But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance. (Luke 8:15 NRSV Bible)
There is a cartoon that shows a company president announcing to his staff, “Gentlemen, this year the trick is honesty.” From one side of the conference table, a vice president gasps, “Brilliant.” Across the table, another VP mutters, “But so risky!”
A cartoon in “New Yorker” magazine: Two clean-shaven middle-aged men are sitting together in a jail cell. One inmate turns to the other and says: “All along, I thought our level of corruption fell well within community standards.”
We have a crisis in our land–a crisis of honesty, integrity, ethics, morality, what the Bible calls “righteousness.” Our newspapers and magazines abound with stories of people and corporations who have slipped and fallen. You could probably name several recent examples off the top of your head, some really well known people and companies. We have become a nation of cheaters. Sometimes we cheat a little. Sometimes a lot. Is it that big a deal? The answer is a resounding “Yes.”
A man confessed to his pastor that he stole something–a hammer from the steel mill where he worked. Everybody was doing it, he said. No big deal. His pastor, though, told him about a report in the newspapers that thefts at this particular mill averaged out to a thousand dollars a week. His hammer along with what others were taking was costing the company over $50,000 a year. “To make up for that loss,” his pastor noted, “the factory raises the price of steel. Consequently, everyone who buys a car, purchases an appliance, remodels his house, etc., has to pay the price for your hammer. You didn’t hurt the company,” his pastor assured him, “you hurt everybody in this city.” And that’s true. We hurt the entire society when integrity is not maintained, and we also hurt the witness of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, forgive me for the times when I have failed you by not being truly honest. May honesty be my best policy. In Jesus name, Amen.