Integrity - a Tale of Tuna and Truth
My new laundry post had a definite lean until my husband packed the dirt in around the bottom that is sunk several feet into the ground. He added some concrete to anchor it because it is going to carry many heavy loads. He braced it while everything settles. For days I've been looking at this post standing straight and tall. I stare at it thinking about how straight it is and how it is firmly grounded. How it needed to be dug deep in order to stand tall. How it needed to be braced until it was strong enough to stand alone. Many things come to mind when I think about this strong, straight pole, pointing heavenward, but the word that keeps coming back to me, is "Integrity". Living straight and tall and strong, even when no one is looking. It reminds me of the true story of tuna and truth.
One winter day.
On a bitterly cold winter day I was at the grocery store. I wanted to purchase a pack of 6 cans of tuna. The cashier scanned the package and the price came up as $1.69. I would have never noticed, except that she commented that is was a very good deal. I said I was sure the price was more, but she shrugged and cheerfully said, "Oh well, that's the price that came up when I scanned it. Everyone needs a break sometimes." - Smile - wink - and she carried on.
She was 'being kind'. I stood there miserable. I knew I should insist to pay more, but who fights to pay more? There were people behind me and the moment had passed.
I drove home more miserable than ever.
I knew it wasn't 'just tuna' or 'just a few dollars'. The issue was much bigger. It was all about truth.
I unloaded the groceries and reloaded my young daughter. This process sounds short, but it wasn't. It was a nasty cold day and I really wished I didn't have to go back to the store.
I hoped that the cashier wouldn't see me - that I could speak to someone else, but she did see me. She knew why I was there.
I felt foolish and embarrassed. I felt weird and awkward.
I thought the story was over.
One spring evening
Stories, however, have a way of carrying on, even when we think they might be over.
One spring evening, I was busy greeting guests who had come to our small church for the closing program of our girls club. The girls had invited friends to the evening and I found myself face-to-face with the cashier from the "tuna day".
Later in the evening, I stood at the front and shared with the group the things we had taught the girls through the year. How we had talked about our need of salvation, how Christ makes us new, the need for obedience and honesty and integrity. And looking back at me was the smiling face of *MaryAnne. Did she remember the 'tuna day'? I remembered. It was a day of embarrassment and inconvenience, but as I looked up and saw her looking back at me and listening to my words, I thanked God for that day.
Praise God for the Holy Spirit who will not leave me to my own. He prods and pricks and He would not let me keep that tuna until I made it right. Truth matters.
How could I have stood before MaryAnne all those weeks later speaking about salvation and the changes that Christ brings in our hearts? Changes that cause us to desire to be obedient and honest. ... Changes that don't let a person pay less for (steal) tuna.
I do not know what thoughts went through MaryAnne's mind. I don't even know if she remembers the day I insisted I pay more for tuna. But I believe that God orchestrated that event for a reason. Maybe something happened in MaryAnne's heart, maybe not, but I know that I learned something important from that event.
How we live matters. Truth matters. God knew I was going to speak about truth and following Christ in the spring. He knew that MaryAnne was going to be there, front and centre, listening to those words and He knew I needed to learn the importance of living out my faith in ALL circumstances of life. What happens on a mundane, bitterly cold winter day, purchasing tuna, has repercussions on spring evenings when you are speaking to a group of women and girls. You never know who is watching and who will be noticing if your faith talk matches your faith walk.
So stand tall and strong. Listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist...." Ephesians 6:14
*name has been changed