The expectation of God is that his followers will live above reproach. Today we see that this applies to the circumstance of finding lost property and how we handle it. No one sees, right? No one will know… Except God. God knows. And he expects us to do right…
1 The Lord said to Moses: 2 “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, 3 or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit— 4 when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, 5 or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering.
Out son, Cole, found $20 at a local coffee shop recently. He was thrilled to find it, and he came home with the full story to tell anyone who would listen. A central part of the story was for Cole to tell us how he canvassed the patrons to ensure the cash was fair game.
There were only a couple of people and the servers to ask, yet it was important for him to cover those bases before pocketing the loot. He also knew that we would be asking whether the money belonged to anyone else when he came home.
It was the right thing to do.
It turns out that this right thing to do has history in God’s commands right back to the time of Moses. It pleases God when we are honest and it displeases him when we are dishonest.
It’s dishonest to find lost property and take it without looking for the owner. Finders keepers doesn’t apply to the followers of God. Pleasing God is more important than finding cash. Besides, God is able to bless you financially with what you need. Honour him first in all things.
As an interesting aside, the idea of ‘neighbour’ to us means the person we know personally, whom we might have relationship or friendship. I think it’s worth considering that we have a lot of neighbours we have ever seen or met. We share our cities and world with neighbours with whom we may never share a meal or a conversation. They’re still neighbours…