchief tied around my neck where it survived a lot of close calls.
Our integrity is like that egg. We have to guard it with our life. It takes determination, vigilance and careful planning. You have to determine—before you even set out on a journey—to keep it whole and intact through all the obstacles, struggles, temptations, pressures and trials you will face.
You cannot be absentminded or careless. It's so easy to break it, crack it, smash it or drop it—especially when you're tired, cold, hungry or under extreme pressure.
Integrity is defined as "adherence to moral and ethical principles; the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished; a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition." It means doing the right thing, even when it's difficult or unpopular. Either you have integrity or you don't.
Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, recently named by Fortune magazine as the world's richest billionaire ($62 billion), was once asked what he looks for in people to hire. "Three things," he said. "Integrity, intelligence, and energy—and if they don't have the first one, the other two don't count!"
That's how important integrity is. God puts it this way: "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold" (Proverbs 22:1, emphasis added).
To learn more about how to carry your integrity egg, read "Join the Few, the Called, the Chosen."
Integrity is the most important quality you can possess. Guard it—don't break it! VT