Precious Testimonies Ministry Encourager
WHAT DOES GOD THINK ABOUT LOW GAS PRICES?
By: Norm Rasmussen
April 6, 2008, my wife, Kathleen, and I were about to leave Chicago and drive back to Grand Rapids, Michigan. We had been in Chicago babysitting our three precious grandsons, William, Gabriel and Colin, while Brian Rasmussen, my son, and his dear wife Ellen, could be freed up to assist in a three-day Eagles' Wings outreach at their church (Living Water Community Church in Bolingbrook) was having. After eating lunch with them, before heading back to Grand Rapids, I told Brian I needed to gas up, and would he take me to the nearest gas station, which he did. It was a Marathon station.
Now before saying anymore, you need to be made aware of what had happened at that very Marathon gas station a few days before. Someone working at the station had accidently punched a wrong number or two I'll assume, and instead of the price of gas costing $3.359 a gallon, it was only $0.359 a gallon, and the employee wasn't aware of it!
Okay ' let's say you see a gas pump unknowingly offering you gas at $.36 a gallon, but you know perfectly well they expect you to pay $3.36 a gallon. Their loss is your gain, right?! It's not outright stealing or lying, and besides, it's probably a blessing from God for you, right? Besides, what greater satisfaction could a financially strapped American have these days than being able to tell your friends how inexpensive it was filling up your gas tank for roughly $5.76 if your tank had been nearly empty, and filling it up with Mid-Grade, no less?
My boy, Brian, and some of his close friends, were able to do that very thing a few days before! One discovered the mistake, filled his tank, then called his friends, and once everyone had just topped off their gas tanks, another person filling up at the station went in and brought it to the attendant's attention and the price got changed immediately to what is was supposed to be.
Now as I started filling my tank at that station on April 4, my boy stepped out of his car and walked into the gas station and came back out a few minutes later. I assumed he went into the station to quick use the rest room.
With my gas tank full of liquid gold, my son would lead the way to Highway 55 and I would follow. Once he got to his exit to get him home, I would keep driving south until I intersected Interstate 80 East. We hadn't been driving long and Brian called Kathleen on her cell phone. He shared with her that the Holy Spirit had convicted him of taking advantage of the attendant's misfortune that had taken place a few days earlier, and so when he walked into the station while I was gassing up my car, he confessed to the attendant what he had done and offered to pay the difference. My son explained that he felt badly because the attendant on duty at the time might have had the loss taken out of his paycheck, or might very well even cause him to end up losing his job over the accidental mishap.
The gas station attendant of course was a bit surprised, yet overjoyed, and spontaneously told him, 'God will bless you for your honesty!' The man was either Indian or Pakistani, my son felt.
When you have roughly a three-hour drive to get somewhere, you usually have a lot of time to think, which I then had. I began to think a great deal about that incident back at the station that had happened earlier. First off, I was very proud for having a son who had such honest integrity about him. I happened to know that money is tight at the moment for his family. Then - I asked myself what I would have done had I had the opportunity to get a full tank of gas for $.36 a gallon like he did? Would I simply stay silent about it, as long as the Holy Spirit was napping inside me? Most likely. Their folly, my jolly! Serves 'em rite for jacking up gas prices so high!
But then some other thoughts began to churn in my brain. Often when Kathleen and I go into prisons and minister, I tell the inmates that the number one thing God is concerned about most when it comes to Christians is our moral character. It is Christ-like character, above all things, that God is birthing in His people, because it was the one thing that Satan and a third of the angels seemed to lack in former times, and we aren't told in the Bible whether many of the angels who were allowed to stay with God in the heavens might also have been very close to compromising their moral character as well and escaped hell by the skin of their teeth.
Is it possible to save yourself $30 on cheap gas yet miss out on the blessing and favor of God that you never knew would have come into your possession?
Take it one much more important step further -- into eternity. God tells us in the New Testament that rewards will be given to disciples of Jesus Christ who were faithful during their time on Earth. Let's tweak our thinking and imagine WE are God, having in our power to bless whoever we want with as much as we want. What would be our criteria for deciding who is the most worthy of the greatest blessings and which ones the least? Would impeccable honesty be a moral character high on our priority list in deciding who we wanted to bless the most, and those who would end up being blessing less?
To tell you the truth, I had not considered all of the ramifications of a little dishonesty here and there along life's journey, until I drove further East on Interstate 80. Could it be ' that those who will be trusted with the greatest blessings from God through eternity be those who place honesty above all other moral character qualities?
If Satan is the father of all lies, which he IS, (See: John 8:44), because God says he is, could the very opposite of what Satan IS be what God is looking for the MOST in each of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, and reward us for just how squeaky clean honest we purpose to be above all other Christ-like qualities God desires to have formed in us?
"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:16-17).
We realize that the greatest reason the Father gives believers the Spirit of Truth is so that they will have the supernatural ability to recognize truth from deception - spiritual truth from spiritual error - but could it also be a huge clue for us of just how important it is to not bury the truth, or tell lies?
It may be easy to miss or forget about a very "interesting" portion of scripture God made certain was to get published in the Bible that addresses lying. It is found in Acts Chapter 5. It's the story of Ananias and Sapphira lying to the Holy Spirit, and the consequences for them was that it cost them their lives! (Most likely dying before their time, which could well mean a loss of rewards for eternity for them). Let's say their land sold for $100,000. Had they decided to give the local church $20,000 of that, and kept the remaining $80,000 that would have been perfectly fine with the Holy Spirit. Afterall, there was no mandate to give any specific percentage of the proceeds to the church. Whatever was in each person's heart to do and/or give, that was fully acceptable to God. BUT - these two told a "little white lie." Probably very insignificant to both of them at the time, but God took the time to show them and you and I that He absolutely deplores people lying to each other and especially to Him.
Proverbs 6:16-19 also clearly tells us how much God detests liars: These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. Upon close examination, we see that lying is the only sin that God mentions twice in this Proverb. This should tell us something.
In my mind, I mumbled and grumbled just a little about how much it was going to cost my wife and I to drive over to Chicago and back to babysit the grandsons, though I never said anything about it to anyone. I now wonder if that was the most priceless trip I'll ever make to Chicago, regardless of how high gas prices go? On the other hand, in the eternal scheme of things, it might be the most costly trip I'll ever make to Chicago, regardless of the price of gas and how much money I have in the bank account, if I don't fully grasp the sobering significance of that little '36-cent test' and apply those I-80 driving thoughts wisely from here on out.
This indeed is food for thought ...
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