"When Nobody's Looking"
November 12, 2014
For the Word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. Psalms 33:4-5
Today's devotion begins with an off-duty police sergeant for the California Highway Patrol (CHP). I would share her name, but the media has honored her request for anonymity.
At any rate, the officer was driving in Concord, California, when she had to swerve to avoid two bags that were in the middle of the road. Curious, the lady turned around and removed the two bags from the road and brought them into her car. Further investigation showed the two bags were stuffed with $100 bills.
Immediately, she looked around to see if anybody was looking for the bags ... or if some camera might have recorded the vehicle, which had lost them. There was no person; there was no camera.
The CHP officer took the bags home and, having counted, was shocked to find she had recovered $120,000. One of her friends said, "Keep the money." Her children agreed she should "Hold on to the cash." I don't know, but there may well have been a little voice whispering the same tempting advice into her ear: "Keep the money. After all, no one will ever know."
To make a long story short, the officer didn't keep what she had found. Instead, she turned it in at the local police department, and those officers made sure it was given to the man who had reported losing exactly that amount as he was driving along the highway.
When she was asked to explain just why she had given back the untraceable money, the officer replied, "Nobody would have known. But that's what determines a person's integrity: it's what you do when nobody is looking."
Integrity: that's a word you don't hear being used very often, is it?
Maybe because integrity today is in such short supply. Maybe in this sinful world integrity has always been in short supply. Too many governments, businesses, families and individuals seem to make their decisions based on whether anyone will see them doing something wrong, or whether they can make a clean "get away" without getting caught.
Doing what's right because it's the right thing to do is an old-fashioned idea.
But it's also an idea in which the Lord believes. If you read through the Bible, you will see that God keeps His Word. Always. Period. End of reading. Search the pages of Scripture and you will quickly realize that God does what is right because it's part of who He is. All of this means when the Lord tells you something you can trust Him, you can take His promise to the bank, including His promise which says, "My Son has lived, died and risen so all who believe on Him as Savior are forgiven and saved."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that You can be trusted. May the whole world learn You are a God of grace, love, mercy and integrity. This I pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries