Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SKULDUGGERY (09/01/16)
TITLE: Honest to God
By Raymond Bouchoc
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Through the door marched a large man. Making eye contact with Tom, He strode forward, each step striking the floor hard, like the rumble of thunder in a storm. Their hands clasped in greeting. “I don’t have much time. What can your business offer me?” said the man, with a boom.
After 45 minutes of discussion, the man’s tone darkened, “Your price is too high for the services you offer. Not only that, but you want too much time to complete the project.” He stood up and shifted forward slightly. Pointing his fat finger at Tom, he said, “I don’t appreciate being misled. This city is full of crooks, and we don’t need another one.” He turned and stormed out without glancing back.
Tom leaned back in his chair, closed his weary eyes, and took some deep breaths. After a few minutes, he messaged his secretary, “Ruby, I will be out the rest of the afternoon.”
Tom fixed his mind on the Lord as he left the office. While the client had rattled him, Tom’s faith rested in God, whose peace now soothed his heart.
Driving home, the clicking from his engine reminded him to change the oil. He pulled into one of those local oil change businesses. “Yes, we will finish within ten minutes, and we use only the best products available. All for $24.95,” said the attendant.
Tom’s heart reverberated with an Old Testament verse.
-- You shall do no injustice … in measurement of length, weight, or volume.
To the attendant, he said, “Would you mind showing me the oil you are going to use?”
The attendant stepped back, surprised. “O-k-. No one ever asked me that before.”
After getting the “best product available,” Tom continued home to find a small pickup truck parked in his driveway. Tom ordered the wood they delivered for his wood stove. Walking to the two men unloading it, he greeted them, when he remembered a verse:
-- That we may … even sell the bad wheat?
Gesturing to the pick-up, Tom said smiling, “Hey, fellas. I ordered a chord of wood, and I am quite confident you can’t fit a chord back here.”
“Well, umm, we had it piled real high, and …”
Ignoring him, Tom walked to the pile and shuffled some wood around. He picked up one of the pieces underneath, “This is green, …” He paused, “… and it’s pine, not oak. Please take your wood back. Thank you.” He turned and went inside.
Relaxing in his armchair, Tom reflected on that day when he, too, lay at the bottom of the heap, broken. God pulled his life from that dark pit with a single verse, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.” God had set his heart on fire like a lamp in a dark room. Since then, he committed all his work to Jesus.
One morning weeks later, Mark Dempsey dropped by unannounced. “So good to see you,” Tom said. “Please have a seat.”
Without preamble, Mr. Dempsey said, “When we last met, I was harsh to you. I have since visited your competitors. Each meeting, however, has left me shocked at the shaded business practices offered….
-- Do not defraud.
“… In the end, not only was your offer fair, but the support and guarantee provided by your company is unheard of….”
-- Don’t withhold the wages of your laborers.
“… Please accept my apologies for my false accusations, and if you are still willing, I would like to offer you the contract.”
Rising, Tom said, “Mr. Dempsey. I guarantee all my work for one reason. God is my boss, and He requires the best I have to offer. I am not interested in the job, and I strongly suggest that you prepare your company for the audit coming your way.”
Mr. Dempsey erupted and stormed out of the office. Tom kneeled down and prayed, “Thank you, Lord, for the change you have wrought in my life. May all my work be pleasing to you always.”
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