Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jameis Winston incident leads me to ask "How much is your integrity worth?"

Ok, so you have to admit that many of the facebook and internet memes that are going around regarding the Jameis Winston and Publix crab legs incident are funny. Even more so if you are a Gator fan and maybe not so much if you are a fan of the college out west. But it begs a bigger question. How much is your integrity worth? And by "your", I also include mine!

No really, how much would it take for you to try to steal something, get away without paying for something, to not return an overage given to you by a cashier? Would you be okay with keeping something that cost a quarter? What about $100? Or maybe even a $100,000? What amount would someone have to dangle in front of you to get you to cash in your integrity? Whatever you think about Jameis as football player or as a man, hasn’t that been hurt just a little by the fact that he somehow forgot that he didn’t go through the line or forgot to put the crab legs out of the shopping basket or cart and onto the checkout line? And that was for only $32. So if you want to know what his integrity is worth to him, just check the receipt to see how much he saved by shoplifting at Publix today! Those who don't shop at Publix may not get the irony in that last statement but that is what every cashier at Publix tells you when they hand you your receipt!

Where do you and I cut corners in our lives? Do we not put in a full day of work and then say we did? How much is our integrity worth? Do we try to “take” others when we are in a position to sell them something extra they don’t need or try to get an extra discount for something just because we are in the ministry? How much is our integrity worth? Do we not pay our taxes because we think the government will misuse the funds? Ok, so maybe that one wouldn’t qualify! Nope it still does, how much is your integrity worth?

Maybe there is something in all of us that wants to get something for nothing in this life. We think we will feel better if we have it and perhaps there is a rush in getting away with something forbidden or stolen as the old adage goes. But the reality is if we are a child of God, this cannot be our attitude anymore. We are to look out for the good of others first. I remember the day my bank teller gave me $100 more in cash than I had asked for at the drive through. I didn’t count it until I stopped to turn out of the parking lot. When I went back to give it to her, she argued with me that she hadn’t made a mistake until I showed her my receipt and the cash amount she gave me back. It didn’t show up in her records. Had I driven away no one would have ever known but me and God. But she would have had to make up the difference when her drawer didn’t match up. My gain would have hurt her. How much is your integrity worth both to you and those you come in contact with every day?

David knew the value of his integrity when he wrote in Psalm 41:12 “You supported me because of my integrity and set me in Your presence forever.” Maybe your integrity is more valuable than you thought?

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