January 31, 2015

Truths That Transform: Who You Are When No One’s Looking

Several years ago Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, wrote a book called “Who You Are When No One’s Looking”.  The premise of the book was that Christian character is important at all times, not just when people are watching but also (and maybe even most importantly) when no one is looking.

Hypocrisy is being something different when people are looking than when they’re not.  Jesus warned his disciples against hypocrisy (Matthew 23) and then pronounced woes on the Pharisees and teachers of the law for their hypocritical practices and attitudes.  In verses 25-28, Jesus specifically called the religious leaders out for being different on the outside than on the inside.

Who we are when no one is looking is a better test of character than who we are in public.  And how we handle our finances when there are no earthly ramifications is a great indicator of who we are when no one is looking.

Tucked away in one of the grand stories of the Old Testament is a verse that reflects the kind of character that God is looking for in his people when it comes to managing finances.  Famine had ravaged the Middle East, as predicted by Joseph in Egypt, and Jacob had sent his sons to Egypt to buy grain. On their return from Egypt, they had found their money returned to them in their sacks along with the grain.

Now the grain had run out, and Jacob sent his sons back to Egypt to buy more, this time accompanied by their brother Benjamin.  Among his instructions to his sons, Jacob told them to take double the amount of silver for the grain: “Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake.”  (Genesis 43:12)

Amid the epic narrative of the famine, God’s hand on Joseph’s life, and how he orchestrated events for the preservation of the Israelite’s and formation of them into a great nation, this verse doesn’t receive much attention.  But it’s a perfect illustration of the type of attitude that God expects of us in managing our finances when no one is looking.

We know that how we handle our finances is an indicator of our relationship with God.  How do we respond when we realize that the cashier has given us too much change or has missed charging us for an item?  How do we approach tax reporting when there’s no way to trace the income?  Who are we when no one is looking?

Good Sense Movement Team
Good Sense Movement
Transforming Finances! Transforming Lives!