Integrity test

January 26, 2009

by Rev. Lyndon Korhonen, Good Shepherd Free Lutheran, Cokato

The other day, I went to wash my car before I put it up for sale. I pulled into the stall and began putting in my quarters.

I heard the first one drop straight through and come out in the coin return. I put in another one, and the timer went to 2:15 and the water started spraying.

I felt like I was in an ATM with cash flying out! What could I do, but start washing?

After I finished, I went inside the laundromat to see if there was an attendant to whom I could pay my quarters. Nobody was around.

So, I left and drove to put my car out for sale. As I was waiting for my wife to pick me up, I wondered if I had left anything in unchecked corners of the car. I thought about the tray beneath the drink holder, where items sometimes fall.

I removed the tray and there, to my surprise, were two car wash tokens and a quarter, along with a tire pressure gauge. I was thankful for those waiting minutes that allowed me to find those items.

When I got back to my office, I called the laundromat/car wash, but again, nobody answered, and there was no answering machine.

So, now came the test. After dinner, I had planned to wash my pickup, which was very dirty from our last trip up north. When I went back to the car wash, which stall should I go into? Would I go to the same one, hoping to get a free wash or a quarter wash? If the same thing happened, would I find a way to rightly pay the amount for my two car washes?

Does God see what we do at the car wash? Did He remind me to look under that tray in the car to find those two tokens and a quarter?

Do the decisions we make in private have any impact on other people? If I owned the car wash, would I want someone to tell me that one stall was giving free car washes? Do I need to love my neighbor as myself? If I am not honest with quarters, will I be honest on April 15 in paying my taxes?

Do I really believe God sees and is involved with everything I do? Is he pleased when I call to report free car washes, and try to return to pay for them?

Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”

Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they which love Thy law.”

Life is sweeter and more peaceful when we live in integrity before God, rather than in getting all the free stuff we can while taking advantage of our neighbor. May we seek to honor our God when the next integrity test comes our way.