The $40,000 Couch
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV UK)
Every year, college students across in the United States move into dorm rooms. But before they can settle in, they need to get the essentials: mini-fridge, TV and, of course—a couch. But when a group of New York roommates brought their thrift shop couch home, they discovered a surprise—$40,000 hidden under the cushions.
They talked about what they would each buy with their cut of the money—maybe a new car, a vacation, or just pay off student loans. But then they found a name written on one of the envelopes. They were faced with a moral dilemma: keep the money a secret or call the thrift store and report their find.
I’m sure most of us haven’t held $40,000 in hand, but I’m sure we’ve all been faced with similar complex moral questions. Many people would be tempted to take the money and run. But we know that as Christians we’re called to a higher standard. Paul explains this in his letter to the Philippians, as seen above:
We’re called to do what’s right, even when doing the right thing is a really hard choice. And though our salvation is not based on these works, we also know that as followers of Christ, we are known by the fruit we bear. Our actions speak out about the nature and character of the One we worship. It might be difficult to make certain decisions sometimes, but we know that through Christ, all things are possible—and knowing that we’ve done the right thing is the true reward.
In the end, the roommates made the right decision. After calling the thrift store, they were given the address of the woman who had donated the couch. It turned out that her husband, preparing for a time when he was no longer alive, had stored the money in the couch. When the roommates returned it to the woman, she felt as if her husband was looking down on her from Heaven.
In the end, the college roommates were excited to help out this woman in need. It was the right thing to do. And likewise, we should heed their example, no matter who is looking, and always take the high road.
Great Father, as human beings the ‘natural way’ of behaviour is always before us. Yet you have shown us through your Son that we Christians are called to a higher way, a better way, a more loving way. Help us always to look to His example and then to strive always to follow it. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.