“Opinion is a flitting thing, but truth outlasts the sun.” –Emily Dickinson
One night the three bodyguards of King Darius were standing post when one had a novel idea to pass the time. One guard proposed that each bodyguard would write down what the strongest thing on earth was and give it to the king. Darius would be so dazzled by the winner’s wisdom that riches and titles would surely follow. The guards slipped their answers in the king’s bedchamber, and the next morning Darius summoned the guards to elaborate on their solutions to the riddle.
The first guard said wine was the strongest because it makes men weak and a fortune can be spent on chasing flagons. The second’s answer was the king, for he rules and makes laws that all must follow. The third guard countered his predecessors by quipping that women are stronger than either wine
or the king. Women give birth to kings and cultivate the vineyards where wine is produced. There was a caveat to the third guard’s statement—truth conquers all. For their strengths, wine, kings, and women can all be unrighteous. However, the truth that God will judge us for our actions makes everything else insignificant.
The story is taken from the Old Testament Apocrypha book of Esdras, and the third guard was Zerubbabel. He would go on to build the second temple after the Babylonian captivity. The lessons to the story are boundless. Humble beginnings are not indicative of future greatness. The trappings of the world can distract everyone from their goals. All things should be done with integrity because we are accountable to one who’s mightier than bosses or shareholders. No matter how fat our checkbook or ostentatious our office, acting on truth will always make one a success.
Truth Conquers All: Accelerators
- In what ways do you have a tendency to skirt the truth?
- In what situations does your work, your project, or your workplace reward you for being less than completely truthful?
- In what ways can you recommit to speaking truth in all situations, inside and outside of your work?
Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author of “The Innovator’s Field Guide” and “The Top Performer’s Field Guide.” He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor and Innovation Junkie, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas. Jeff helps organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at InnovationJunkie.com.