Did you hear about the crooks in New York who came up with another innovative way to rip off people? They got a pile of cardboard boxes, newspapers, some stickers that read, “Factory Sealed,” a roll of bubble wrap plastic, and a bunch of shopping bags from Macy’s. They stuffed the boxes with newspaper, bubble wrap and a brick to give just the right feel.
They headed for the Holland Tunnel to swindle the rush hour crowd. When the traffic backed up in the tunnel the con-artists went to work. They walked up to unsuspecting commuters and pitched the sale, “Hey man, I got a Sony Handicam here. . .just got it off a Fed Ex truck.” He lifts the counterfeit out of the bag, “Macy’s sells ’em for $999.” Looking around nervously, “I’ll take 90 bucks cash.” The car edges forward in the traffic and the thief gets earnest, “Okay, man, I’ll let you have it for forty-five. Take it or leave it.” Many took it. Even thinking it was stolen merchandise!
Someone later asked how it felt to rip off people by selling them empty boxes. One of the criminals replied, “Hey, man, I’m not beating an honest man. No one buys hot unless they’ve got larceny in their heart.”
That little story was a wake up call to me. If I want to pass a test of character like that, I must discipline myself now. I must come to terms with, and bring into subjection, that “larceny” I know exists in my heart. I know its in me. And believe it or not its in you too. There’s a little larceny in all of our hearts. We were born with it in our nature.
So how do you get rid of it? Well, it takes a power greater than you. It starts with Jesus. And then it takes discipline. And that takes time. Integrity cannot be suddenly manufactured. It must be slowly cultivated through small victories of the will. And yet without it we will be forever trading our reputations for an empty box.
Listen to the counsel of sage Solomon in Proverbs.
He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9)
That’s the good news, now have a great day.