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Burger King & 11 Cents
by Steve Higginbotham
September 29, 2006
Last week at our dinner table, we had a discussion on Christian ethics with our youngest son, who is in fourth grade.  He had benefited on a homework grade because his teacher had overlooked a mistake he had made on one of his questions.  My wife and I explained how he would want the teacher to correct the mistake if it wasn't in his favor, therefore, it was only fair that he inform the teacher of the mistake that was not in his favor.  -- Not an easy task to give a young boy.  To tell a teacher that he had made a mistake, and further, a mistake that would lower his grade... but to his credit, he saw the issue at stake, and he did the right thing the next day.  It wasn't so much about a 94% or a 92% on a homework assignment, but it was about discipleship, following Jesus, and doing the right thing no matter what.

Now, for the rest of the story...  You know, it's rather difficult  to teach someone else to do right when you aren't doing right yourself.  The discussion we had with our son, the logic we used, and the scriptural principle to "provide all things honest in the sight of all men" (Romans 12:17) convicted me.  You see, just a day earlier, I discovered, after driving away from the drive-thru window at Burger King, that they had given me 11 cents too much in change.  At the time, my mind went back to all the times they had messed up my order and didn't give me what I had asked for, so I drove on.

However, the courage and the code of ethics possessed by a little 10 year-old boy emboldened me to drive back to the Burger King drive-thru and return 11 cents to the cashier.  Her response was not what I had imagined it would be.  There was no "thank you!" There was no "you didn't need to do that."  In fact, she didn't say a word.  If there was any reaction at all, it was as best I could tell, a look of annoyance and then she turned her back.  I must admit that for a brief moment, the thought flashed through my mind that if I had known she was going to act that way, I wouldn't have bothered with it.  But reason quickly returned and I acknowledged to myself that doing what you are supposed to do in the first place doesn't deserve special attention and praise...but that's another story for another time.

Friends, Jesus expects us to do the right thing whether it involves 11 cents or Eleven hundred dollars or whether you are thanked or ignored.  Give it some thought.

"And a little child shall lead them." (Isaiah 11:6)

Copyright 2006, South Green Street Church of Christ, Glasgow, Kentucky
Permission is granted to copy these articles.