February 8, 2024

“It’s All About Jesus!”
Luke 10:25-37 (The Good Samaritan)
The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” – Luke 10:29 (NLT)
“How Much Is a Clear Conscience Worth?”
Last week, Wanda and I stopped at Walmart on the way home from church. We got all of our items, actually got checked out by a live cashier, and made our way home. Wanda always compares the sales receipt to what we bought. Partly because she wants to see if I slipped in any needless junk food items for me or the grandkids. But mostly because she wants to make sure we brought all the items home and didn’t get overcharged for anything. After she went through the list, she brought it to me. “Do you see the bag of cereal we bought anywhere on this list?” she asked. I carefully looked it over and said, “No. The checker must have missed the scanner with it as she bagged our groceries.”
Now we have a dilemma. What do we do? It would have been easy to justify keeping the cereal and forgetting about it. “It wasn’t our fault she missed it.” “It’s just a bag of cereal. It’s no big deal.” “With all the groceries they sell, they’ll never miss it!” “They’ve probably overcharged us through the years a LOT more than this bag of cereal cost!” “It’ll cost more in gas to run it back than it’s worth.” How many others can YOU think of?
In the end, I just stopped by the next day on my way to work with the bag of cereal, told them what happened, and had them scan it. They were more than a little surprised. I paid for the cereal and went on my way. It was only a $5 bag of cereal, but can I tell you something? It felt good to do the right thing.
The man in our story is as human as we are. When Jesus confirmed his declaration about loving God and loving people, the man didn’t acknowledge his shortcomings and his need to grow. He wanted to “justify his actions.” Maybe he knew there were people he wasn’t treating well. Maybe he became convicted because he knew that, at best, he was indifferent toward people and not really very loving. Or maybe he had done his own share of cereal-keeping or shady business with people who weren’t Jews and wanted to ease his own conscience. The problem is that your conscience isn’t eased by justifying. It’s eased by doing the right thing. That might be a good principle to keep in mind this week. When you find yourself wanting to come up with a reason to do what you want rather than what you know to be right or good, take the high road. Trust me, a clear conscience is worth more than a $5 bag of cereal. Or, for that matter, more than any price. That’s God’s Word for you today.

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