Character Matters

Now Ephron dwelt among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the presence of the sons of Heth, all who entered at the gate of his city, saying, ‘No my lord, hear me: I give you the field and the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of the sons of my people. I give it to you. Bury your dead!’ Then Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land; and he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying. ‘If you will give it, please hear me. I will give you money for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there.’ And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, ‘My lord, listen to me; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver. What is that between you and me? So, bury your dead.’ And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants. So, the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field and the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were within all surrounding borders, were deeded to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city. And after this, Abraham buried his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. So, the field and the cave that is in it were deeded to Abraham by the sons of Heth as property for a burial place.”—Genesis 23:10-20 (NKJV)

There are tests in life that reveal character. In this account, Abraham has just lost his wife, Sarah. He is grieving and needs to find a burial place for her. 

Ephron, a pagan, honored Abraham by offering to donate the land for a burial site. Money was not the issue; the principle here was doing the right thing. If Abraham accepted the land for free, according to ancient culture it would have insulted Ephron, even though it was offered as a donation. So, Abraham chose to honor Ephron by purchasing the property. 

Abraham had an excellent testimony and reputation. Because Abraham was a child of God and God’s servant, he walked in humility before the Lord and the king. 

Likewise, every day you and I make business transactions. You may be a career salesperson just as I was many years ago. I sold cars, and as a young Christian, it seemed like fun to sell vehicles to make a living. Unbeknownst to me; however, was that my car company had a terrible reputation. Each day I became grieved with the company’s business practices. My manager even told me, “Think of every customer that comes on the lot as $100 in your pocket. However, you do not give a rip about the customer!” I knew at that moment I had to leave for personal convictions. 

The Lord calls us to conduct ourselves in every area of life with courtesy, fairness, and prudence. Scripture clearly instructs us to do everything decently and with order. God honors the person who honors Him and His Word.

God told Abraham that he would be blessed in every area of his life and would be a blessing to others (Genesis 12:1-3). God instructed Abraham to walk before the Lord and be blameless in all his choices and decisions. Abraham honored God and honored those with whom he had relationships. And as such, his life has been a testimony throughout the ages. 

Like Abraham, do what is right, go the extra mile, and show kindness. Micah 6:8 (NKJV) says, “He has shown you O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Your character matters.

DIG: Have you ever been in a compromising situation in a business deal? What was the outcome? Did you do the right thing?

DISCOVER: What would others say about your character? Read Proverbs 22:1.

DO: Be an example of a person of integrity and good reputation in your everyday decisions. 

About the Author

Jeff Seward