As you well know, the elders of the church in Benoni and I have been working on cutting branches off trees to give more visibility to the church for those driving past and for those in the grounds to see out into the streets. Over a period, we have been obtaining quotes to have the branches and leaves plus some other rubble removed.
One chap drove by the church and stopped to speak about him removing the rubble at a price. He checked it all out, and we agreed on R1,200 should the church council accept the quote. Later something disturbed me … he said: “This is my boss’ truck and I can move the rubble for you.” This made me very uncomfortable because I as a pastor and we as a church could be complicit in him ‘stealing’ his boss’ truck and fuel to move our rubble yet make money for himself.
On Wednesday past I found a flyer stuck on the church gate advertising tree felling, rubble removal, etc. I called the name on the flyer. He asked me to send him pictures of what I wanted removed. Although he started off at a higher price, we settled on R1,200. He was to come on Saturday with a 1-ton truck. I confirmed the arrangement yesterday and after some interaction he arrived about an hour late this morning. He had a double cab pickup. The loading section of the pickup was like a 5-foot trailer’s size. I said he would take all day to remove the rubble. He said he could do it in two loads … then I took him around the church to see what other rubble there was. Then he jacked the price to R2,500. I said “no” because he said he would have a 1-ton truck and I had sent him pictures of all the rubble … and now he changes his price. We parted by me saying, “I’m sorry, with that pickup and that price we can’t do business.” The one elder and I tidied up as best we could and agreed to continue our search for a reliable person to remove the rubble at a reasonable price.
Tell the truth. I understand that many businesses are slow, but there was no need to lie about the size of the vehicle. To get the business, one cannot lie. For him, his lies were far more costly. En route to the church, he was stopped at a “traffic block” and fined R500 for some violation or the other. If he had told the truth saying he only had a small pickup, he would have saved the petrol cost and the traffic fine. You and I are Christian. We are Gospel people. We are not allowed to or permitted to tell lies. As the God of truth, God requires His subjects to be people of the truth. All lies are associated with the devil … meaning that to tell lies (whatever the lie and whatever the reason) is to associate oneself with the father of lies, the devil. Look at how John puts it:
1Jn 1:6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Let your yes be yes and your no, no. In an attempt to convince people that one is sincere, they would, in the First century, “swear” using something or someone’s name in heaven or on the earth. However, the true sincerity of a person is dependent upon one’s character and integrity … not on “swearing” by the temple or an angel or God’s Throne. It’s into this context that James writes, saying:
Jas 5:12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.
If you make a commitment and say “yes”, then you need to carry out your commitment without changing it. You see, the man in question had every intention of changing the “price”. He had the pictures and on a walk around I explained that there was far less to every picture because only the broken slabs, posts and bricks were to be removed. Based upon the pictures he gave me a quote … yet the actual rubble quantity was far less. It is not only Christians in business who need to remain true to their commitment. Ordinary everyday Christians like you and me need to as well.
Don’t deceive. Sadly, this man was out to deceive. The moment the pickup arrived in place of a 1-tonner I discerned something was not right. I do not have the spiritual gift of discernment, but God does give all Christians a certain ability to discern. You know in your spirit when something is out of place. If we are Christians, we need to walk in the truth and remain true to our word (either yes or no), as then we cannot be found to be deceitful!
1 Pe 3:10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.”
To deceive is to trick a person using words and promises that have no intent of fulfilment. The occupants of a vehicle associated with many burglaries in our region tried to gain access into a certain house yesterday by saying they are contactors. Fortunately, the house owner refused to give access and took a picture of the vehicle posting it on social media. That is deceit, trying to trick the owner of the house. The self-styled “prophet” Bushiri deceived people through taking their money, saying he would invest it with high returns. That is the reason he fled the country and is a fugitive on the run. He is charged with money laundering. He did not “keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech”.
Honour God and He will honour you. I can’t find any text in the Bible to directly support this statement, but I do know that when we live in love for God and His Word resulting in us putting His will into practice in our lives He honours our obedience with many blessings … spiritual, material, physical and emotional.
Dear God, so often I am tempted to tell lies, be deceitful and change my commitment. Forgive me for when I have fallen to these sin. Mercifully help me to be fully and decidedly Christian in all my dealings and interaction with others so that I will not bring the glorious name of Jesus into disrepute. Thank You for taking me out of Darkness and placing me into Light. Give me the determination to pursue godliness and righteousness so that I will be an example of true Christianity to the watching world out there … for Jesus’ sake. Amen.