1st Timothy 2:I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.
Honesty is a principle that should be cherished and practiced by every believing Christian. We live in a world that is riddled with fraud, lies, prevarication and dishonesty, but as Christians we should adopt and develop the habit of being honest, frank, and sincere in all that we do, think or say. One of the reasons for this admonition in the Bible is that it directly reflects on the character of God, since the word Christian really means "Little Christ", in other words, "What would Jesus do" in any given situation if he were in our shoes.
An account is given in the Bible of the interactions between a business owner and his employer, in which the business man tried to take advantage of his worker through covetousness. Laban had agreed to pay Jacob a certain remuneration for services rendered, but yielded to the temptation to change his wages when he saw that God's blessing was upon Jacobs commission. Let's read:
Genesis 30:27 And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake. 28 And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. 31 And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock. 32 I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire.
However, after agreeing to the terms set forth, Laban decided that Jacob's compensation was too much, and so, moved by covetousness, he removed all of the ring-streaked and speckled cattle from his herds and gave them to his own sons. In other words, what he was saying by his actions was that he desired Jacob to work for free. Let's read:
Genesis 30:34 And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. 35 And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36 And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
If this occurrence had happened only once, we could have concluded that Laban slipped up because of unforeseen circumstances, but as we continue to observe, we discover a disturbing pattern of behavior deeply rooted in Laban's character, a characteristic of premeditated dishonesty which should be avoided by all Christians like the plague. Let's read:
Genesis 31:4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5 And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
These particular incidents and their implications should cause every Christian to recoil from any appearance of dishonesty or prevarication, practices that are considered as normal business in many corporations around the globe. If an agreement has been made between employers and their employees, it should be held as sacred, for the contract thus entered into was not done only in the sight of mortal man, but also in the sight of God. For instance, if a company has agreed to offer shares and commissions to their employees for services rendered, the owners should not assay to change the terms of the agreement if the business turns extremely profitable. That's why David asks the all-important question of who will eventually be granted an abundant entrance into heaven. Let's read:
Psalms 15:1 Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.
To be a true Christian means much more than offering mere lip service and praise, and partaking in church activities. It includes seeking to pattern our lives after the perfect example of Christ through the power and grace made available to us by His Holy Spirit. God does not condemn anyone on account of sins committed, people are judged according to what was done with Jesus and the remedial salvation offered on Calvary.
It then behooves every Christian to make concentrated efforts by the grace of God to have all evil permanently uprooted from our hearts, so that we can serve our God and our fellowmen in sincerity and truth. Love is a verb, and therefore the manifestation of true love will always translate into practical godliness in all of the affairs of life. We therefore end with a passage of scripture designed to encourage the active exercise of the fruit of the Spirit. Let's read:
1st John1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
May this be the theme of our song as we travel towards God's kingdom. God bless!