One of our core ideas in SWAT is Integrity. We talk about it every training and every meeting. But it seems we often can only define it with other similarly abstract traits--honesty, honor, valor--to which we perpetually ask: well what do those mean? And because of these half-definitions, we don't necessarily strike the depth of the word 'integrity.'
Now, I'm no scholar but I'm starting to see where this word is more complex and more exciting than we may realize. I like to imagine that 'integrity' shares roots with the word 'integral.' However, it may not make sense at first; it's probably not intuitive to think a math concept gets its name from the word for 'honesty.' But rather, consider the opposite: what if 'honesty' receives its name from mathematics?
Think about it: in calculus, an integral is a sum of parts. Essentially, every point or output value of a function is totaled to find the area under a curve. In other words, every value makes a contribution and the goal is to understand the collection of those contributions. The crux of the concept of the integral is that every part matters--the reason you account for every single part and work with tiny differentials--but the focus is finding the larger sum or the collective effort.
Now step away from math for a moment; use 'integral' in a sentence. Go ahead.
Perhaps you say something like, "So and so has an "integral-role" in the so and so..."
In this sentence, swapping integral with a synonym like 'important' or 'significant' doesn't quite do the phrase justice, does it? Integral doesn't just suggest importance, it implies the object of the verb is part of a group. An integral role is an important role 'among' many other roles.
You're probably starting to understand my point, so let me put it ALL together: life isn't about you. (I'm not sorry.) You're far too small. There is a much larger work going on in the world. God is being glorified among the nations and the entire universe testifies to his power just with its existence. Not for a second can we think that a king with a glory as infinite and incalculable as his can be equaled by our futile problems and selfish ambitions. His dream is so much bigger. But......this doesn't mean your dreams are over; it just means you get to be a part of His--in which YOU have an integral role.
In SWAT, specifically, one leader enters one host home: one-for-one. If that one leaders does not act with honor and intention in that home, those students won't be reached. There's no one else to occupy that space. No other person to speak or act. In other words, that leader holds the opportunity to make a unique contribution to a larger purpose.
So whoever you are and wherever you are, I humbly ask:
Today, will you live a life of integrity?
Will you be faithful in whatever space you've been given--whether it be Kenya, Alabama, or Dunwoody?
Will you serve even if no one's watching?
Friend, you're not at the center of this equation. You can't compete. But, you do get to play an integral role in the plan. However big or small, we have the privilege of playing a part in the global purpose of an astoundingly good God.
Seriously, how awesome is that?
~ Kyle Wade