What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” Acts 5:4b
Last night I attended a fundraiser for CASA of the Fox Cities. As we were leaving the event I found a total of $19 dollars scattered on the floor. I asked a man closest to me if it was his and he said, “No, keep it.” Another woman within an earshot said, “Here”, with her hand extended, “Give it to me, I’ll give it to the bartenders as a tip.” I graciously declined both offers and preceded to the registration table to give it to the C.A.S.A. staff. My hope and intention was that the owner of the money would inquire and they could return it to that individual. As I explained this to the staff they stood frozen, starring at me in disbelief; they couldn’t believe I wasn’t just pocketing the money. Moreover, I told them if the rightful owner didn’t claim it that they should keep it as a donation to the cause. I could still feel their eyes affixed to me as I walked out the door.
As I drove home I analyzed people’s reaction. I was, and still am, amused. The first person took the “finders keepers” approach and even quizzed me of what size denomination it needed to be for me to keep it, “What if it was $100 dollars he said?” I replied, “It isn’t mine, maybe I would keep it if it were a penny.” He was baffled. The second wanted to take matters into her own hands, which was not a bad option actually, yet all of them were stunned that someone was actually trying to being honest.
Really? The world has gotten to the place where honesty is shocking?
The timing of this happening is perfect, because it ties in perfectly with the lesson I am teaching my class of 3rd graders today. Ananias and Sapphira did not tell the truth. Instead, they lied. God took their foolish dishonesty and used it to teach us that we need to be honest and tell the truth all the time. I asked the kids what they would have done and reminded them that God sees everything that what we do, think and say. I could have kept the money, nobody would have known, or seemingly cared, but I didn’t feel right about that – it wasn’t mine.
I could have given it to the bartenders as an act of generosity and appreciation, but I didn’t feel right about that either. Instead, I felt was the right thing to do was to attempt to find its rightful owner and, even today, I am at peace with my decision. I hope my story and God’s example from Acts 4:32-5:11 teaches all of us to be honest, not lie or try to hide/cover up our actions.
Perhaps the easiest way to be set apart for Christ is by our shocking, counter-cultural actions. Maybe, just maybe, we can turn their stunned looks into a curiosity that opens a conversation about who we are and why we’re different. As Christ followers, I am convinced that we say so much more with our actions than our words so let’s show who Christ is, not stand on a platform of persuasion. I hope that $19 was returned and someone out there was grateful for my honesty, but if they didn’t, I hope all of us can feel good about helping an organization, even in a small way, that helps children as Court Appointed Support Advocates (CASA).
A special thank you the the board, committee members, CASA advocates and the Appleton Airport for hosting such a fun, worthy and impactful event.