VALUE OF A CENT

(March 22, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share personally from the heart on some experiences re honesty…

Value of a cent? Unusual title this month! Carol Round writes passionately about the value of a dear friend this month… a great little article Value. George Forbes writes of the value of focused missions.

‘Value’ is a word indicating worth. Among other meanings is importance and beneficial. Our article relates to benefiting – and more, such as the importance of being honest and thankful, challenging others, blessings others… and delighting God. Here’s the background, beginning with a mere cent …

I (Robert) delight to find Salvo type stores where I can go hunting for old DVDs. A couple of weeks back we went to one about an hour away in a suburb we hadn’t been to before.

By coincidence there was a great carpet store next door and as we passed by Maureen, a top decorator, noticed the most unusual rug in the open doorway entrance and instantly knew it would look magnificent in the foyer of our new home. We had never been to this store before but found the owner very friendly, pleasant and helpful.

 

Tale of a cent
His price for this newly arrived rug was good but as we didn’t need it immediately (our new home won’t be finished for some months yet) we simply said we’d bear it in mind. But back home we decided we should get it and on googling the item found it in another store $50 cheaper. However as we had really liked the gentleman we had first chatted to, we phoned and mentioned this Google ad. A family business storekeeper, he had no hesitation in immediately agreeing to reduce his price and on Monday past we popped back to purchase.

The owner greeted us with news that another rug, same as we wanted and still in its plastic wrapping, had come in and as he had got it at a better foreign exchange rate he was quite happy to sell at the lower price. But as we were about to pay I (Robert) added that I’d omitted to say that the cheaper price I’d found was actually one cent dearer that I’d first told him, and that we wanted to pay in full ie plus a cent.

(Now Australian one-cent coins were withdrawn in 1992 but the wordage is still around in adverts, sales and bills). There was a moment’s silence, then out-of-the-blue, this tall quiet-spoken gentleman looked down at me and, catching me off-guard, said, ‘What, pay an extra cent? Tell you what, Robert: I’ll not only ignore that extra one cent but I’ll let you have this new rug for a further $25 off.’

Wow! From wanting to pay the agreed price plus a mere cent, my simple confession had laid to an overall saving of $75!

God is so good – share him!
God is indeed our loving Father – he cares deeply about us in every way, about our daily welfare, about our health and strength, even about our purchases. Our business, our daily living, is on his heart. James 5:11 Message declares: ‘What a gift life is to those who stay the course!… God cares, cares right down to the last detail.’

Yes, he does! He really cares about our openness, our honesty with him and with other people! No wonder Proverbs 16:11 Message says, ‘God cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is his business.’

Our point in our tale above is that because we were honest about a mere cent unexpectedly resulted in a great bargain for us! In our hearts we thanked God… and this amicable gentleman. Then he even loaded the rug in our Kona as I (Robert) cannot carry or lift heavy gear at present.

Back in his store we thanked him afresh and prayed a blessing on him and the business – he was surprised but accepted this, adding a grateful ‘Amen’ himself and thanking us profusely. The old saying ‘One thing leads to another’ is so true! And we keep finding that as we follow through on new encounters, we keep finding people open to a quiet, caring prayer!

That great old time evangelist, Billy Sunday, pointedly said, ‘If you’re strangers to prayer, you’re strangers to power!’ Christians have the Holy Spirit and his power within… let’s let him loose! We can quietly bless strangers when we take every natural opportunity he gives us… even in shops.

Some other ‘honesty tales’ about money…
A mere cent? These are about big dollars, big bikkies!

1) Large unexpected credit
One time we noticed that a store assistant’s receipt had wrongly credited us with $6034. Very lucrative for us but if discovered would cause much trouble for the assistant. In pointing out the error she couldn’t believe we’d promptly done so and thanked us profusely for our ‘honesty.’

Our response? We quoted a great truth…’Honesty is the best policy.’ She smiled and nodded meekly. Then we really threw her by adding, ‘Actually honesty isn’t the best policy…’ She suddenly looked shocked but we quickly added, ‘It’s the only policy!’ And the lady – obviously unused to people demonstrating integrity – shook her head dumbfoundedly and said, ‘What you’ve done just doesn’t happen! Customers don’t do what you’ve done.’

But we’re not just customers – we’re Christians! Ministers at that! We live by a different standard than ‘just customers.’

2) Large missing charge
Then there was the time Maureen charged two expensive outfits to try on at home and decide which one suited best. She had presumed the assistant had put two items through but on checking that night realised only one had been charged! As neither items suited we went back to this major store the next day not only to return the items but to point out that the sales assistant’s error.

What a fluster this discovery caused! Evidently no one would have known what happened to the second outfit if we’d kept it! Again, when we said that honesty is not only the best policy but the only policy, they looked at us bewildered and said quietly, ‘This just doesn’t happen! People just wouldn’t have brought that second outfit back.’

3) Large ‘floating’ money
Another time, a different story – actually during a period when we badly needed finance to cover a huge bill – we were casually walking through Werribee Plaza intent on not buying anything, not even lunch, when we noticed two guys exited a bank to the left and moved ahead just in front of us. One took his hand from his right pocket and didn’t notice what was falling out as he walked on chatting to his mate.

We recognised it was quite a few hundred and fifty dollar bills! No nearby customers had noticed this and I (Robert) moved quickly to pick the bills up and rush after the pair. ‘Excuse me, guys, but have you lost something?’ I enquired as they turned to me. First response was a blank look ‘No’ but when I pressed the question holding up several $100 notes, the little guy put his hand in his pocket and realised he had lost what he’d just drawn out of the bank!

Smiling sheepishly, but without a thank you, they both turned and walked away! Maureen caught up with me and we both shook our heads, recalling that we really need several hundreds of dollars and this could have been an answer from heaven, even if they’d only given us a small finders’ reward. But not even a grateful thank you? We simply decided that the guy was so overwhelmed that he’d lost the power of speech!

Cents or dollars – reality’s value…
Whether we’re dealing with a mere cent or hundreds of dollars, the real value comes through in how we handle matters!

We would have been very dishonest before our God, let alone those two guys if we’d pocketed the unnoticed fallen bills. After all, Proverbs 12:12 teaches that ‘The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are honest.’

Jesus declared that God’s word is truth (John 17:17) so we just trusted that our caring God would go on being pleased with us and that he knew all about our genuine needs. That if we seek to do the right thing, we’ll always be blessed… that somehow God will work out meeting our needs! (As he did for us back then… yet another story!).

Honesty and trust must go hand in hand with God and his spiritual kids, Jesus followers. Let’s never be under any bondage regarding money! Let’s be generous and honest in every way and simply trust God for our daily needs… after all, Hebrews13:5 teaches ‘Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”.’

Famous quotes by people who esteem honesty:

  • Honesty prospers in every condition of life’ – German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright Friedrich von Schiller.
  • ‘I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have’ – ‘Honest Abe’ Lincoln who valued honesty!
  • ‘Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones’ – John Lennon
  • No legacy is so rich as honesty’ – William Shakespeare
  • The first step is to be honest, and then to be noble’ Winston Churchill
  • ‘Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom’ – Thomas Jefferson
  • ‘Be a reflection of what you’d like to see in others. If you want love, give love, if you want honesty, give honesty, if you want respect, give respect. You get in return, what you giveAnonymous
  • Honesty makes a good person’s life easier’ – Proverbs 11:4GNB.

Hey… let’s not be ‘cheap Christians’ – God isn’t! Next month we’ll be celebrating that God freely gave his only Son to redeem us from sin and a wasted life. He is a generous God, we’re made in his image and we too should be generous where and when we can… especially in praying for strangers and blessing them.

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul wrote about building the kingdom and warned: ‘Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing’ (Verse 13 Message).

May we delight our God (that Proverbs 12:12 scripture above) and stay the course (James 5:11 also above)! The value of a cent? No… the value of honesty!

Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s link is lifefocusministries@gmail.com  (Scripture and other emphases in this Onliner ours).

Relating links: Carol Round’s Value / George Forbes’ Value of Founded Missions  

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