Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Money May Come and Go but Integrity is Forever

Things do not seem to be as black and white as they were back in the day.  We live in a society crumbling in a torrent of moral decay.  When it comes to doing the right thing, there are now these levels of gray. 

I believe in integrity, the value of honesty, being upright and truthful. Our God is a God of honor and integrity, when He promises something He always delivers and we should strive to be like Him. Anything less than this is deceitful and wrong.  You may get away with something once, but you can be sure your sins will find you out.  "The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them." ~ Proverbs 11:3.  While I am far from perfect and do not always make the best choices, God helping me, I try to live a life of integrity. I would much rather be guided by a conscious of integrity than destroyed by greed or living in the perversion of truth.

My integrity was recently put to the test.  Not by others, which would of course make the decision to do right quite easy, but instead I was tested in the cloak of secrecy where only I would be aware of the decision, held accountable only by my own conscious.  A true barometer of integrity is that which you do when no one else is looking and I was about to be measured.

I and a friend had the privilege of purchasing Christmas gift bags for the homeless this past December. We included Tim Horton Gift Certificates, Heat Packets, Wool Socks, Mitts, Hats, Toiletries etc.  In total we spent about $500.00 some of which was donated and receipts submitted and a portion of it which was personally contributed.  We spent $238.00 at this one store, getting a majority of the smaller items needed.  Once we had everything we went back to my place, and assembled the 20 gift bags.  A few weeks later, I was looking at my bank account transactions online and noticed that the $238.00 had indeed gone through as a debit, but then a separate transaction was completed immediately after it reversing the charges.  This was not an NSF, nor was it a Debit Error. The gift bags had all been given out, all the receipts for the purchases had been submitted by this time and accounted for.  I was not sure what to think, my first thought was that this was a great blessing, that perhaps the person behind us in line or the cashier had decided to donate the cost of the supplies.  I only say that because they had asked what we were buying all the items for and we had responded "to give to the homeless". 

I had talked to a few different people and asked them what there thoughts were, what would they do with the $238. Many replied take it as a blessing, a gift.  Nice thought - God knows I could use it - in fact an unexpected bill had gone through in the interim, that was covered as a result of that money being there.  If I am honest, for a moment, I did in fact consider keeping it. My heart however was not comfortable with this.  I decided I would wait to see if it was reversed at months end, by the bank or the store.  That has not transpired, so I am going to go back to the store, to try to find the specific cashier who served me (as I do not want them to get in trouble if it was an error) and let it be known what I have found and return the money.  Psalm 25:21 says "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you".

It would be really easy to keep the money, and in fact I could use it, but the real cost of keeping it is more than I can afford. No matter how badly I could use the money, I know I must make every attempt to give it back. Failing that I think the next best thing is to spend it on additional items for the homeless, as that is what it was originally designated for. Money may come and go but integrity is forever "Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich" ~ Proverbs 28:6

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