Years ago, I wanted to buy a used sports car.
I fell in love with this car and thought I had to have it. Martha and I discussed the car, and we were ready to purchase it.
Then, something happened that made me understand the car was not for me.
I was disappointed, but it was the right decision. That didn’t keep me from turning my head every time I saw a sports car like the one I wanted to buy.
Then, guess what happened! Martha gave me the sports car for Christmas.
No, not a car I could drive. She gave me a remote controlled sports car just like the real one I wanted.
We have laughed about that story for years. I told it a number of times in different venues.
You can imagine how I felt when a preacher told my story as if it had happened to him! After he told the story, I really didn’t listen to anything else he said.
How does a pastor use someone else’s material?
Pastors have a unique responsibility about integrity. Most pastors study extensively in order to preach, teach, and lead people. For example, I have three distinct preparations each week to preach and teach. Sometimes that extends to two or three additional preparations for other responsibilities I have.
In order to have something fresh and alive to speak, I need to study extensively.
How does the pastor use study material without plagiarizing or misusing someone else’s original material?
First, remember your integrity is everything. Nothing can take the place of it.
Second, give proper attribution to whatever you use. The man who told my story could easily have said, “my friend Waylon Bailey told this story.” Giving proper attribution would not have taken away from the humor or the point of the story, and it would not have destroyed his reputation in my eyes.
Most public speakers don’t mind being quoted. I often have this blog quoted or reprinted. It makes me feel good that others think it is helpful.
Authors and speakers do mind having their material stolen.
Integrity matters in all relationships. Your integrity is very important. Take good care of it.
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