How Low Will You Go?

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Bible Reading: Psalm 119:27-29

Keep me from deceitful ways. Psalm 119:29, NIV

THE PRESIDENT OF a company once called in one of his employees, the man re­sponsible for writing the company’s checks and paying the company’s bills.

“Smithers,” he said. “I’m in a tight spot, and I’m thinking you might be the man to help me out.”

“Yes sir,” Smithers answered. “I hope so, sir.”

“Tell me,” the president said. “If I gave you a bonus of, say, ten thousand dollars, would you tell a few lies to save me some money on my taxes?”

Smithers didn’t answer right away. Ten thousand dollars was a lot of money to him. He thought of all the things he could do with that much money. Finally, he leaned closer to the company president and winked. “I think I could do that,” he said, smiling.

The company president smiled slightly. “Thank you, Smithers,” he said. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

As the man turned and started walking to the door, the company president called him back. “Just a moment, Smithers,” he said. “Tell me—would you do it for ten dollars?”

“Ten dollars!” Smithers answered. His jaw dropped open. “What kind of a person do you think I am?”

“Oh, you’ve already told me that,” the company president said. “I’m just trying to find out how low you’ll go.”

Smithers had already shown his boss that he would be dishonest for a price. The company president thought that someone who would be dishonest for ten thousand dollars might also be dishonest for less.

You see, dishonesty is wrong—no matter what the price. It is wrong to be dishonest, no matter how much—or how little—money is involved. There is no dollar amount at which it becomes “right” (or excusable) to be dishonest. Not ten thousand dollars. Not ten million dollars. Not even ten gazillion dollars!

REFLECT: How about you? Is there a high amount of money that would persuade you to be dishonest? Is there a low amount that would persuade you to be dishonest (“it’s only a quarter, so what’s the big deal?”)? Do you think honesty is right no matter how much money is involved? Why or why not? Do you think honesty is right even when it’s “no big deal”? Why or why not?

PRAY: “Lord, please keep me from deceitful ways, like today’s Bible reading says. Help me to be honest even when it’s hard and even when it’s ‘no big deal.’”



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