Several years ago, the Holy Spirit exposed my heart – at McDonald’s, of all places. The incident tested the strength of my integrity and the wholeness of my character.
Several years back I went to the “golden arches” for lunch. I know, I know it’s not the healthiest food, but I had a “pregnant woman’s craving” for a hamburger and some of those golden, greasy fries. I placed my order, gave the cashier a twenty and he gave me all my food and my change.
(You know some are notorious for shorting you on everything, and then you have to go back in the cold, dark night and snow and sleet and demand justice! All they can offer you for your trek in the elements is a medium drink. I digress).
Later that evening, when I was getting ready for our leaders’ retreat, I noticed something strange. I had twenty-three dollars in my pocket, three dollars more than when I paid for my lunch earlier. Wow! I knew God could multiply loaves and fish, but to multiply my dollars while I slept was incredible.
Well, God did not miraculously multiply my loaves. The cashier made a mistake (in my favor, I might add). Instead of giving me thirteen dollars back for my change, he gave me twenty-three dollars. When I recognized what happened, my first thoughts were Praisallujah!!!! (I know it’s not a word, but it should be). God is good all the time and all the time, God is good; I have ten extra dollars, and it’s not my fault that math wasn’t the cashier’s strongest subject in school. My next thought was: I need to return the money because it’s not mine. But between my first thought and second thought, I felt a jab, stick, and twist.
The Holy Spirit, in a matter of seconds, had checked me, busted me, exposed me, stripped me, convicted me, and told me to return the money, immediately, right now, instantly, promptly, forthwith, right away, pronto! I finished dressing and took the money back to the store.
The cashier’s drawer was, in fact, short exactly ten dollars, and the manager suspected him of stealing it and was going to fire him. The manager and workers were shocked that I brought the money back and they offered me two apple pies and a large drink. They’re getting better.
When I thought about the incident later, I realized that it wasn’t about the money, although money was involved. It was about something more expensive than ten dollars. This incident was about the rare and priceless commodity of integrity, of a wholeness of character, of Jesus, through the convicting and forming power of the Holy Spirit, being fully integrated into all of my life.
Questions To Strengthen Our Integrity
In the end, the Holy Spirit saved a man’s job and a pastor’s character. Take some time to read through Psalm 15 and Ephesians 4:29-32, and let the Holy Spirit apply the following questions to your life so that Jesus is fully integrated into every aspect of your life:
- How free is my life from ethical and moral spots, corruption and inconsistencies?
- Have I compartmentalized my life, letting Holy Spirit in some rooms, while keeping him at bay from other rooms of my life?
- Is there an important area of my life that I am leaving uncultivated?
- Is there a gap between what I want to be known for and who I really am?
Holy Spirit, may you join together, in holy matrimony, our private and public lives, and what you have joined together through the Son, let not inconsistencies, moral corruption, poor stewardship, gossip, popularity without power, clandestine relationships put it asunder. Amen!