“We could have been rich.” Stella Peterson kept mumbling to her self as she sat moping in the food court at the mall. She was not having a good day, in fact she was having a lousy day and it wasn't because her brother Harold had been kidnapped and held for ransom. “So, what's your problem?” came a familiar voice. It was Daisy Smith who happened to walk by and see Stella pouting.
Before Stella could answer, Daisy said “By the way, is your dad around? I was hoping to stop by your house later to talk to him about Harold.” “Don't bother stopping by.” Stella said in return, “He won't be around for awhile. He went on a camping trip to the mountains.” “Huh?” Daisy responded, “But what about Harold?”
“He took Harold with him.” Stella said, “In fact, Harold’s the reason they went.” “But I thought Harold was kidnapped?” Daisy said somewhat surprised at what she heard. “He was!” Stella snapped, “And as far as I’m concerned they should have left him kidnapped.
“How did he get Harold back?” Daisy asked wanting to know, “I know your dad didn’t have the formula.” “He made one up?” Stella said with a sigh. “What?” Daisy exclaimed, “Your dad doesn’t know anything about Chemistry. His formula could have created a dilemma worse then, then…...” “Don't worry.” Stella interrupted, “The kidnapper's never got a chance to see it.” “Then how did he get free?” Daisy asked
“The FBI found him first.” Stella said. “Marvelous.” Daisy said, “How did they do that?” “I guess the kidnapper's were stupid like my brother.” Stella said, “Do you remember the ransom note they sent? Well apparently the kidnapper used one of his magazines to cut up and make all the words.”
“Yeah,” Daisy said shaking her head, “I remember hearing about that.”
“Well,” Stella continued, “When the FBI peeled off all the words and letters, they found an address label on the back side of the word 'live.'” “And that led them right to Harold was.” Daisy finished. “More or less.” Stella added, “It did lead them to the kidnapper’s place, which in turn led them to Harold, but I still don’t see what the big worry was.”
“Stella!” Daisy gasped when she heard that, “He’s your brother.” “But if they would have just left him where he was,” Stella said, “they would have been paying us to take him back in a few weeks.” “The kidnapper said you would never have seen him alive again.” “Oh.” Stella said looking down at her feet, “No wonder Dad made up that fake formula.”
After a long pause, Daisy started to leave but as she did Stella blurted out, “I still think they would have payed us ten million dollars to take him back. We could have been rich.”
Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God. Hebrews 9:27 (TEV) – We all die. Thankfully Harold was found and his kidnappers didn't get a chance to kill him and so Harold's death was postponed again but you know what? We all die. I do not know of any one of us who can escape that fact. Sarah, Abraham's wife, couldn't either. But even with the story of one's death there are things that can be learned. Let us look at Sarah's.
Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites, "I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." The Hittites answered Abraham, "Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb to hinder you from burying your dead." Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. And he said to them, "If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as property for a burying place." Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, "No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead." Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, "But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there." Ephron answered Abraham, "My lord, listen to me: a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between you and me? Bury your dead." Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants. So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city. After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. The field and the cave that is in it were made over to Abraham as property for a burying place by the Hittites
Genesis 23:1-20 (ESV)
Here is some thing we can learn from this story. Even though Abraham had a good reputation among the people and as a result could have had any place he wanted for free, His integrity would not let him take advantage of the situation and he willfully paid a fair price for the land he wanted. He wasn't in it for gain. Jesus said in Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? (ESV) It is not earthly things we need to seek after. Colossians 3:1-2 says If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (ESV) In our story above Stella was only interested in what she could possibly get out of her brother's kidnapping, her mind was set on earthly things, she had no integrity.
Proverbs 3:3-4 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. (ESV)
Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. (ESV)
Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. (ESV)
Here's Something To Ponder
When something bad happens to others do you look to profit from it?
In what ways doe your integrity show?