The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
As an armored truck passed by the Los Angeles bus stop where he was sitting alone last Monday night, Ascension Franco Gonzales saw a clear plastic bag tumble onto the street. The vehicle kept going. The guards inside it were totally unaware that part of their load had fallen out.
Mr. Gonzales went over and saw bundles of $20 bills. The 22-year-old man actually feared for his life -- afraid that someone would see him with the clear bag and kill him for its contents! So he began walking with it and looking through trash cans for something opaque enough to cover it.
With the money concealed in a sack, he took a taxi home. He told eight of his friends what had happened, and they tried to help him decide what to do. Gonzales, after all, is not a wealthy man. He makes $1,300 a month washing dishes -- and sends $800 of that amount to his family in Mexico. He is an undocumented immigrant in the United States whose money has been used by his family to do such things as pay for an indoor toilet and for a cousin's funeral.
In the meanwhile, the armored truck company had discovered that some money was missing -- a total of $203,000, all in cash. Police began a fruitless search. The possibility of an inside job at the company was being discussed. And nobody had any clues that would have reasonably led to Mr. Gonzales.
"Are you going to keep it?" asked his friends. "Or are you going to return it?" Gonzales wrestled with the question. On Tuesday morning, a TV news show broadcast a story about the missing money. This is the part of the report that Gonzales remembers most vividly: "The announcer asked whether there was anyone in Los Angeles who was honest enough to hand in so much money."
Around 11:00 a.m. that day, he called the police. Officers came quickly and counted the cash. It was all still there. "I am surprised and pleased," said a detective. What a sad commentary that such honesty astounds us.
Question: What would you have done? More important question: What do you do with company postage, office long distance, petty cash, or other items at your disposal each day? The real test of honesty is in the little things of life.
Good character isn't created in moments of crisis or novel opportunity, just revealed. And honesty, like all the virtues, is a habit learned through practice.
Dear Lord, We pray today that we would be honest in the small things that confront us each and every day. Help us be honest today in everything. IN Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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