How Would You Like to Make $500 an Hour?
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Ephesians 4:28
Once in jail, I met a man who explained his moral dilemma. When he was out, he knew he could get a regular job for $12 an hour, making $500 a week, or he could do what he knew best – selling drugs – and make $500 an hour. He knew the risks. He was sitting in jail for distributing drugs. The lure of the money though, was profound. It’s tough to work hard for $12 an hour when you know you can easily make a hundred times that in a day.
Money is seductive and greed had caused him a tremendous amount of misery, but still, he knew that when he got out, he was going to be faced with the same decision. At the time I met him, it seemed he hadn’t made up his mind. His only reason not to sell drugs was the legal consequences. In this mindset, the law was simply an enemy to be circumvented. If he could sell and not get caught, then honestly, why wouldn’t he do it? The math was simple.
In today’s passage, Paul taught that there’s another reason to choose an honest day’s work – because it’s the right thing to do. As disciples of Christ, we must follow his will, which means living according to right and wrong. Working for an honest wage and sharing with those in need is right. Stealing and dealing drugs is obviously wrong.
We may not struggle with robbing banks or selling drugs, but the lesson still applies to our attitude towards money. When faced with an opportunity to cheat on our taxes, if we knew we wouldn’t get caught, would we do what’s right? When the cashier at the store accidentally gives us too much change in return, do we give it back? Do we do the job we’re paid to do, or do we cut corners, cheating our employer? Do we share with those around us in need, or do we keep everything for ourselves?
Money is seductive and greed makes us selfish. We justify this though because we deserve it, and we know we can get away with it. Again, this may be as simple as refusing to help our neighbors in need. If we’ve been saved by God though, he’s saved us for a radically different life, one that serves others, not just ourselves. Because he’s saved us, we must choose honesty, integrity, and charity, loving God and loving those around us – even with our finances.