Unjust Gain

The wicked man does deceptive work …” (Prov. 11:18).

- Proverbs 10:16; 11:18; 13:11

When people pursue wealth and fame instead of the glory of God, they often take crooked paths to attain their goals. They cheat, lie, and steal to succeed. Solomon said, “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death” (Prov. 21:6). Judas is one example. He chose wealth over righteousness and paid the ultimate price—eternal death—a death purchased by blood money.

How many lives have been ruined because a talented, but dishonest, businessman took the wrong path never to return again? As Solomon wisely said, it is as if the ungodly actually seek death in their evil pursuits. “Indeed it is with the ungodly, as if they sought death as their reward. So fondly do they love the way of eternal death!” Bridges wrote. “Meanwhile their own sin is the seed of destruction. Their robbery virtually destroys them. And whom can they blame but themselves? It is not ignorance or inconsideration, but willfulness, that destroys because they refuse to do [what is right].”

If you aim for God’s glory in all you do, you will act righteously and judiciously in all your business ventures. You will sacrifice gain in the sight of men for honor in the sight of God. You will do all you can to work in such a way that no shame will be brought on the name of Christ.

While most Christians would gasp at the thought of pursuing fame and fortune instead of the glory of God, or being blatantly dishonest in their business dealings, how many still traverse this path of dishonesty in subtle ways? How many are secretly motivated by competition and ambition? How many falsify their spending or mileage reports? How many steal their employer’s time by chatting when they should be working? How many make personal long distance telephone calls on the company phone? How many use company products for their personal use? We could give countless examples of how dishonest we can be in the workplace. If you are guilty even of the smallest transgression in the workplace, do not let it go without confessing it, making restitution, and repenting of it, or you may be tempted to sin in an even more costly way.

Coram Deo

Examine your work habits. This can include not only your vocation, but your duties at home and at church. In what ways do you cheat those who are in authority over you? If you are in authority, are you fair and honest with those under you? Confess any way, no matter how small, you have been deceptive or dishonest in your work.

Passages for Further Study

Proverbs 21:6; 22:16
Jeremiah 17:5–11; 22:13–17
James 5:1–6

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