Over the years I have been amazed at just how cheaply we can sell out the things we claim to hold dear. Our reputation, our integrity and our personal testimony can be set aside in a moment if our stubborn will is given the chance to rule the day. When the opportunity arises and it’s to our advantage, we can cave in and do the very things we openly criticized others for. It happens to the best of us, and if you are honest it has happened to you on more than one occasion.
Years ago I heard the story of a wealthy man who was single and lived a very busy life. One evening he found himself eating dinner with an attractive married couple. During the meal the man learned about the financial troubles of the couple and decided to throw out a proposition. As the meal concluded he said, “I’ve decided to help you out with your finances. I’ll give you 1 million dollars if you let me sleep with your wife tomorrow evening. I will pick her up in my personal limo, treat her with the utmost dignity and return her to you the following morning. Talk it over and give me your answer by 5pm tomorrow.”
All the next day the young couple argued and struggled over the proposal. However, they were in massive debt and the life they were accustomed to was slipping away with every delinquent bill. When 5pm arrived they met the millionaire, and the couple sheepishly agreed to his proposal. Upon learning their decision the man quickly responded, “OK, now will your wife sleep with me for $100?” The indignant husband was angry and disgusted. “How dare you suggest such a thing?” he said. “Just what do you think my wife is?” To this the millionaire said, ”I have already determined what your wife is, now I’m just negotiating her price”.
What is your bottom line when it comes to selling out? Everything in this world that wants to see you compromise your values, destroy your credibility and throw away your integrity will test you to find out. I once sold out for five brook trout. The laws had changed in our state and I disagreed, so I decided to manipulate the system. One Spring day as I fished up stream I had caught five trout within an hour. I decided right then to make a fire, cook them for breakfast and then catch five more on my way back, to bring home. It was an act of outright rebellion to the laws of the land but I justified my actions and did it. In other words, the value I placed on my honor before God was about $5. I sold out cheep, and when I realized what I had done it shocked me and I never went there again.
When I was a young boy I watched my father give his word on something and that was all he needed to do. His handshake finalized things and this act was as good as a signed contract. Why? Because the value he place on himself as a man was behind it. He always told me, “Bill, you are no better than your word, so be careful what you say and mean it”. How about you? What is your word worth? What price do you place on your honor and core values? You will be tested on it a dozen different ways every day. My hope is that you will hold your ground when the test comes. This world desperately needs men and women who live out what they say they believe. May you and I be found standing among the few who don’t sell out. The future of our families and our nation depends on it!