Marketplace Devotion 2016/07/17

Against the tide

Proverbs 20: 23

God hates cheating in the marketplace; rigged scales are an outrage. (Proverbs 20: 23, the Message)

When standardized weights and scales were introduced to ensure fair trade, it didn’t take long for dishonest merchants to rig the system in their favor. Today, our marketplaces are somewhat more complex, so we may need to rethink what Proverbs 20:23 refers to as “unequal weights” (ESV). A few examples: double standards in customer service, cutting corners in the name of productivity, stopping short of full disclosure, and hiding key clauses in the middle of small print.

Then we hear this refrain: “It’s common practice. If you don’t do it, you don’t survive.” To make things worse, much of it is legal, so everybody does it without a second thought.

But the Bible sets a higher standard. “Rigged scales are an outrage” to God, who hates cheating. Christians are called not simply to observe legal requirements, but also to discern whether an action contradicts biblical truth. Those who fear God know well that He will not bless cheaters. This is how God warned Israel: “You’ll pay for your sins down to your last cent. No matter how much you get, it will never be enough – hollow stomachs, empty hearts. No matter how hard you work, you’ll have nothing to show for it – bankrupt lives, wasted souls. You’ll plant grass but never get a lawn. You’ll make jelly but never spread it on your bread. You’ll press apples but never drink the cider.” (Micah 6:14-15 Message) In other words, cheaters will pay. They won’t even sleep nights.

Living a life of integrity at work is often like swimming against the tide. It comes at a high cost. But remember Jesus’ promise: “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:33, Message) God will never let His children down.

Practice:

  1. Review your own work: When dealing with customers and coworkers, how can you be consistently fair? Ask God.
  2. What are some grey areas in your line of work? Pray over these areas, and ask God how you should behave and act.
  3. Pray for your company and marketplace: “Peace be with this company (or industry, or person) ….
  4. Record your prayers and progress.

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, help me discern what is unjust and deceitful, and let me swim against the tide. Amen.”