Doing What’s Right When No One Is Looking

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)

Several years ago, former University of Oklahoma football great, and then Congressman J.C. Watts, stood on the platform at the Republican National Convention and said something about integrity that I will never forget. Watts defined integrity as “doing what’s right when no one is looking.”

This is the one time of the year when our integrity will be at its greatest risk. Why? Because it’s income tax season! While we may not want to admit it, many of us are tempted to cheat; to overstate what we gave to our church and other important charities, or to understate our income, just to name a few. If we’re really savvy, we can go on the Internet and find websites that will tell us just how far we can push the envelope. In other words, how much we can cheat with a minimal risk of getting caught.

Just this week, I experienced the temptation to cheat. I realized after speaking with my accountant that what I thought was a tax deduction was not a legitimate deduction. Obviously, I could claim the deduction with a very low likelihood that I would ever be audited. The difference was about $1,500, which is no small matter in the Ruffin home.

I decided to go for it, to claim the deduction and take my chances. However, no sooner than I had made up my mind, conviction flew all over me. I knew immediately that the Holy Spirit was giving me a reality check. As much as I wanted to take that deduction, I couldn’t do it. It just wouldn’t be right.

We hear the expression all the time about how God is faithful, and indeed He is faithful. Yet, we sometimes fail to realize that we, too, are expected to be faithful to God. After all, if souls are to be won to Christ, it will happen largely by what others see us do and say. Someone is always looking.

God let me know the very next day how much He agreed with my decision. My daughter had an insurance claim to report and I called the agent to inquire about my policy. Before we hung up, she said, “By the way, I’ve got some good news.” She then told me that my semi-annual cost for my automobile policy was going to drop several hundred dollars. “That’s a blessing from God,” I told her.

Does God really bless us when we prove ourselves to be faithful? You better believe He does! In fact, Deuteronomy 28:1-2 says, “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

I don’t get up every day expecting blessings from God, but I am thankful for each and every one that comes along. I know my life is blessed, not so much from what I do, but rather from what He did for me.

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