My office is in a bank building. I don’t work for a bank; we just lease office space on the second floor of their building. We are the only other tenants in the building. I pass through the bank lobby a good bit and interact with the bank employees often.
Yesterday after lunch with my husband, he dropped me off in the bank parking lot. As I walked around his car toward the building I noticed some folded money on the sidewalk. I picked it up and saw it was one twenty dollar bill and one ten dollar bill. A few steps away there was another ten dollar bill. Scott, leaning out of the driver’s side car window of his car, pointed to yet another ten dollar bill a few more feet beyond where we I was standing. Fifty dollars.
Everything costs more and more every day. Every month we squeeze a little harder just to keep the bills paid. Fifty dollars would not even fill up my car with gas. My last trip to Walgreens cost $93. We ate at Wendy’s for lunch that day and for just the two of us the bill was $16. At Wendy’s!! We sure could use an extra $50.
Scott looked at me and said, “Do the right thing.”
He knew what I was thinking. He knew I wanted to put that money in my pocket. He knew we could really use a little extra cash right now.
I went inside the building and up the elevator to my office. Then I made a trip to the bathroom. The whole time I was thinking about the money. Something about actually holding it in my hand made me want to be possessive about it. As difficult as it was, I took the money back downstairs to the bank told one of the employees about finding it outside. She said she would put it in an envelope and hold it in the vault in case someone came back claiming they had lost $50 somewhere between the teller line and their car.
I don’t know who dropped the money. I don’t know if that was their last $50. Or maybe it was someone who didn’t really need the money and is not even aware that they dropped it. I don’t really know for sure that the bank employee actually put it in the vault. And if she did, how long will it stay there and what will they do with it when they find it six months from now and wonder where it came from?
What I do know is that it was not mine.
Those four words, “do the right thing,” reminded me that blessings from God don’t usually come at the expense of others. To claim something as mine that isn’t really mine would be stealing. It would be stealing not only the money, but someone else’s joy and blessing too.
I was tempted, but it wasn’t mine to keep.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13